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IGCSE English results 2016: Pass rate increases in final year of league table inclusion

The pass rate for IGCSEs in English language has risen this year with more than 210,000 pupils sitting the exams in the final year before the qualification will be removed from league tables.

Results released today by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) show that 64.6 per cent of pupils achieved at least a grade C, up from 63.2 per cent last year.

The proportion of pupils achieving the A* and A grades has increased from 12.4 per cent to 13.6 per cent and, according to CIE, one in three pupils who sat an English language exam this summer took its IGCSE.

The rise in entrants came despite concerns from headteachers last year after the pass rate fell and schools experienced more volatility in results. As previously reported by Schools Week, Ofqual blamed this on an increase in entries to exams.

From next year, regulated Cambridge IGCSEs will be removed from exam league tables. Some IGCSEs have already been removed from the tables.

Michael O’Sullivan, CIE chief executive, said it was “disappointing” that more than 2,000 state schools would have to “give up their first choice of qualification from next year” after a decision to exclude IGCSEs from performance tables.

He said: “The fact that this decision is not a reflection on the quality, demand or standard of Cambridge IGCSEs makes it all the more frustrating for schools.”

Schools Week reported last month that the Department for Education was rapped by the statistics watchdog for removing IGCSE qualifications from league tables.

The UK Statistics Authority said the omission led to a “gap in coverage”.

O’Sullivan said he was glad the statistics authority brought this up with the DfE, adding: “We’ve enjoyed working with state schools, and we hope to work with them again. Many independent schools will continue to teach IGCSEs, but reporting of their students’ achievements will be misleading without IGCSE in performance tables.”

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  1. In June 2010, the DfE said IGCSEs were ‘respected and valued qualifications’ which would be included in performance tables to put state schools on a ‘level playing field with independent schools’.

    In 2014, it was all change: IGCSEs would NOT be included in league tables. Government flip-flopping makes it difficult, if not impossible, for schools to plan courses. A cynic might think the Government were worried schools would choose established IGCSEs over rushed and hastily implemented ‘reformed’ GCSEs.
    Real reform would move towards less emphasis on exams at 16 and more at 18 when pupils should graduate via multiple routes. That would really be radical (and in line with most of the developed world). But our Government, for all its blather about reform, remains stuck in an exam system designed for the situation nearly 40 years ago.

  2. Does this take into account resits?
    It appears that this board has been selected because it is easier than other boards to get C grades, but rations top grades.
    It is a hard nut if you don’t have tutors that teach specifically to the exam, and few materials or pointers.
    CIE also is a tough board since it falls outside the rules and regs of other boards, since it is an International exam, which may explain a lot of the decisions.