GCSE Math Resit Pass Rate Declines in England

GCSE Math Resit Pass Rate Declines in England, English Resits Improve.

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The pass rate for GCSE math resits in England has dropped, with 22.9% achieving a grade 4 or above, down from 24.9% in 2022 and 26.9% in 2019.

In contrast, the pass rate for GCSE English resits increased to 40.3%, up from 38% and 32.3%. Under-18s in England are required to retake GCSE English and math if they don’t attain at least a grade 4.

The overall GCSE pass rate fell last summer, aligning with pre-pandemic levels, and November resits followed the same grading basis. Colleges reported coping challenges due to the growing number of students retaking compulsory GCSE resits.

Cancellation of exams in 2020 and 2021 led to grade inflation based on teachers’ assessments, resulting in higher top results. Last summer, grades in England reverted to 2019 levels, causing a lower pass rate and an increase in mandatory resits.

Over 167,000 students in England received grade 3 or below in maths, a rise of approximately 21,000 from 2022, while over 172,000 failed English language, marking a 38,000 increase.

The surge in failures coincides with a 17% projected rise in the number of 16 and 17-year-olds between 2019 and 2024, totaling an extra 200,000 students.

November saw 117,098 entries for maths and English, compared to 91,357 in 2022 and 102,960 in 2019. Students have the option to resit in the summer, with November candidates likely to be those seeking quick grade improvement.


Ofqual, England’s exams regulator, emphasized the return to “normal grading” last year, discouraging direct comparisons with recent November results. However, the release included comparisons with 2019, the last pre-pandemic exam year.

Tom Middlehurst from the Association of School and College Leaders highlighted the challenging experience of resitting exams, particularly for students caught in a cycle below the grade 4 threshold.

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He noted difficulties in catching up on “lost learning” due to COVID-19, citing resource constraints.

The decline in the maths pass rate aligns with government plans to replace A-levels and T-levels with the Advanced British Standard, incorporating English and maths until the age of 18.

The Department for Education emphasized the value of a strong grasp of English and maths for post-education success and announced investments to support colleges in staff recruitment and retention.



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