What’s going on with students taking GCSEs early? Is getting a GCSE or two in Year 9 or 10 a good thing?

Speakers: Beth Black (OCR)
Chung-Pak Cheung (OCR)
Tim Gill (Cambridge Assessment)
Date: 20 Mar 2013 Venue: Hughes Hall Mortimer Road Cambridge CB1 2EW
Type: Seminar Fee: Free to attend

Since KS3 tests were abandoned in 2009, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of students entered early for GCSEs in Year 9, Year 10 or part of the way through Year 11 – especially in English and Maths – a trend that has been noticeably greater in state schools than in independent ones.

Speaking at a recent Network seminar, Cambridge Assessment researchers Beth Black (OCR), Chung-Pak Cheung (OCR) and Tim Gill (Cambridge Assessment) looked at the patterns of early certification in GCSE subjects and the impact it has on uptake and performance in the same (or a related) subject at A level.

In general, early entry candidates are less likely to get a grade B or better, suggesting that early entry is detrimental. Furthermore, early entry candidates make less progress from Key Stage 2 – i.e. reduced value added. The differences in terms of likelihood of getting a C or better are small depending on whether students enter early or not.

However, the results of early entry GCSE candidates when they go on to A Level suggest there is no long term detriment to achievement. Those candidates who take Maths and English GCSE early are more likely to choose to do Maths and English at A Level. Additionally, there isn't much evidence to suggest poorer performance by early entry GCSE candidates when they go on to do A Level. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that students who entered GCSE Maths early are more likely to do well in A Level Maths and Science.

If you missed the talk, you can catch up with the speakers and their views in the related materials section below.

Related materials

Mortimer Road Cambridge CB1 2EW