A recent study by researchers from Cambridge Assessment explored the provision for less able students of English and Mathematics across a variety of countries, focusing primarily on the 14 to 16 age group.
The study concluded concluded that provision for less able students of English and Mathematics varies considerably both within and across countries. Three of the four high performing jurisdictions considered in the investigation provide courses and/or qualifications specifically for such students. In Alberta and Singapore, courses for the least able focus on knowledge and skills which will have a practical value in the workplace, rather than on preparing students for higher level academic study in English and Mathematics.
While alternative provision is also available to low achieving students in England (in the form of Functional skills, Cambridge Progression, and Entry Level Certificates) many secondary schools choose to support these students on GCSE courses, possibly because GCSEs are perceived to have a greater currency, even at low grades.