Around 19,000 students achieve new top grade in GCSE physics

24 August 2018

The IOP is pleased to see that around 19,000 students in England have achieved grade 9 – the new highest GCSE grade – in GCSE physics and more than 11,000 have achieved the new top grade in each of physics, chemistry and biology.

Exam entries and passes in science are buoyant as GCSEs are reformed

The figures for all GCSEs were announced yesterday (23 August) by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and covered England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The former A* to G grades at GCSE have been replaced by grades 9 to 1 in England, with the previous A* grade split into grades 9 and 8, and this was the first year that the results have been reported using the new system.

While Wales and Northern Ireland have largely retained the A* to G grading system, around 200 GCSE physics candidates in Wales and Northern Ireland were graded using the new system, of whom around 50 achieved grade 9.

Overall, there were 83,876 more entries to separate physics, chemistry and biology GCSEs than last year and entries to single award physics increased by 17%.

This year’s cohort was also the first in England and Wales to take GCSE exams in the new Science Double Award, effectively replacing Science and Additional Science, which students commonly took in consecutive years at ages 15 and 16 respectively.

Despite concerns about students and teachers having to grapple with the new curriculum for the Science Double Award and the potential effects of a reduced emphasis on coursework at GCSE, the JCQ said that the number of students taking and passing the new Science Double Award and GCSEs in general was in line with expectations.

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