GCSE results paint a complicated picture

22 August 2013

The Royal Society of Chemistry congratulates all GCSE students who have received their hard-earned results today. 
Professor Jim Iley, the RSC's Executive Director of Science and Education explains that the planned changes to increase the level of challenge in science GCSEs have had an effect on this year's results. However, the picture is far from clear when considering the high number of early entries and the increase in popularity of iGCSEs.
He said: "We're delighted that there was both an increase in overall numbers taking GCSE Chemistry, and especially the extremely encouraging 8% rise - more that 6000 - in girls sitting the subject.
"GCSEs have undoubtedly been in need of an overhaul for some time and, though we would support the government's stance on tackling grade inflation, it is not in itself a solution to improving standards.

"There are still serious questions about how to achieve an appropriate qualification that serves the majority of students while enabling those who have talent in the subject to continue to higher level studies.. 
"Further GCSE reforms are being introduced at breakneck speed and in parallel with changes to A-levels - I am not confident that the changes will bridge the gap between these two crucial qualifications.
"The current focus of discussions around reform is on content rather than ensuring quality assessments which test understanding, critical thinking, problem solving and practical skills. 
"This haste ignores the needs of pupils and teachers and leaves insufficient time to test new approaches to assessing practical work, a key aspect of a successful chemistry qualification and a major challenge to teachers of large classes.
"Chemistry, like every GCSE, should be taught by a subject specialist. Getting the right results means getting the right teachers in the right classrooms."


Results Table for Chemistry

GCSE20132012% change from 2012
Female/Male ratio48.89%/51.2%47.0%/53.0%--



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