The Department of Education’s most recent headline results for state examinations cover 2013. The number of students who took their GCSE exams in that year was 176,301. This number had decreased by 16,059 exam entries since 2008. The 2013 entries had increased by 4,947 pupils on the previous year, which had a recent low of 171,354 exam entries.
The amount of pupils achieving top grades has risen. In 2013, those receiving A*-A grades made up 28 per cent of total GCSE exams taken. This number has risen slightly from 26.4 per cent pupils in 2008. Those in the A* grade category comprised 8.9 per cent. This number slightly decreased by 0.2 per cent on the previous year and has largely remained consistent since 2008. Most students (99.2 per cent) gained A*-E grades.
Students achieving grades A*-C made up 76.5 per cent of the results. Thus 23.5 per cent of pupils who sat their GCSE exams did not achieve A*-C grades; this figure has increased by 2 per cent over the past five years. Of the girls sitting the 2013 exams, 32.7 per cent achieved A*-A grades in comparison to 23 per cent of boys. There has been a slow increase in girls getting top grades since 2008 from 30.3 per cent, whilst the number of boys being awarded the grades has fluctuated slightly since 2008, reaching a high of 23.6 per cent in 2009.
AS-level entries were at 43,472, which has steadily grown from 37,017 entries in 2008. In 2012, 44,468 pupils sat their AS-levels. However, 11,632 of these pupils did not continue to sit their 2013 A-level. Pupils who received an A grade totalled 28.1 per cent. This has fallen by
5.8 per cent in the past four years. Three-quarters (75.5 per cent) of AS-level students were awarded grades A-C. This had fallen from 77.6 per cent in 2010. A total of 94.4 per cent of pupils achieved grades A-E.
There were 32,836 A-level exam entries. Pupils gaining A*-A grades made up 30.7 per cent of results. This has dropped from 35.9 per cent in 2010. The A* grade was introduced in August 2010 and 7.7 per cent of pupils were awarded it in 2013. Those achieving grades A*-C comprised 83.5 per cent but this has decreased from 84.5 per cent in 2012. The total percentage of pupils who gained A*-E results was 98.1 per cent.