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GCSE Grade Comparison Analysis

Following on from our A Level Grade Comparison Analysis blog we now turn our attention to Awarding Organisation (AO) grade statistics based on the most popular GCSE subjects, over 100,000 entries, sat in Summer 2022.  Figures presented in the table below are summarised from individual AO websites and show cumulative percentages of subject results by grade, allowing you to compare and contrast. As explained previously grade distributions between AO specifications are only one measure.  Other factors, namely accessibility, specification content/structure, assessment methodology, popularity, reputation of AO etc should all be considerations prior to selecting a specification to study.

One word of caution. For those subjects where Foundation/Higher tiers exist (Mathematics, Sciences, Languages) grade statistics published by AOs do not distinguish between tiers. Therefore grades distributions presented here, combining Foundation/Higher numbers, can be skewed depending on the ratio of Foundation/Higher entries for each specification cohort as the maximum achievable grade at Foundation is 4. 

As with A Levels there are some stark differences in GCSE grade distributions, even between same subject specifications offered by the same Awarding Organisation. For example, 10.6% and 52.7% of candidates achieved a ‘grade 8 or above’ or ‘grade 5 or above’, respectively, for Edexcel’s long established English Language specification (1EN0). Compare this to Edexcel alternative English Language 2.0 specification 1EN2 (first certification Jun 22).  Despite the relatively small number of candidates sitting 1EN2, 10,022 compared to 54,597 for 1EN0, only 3.2% of candidates achieved a ‘grade 8 or above’ and only 30% attained a ‘grade 5 or above’.  However, this statistic is eclipsed by the performance of OCRs English Language specification (J351) where over one fifth of the 8,258 candidate’s sitting achieved a ’grade 8 or above’ and 70% attained a ‘grade 5 or above’! 

Looking at the raw statistics one might seek to avoid Eduqas’s GCSE mathematics specification (C300).  Although only accounting for 9,580 of GCSE Mathematics grades issued, (1.3% of all GCSE Mathematics grades) only 28% of candidates achieved a ‘grade 4 or above’ compared to figure ranging between 63% and 68% for all other AOs.  It is possible Eduqas had a disproportionately higher entry of Foundation candidates in their cohort compared to other AOs where a ‘4’ was the highest grade attainable…..

Turning to  Science OCR is the only AO to offer two specifications for each subject (single award).  Whilst OCR Gateway specifications for Biology, Chemistry & Physics have grade distributions comparable to AQA and Pearson Edexcel (Eduqas do not offer Science GCSEs), grade attainment for their ‘Twenty First Century’ specifications are markedly lower from grade 6 upwards.

Combined Science grade statistics, not presented in the table below having a separate grading structure, show that AQA are clear market leaders, accounting for 81% of all candidate entries made in Summer 22.  As with individual science subjects grade distributions between the AOs are broadly the same although grade attainment for AQAs ‘Synergy’ specification (8465) is appreciably lower than that of its much more popular counterpart ‘Trilogy’ (8464).

We hope you have found this blog useful in assisting you in selecting the AO specification(s) you might wish to study in future.  Next week we’ll turn our attention to IGCSE statistics.  Please feel free to share this blog, and any others we publish, if you feel they will benefit anyone else, particularly those within the home education community.

And when it comes to booking your exams why not consider the Academic Enrichment Centre as a venue?  We cater for most subjects with all Awarding Organisations. Feel free to visit our website here or speak to one of our colleagues on 0121 777 9444 for more information.

Cumulative Percentage
SubjectAOSpecSat987654321U
MathematicsAQA8300182,9924.311.519.129.445.963.578.290.597.6100.0
Edexcel1MA1476,9644.511.720.531.948.665.879.090.297.5100.0
OCRJ56057,9684.711.419.828.348.367.779.590.198.3100.0
EduqasC3009,5800.91.83.04.414.827.948.069.590.1100.0
English LanguageAQA8700554,1773.610.220.336.454.370.588.595.798.9100.0
Edexcel1EN054,5974.210.620.536.952.767.086.194.098.4100.0
Edexcel1EN210,0221.23.26.715.230.049.276.890.897.9100.0
OCRJ5318,2589.422.138.554.970.982.291.796.698.9100.0
EduqasC70075,4153.99.719.635.953.169.283.892.997.6100.0
English LiteratureAQA8702463,5024.111.423.442.061.577.489.095.298.5100.0
Edexcel1ET052,3655.113.526.246.165.578.989.795.298.2100.0
OCRJ3527,2628.120.835.553.871.986.593.997.799.3100.0
EduqasC72055,5514.712.424.743.963.277.288.794.597.2100.0
HistoryAQA814592,5727.918.231.046.660.672.283.792.397.5100.0
Edexcel1HIA125,9396.815.827.742.156.669.283.592.797.8100.0
Edexcel1HIB28,11111.021.933.648.261.572.883.792.097.2100.0
OCRJ4103,43211.125.039.956.069.879.488.995.198.9100.0
OCRJ41115,8406.615.927.841.356.069.783.892.197.1100.0
EduqasC10011,0616.515.227.641.355.768.880.889.995.6100.0
GeographyAQA8035186,3817.417.329.844.559.071.984.893.498.4100.0
Edexcel1GA018,49810.221.133.148.562.173.185.093.698.6100.0
Edexcel1GB030,3088.118.831.246.961.773.585.393.498.6100.0
OCRJ3836,4659.419.732.847.160.872.584.693.098.6100.0
OCRJ38419,7899.520.432.948.863.073.686.694.498.7100.0
EduqasC1115,8688.718.330.244.657.569.983.792.398.0100.0
EduqasC11210,4286.616.228.344.158.570.885.894.498.4100.0
Religious StudiesAQA8062112,6219.922.035.352.967.077.188.494.998.6100.0
AQA806313,52410.523.537.055.169.279.889.495.398.7100.0
Edexcel1RA017,6018.319.932.348.763.775.587.194.298.4100.0
Edexcel1RB025,3209.520.933.851.465.475.686.793.998.2100.0
OCRJ6256,31813.628.342.357.870.681.290.495.798.5100.0
EduqasC12048,4819.420.633.449.664.175.986.693.998.3100.0
BiologyAQA8461141,00616.031.849.769.384.591.996.698.799.5100.0
Edexcel1BI023,39717.135.551.769.783.891.996.398.299.1100.0
OCRJ2478,73418.034.750.968.882.592.095.897.899.3100.0
OCRJ2571,94612.125.641.560.078.688.593.997.399.1100.0
ChemistryAQA8462134,77415.932.549.667.683.693.097.299.099.7100.0
Edexcel1CH022,80817.033.750.867.882.492.496.998.699.3100.0
OCRJ2488,19917.835.151.268.182.992.596.698.799.6100.0
OCRJ2581,94414.028.145.464.881.090.194.997.899.1100.0
PhysicsAQA8463134,65515.532.950.270.485.693.997.899.199.6100.0
Edexcel1PH022,85216.934.351.670.384.993.497.498.799.4100.0
OCRJ2497,96517.334.551.669.085.893.297.698.899.5100.0
OCRJ2591,70612.626.943.562.882.090.795.897.899.3100.0
FrenchAQA865896,37410.419.931.840.269.078.391.296.598.5100.0
Edexcel1FR026,22710.219.430.841.263.177.891.096.998.7100.0
EduqasC8002,92211.120.733.541.866.380.390.396.498.9100.0
SpanishAQA869890,0379.418.932.140.967.777.791.397.098.8100.0
Edexcel1SP022,4749.718.830.941.464.777.591.097.098.6100.0
EduqasC8102,1268.817.628.638.461.476.389.795.798.0100.0
Business StudiesAQA813226,5207.317.328.946.063.076.888.695.299.1100.0
Edexcel1BS053,1127.316.228.445.561.874.587.495.099.0100.0
OCRJ20416,7327.116.327.944.461.474.987.695.098.8100.0
EduqasC5104,4307.217.029.246.862.976.187.394.699.0100.0