The brown envelopes are finally open, and one more landmark in a student’s academic journey has been reached….but what will be the abiding memory of this day’s results?
Inevitably the talk will be around GCSE ‘pass’ rates, but it’s important to acknowledge that all grades are passes. A Grade 1 is a GCSE pass, it’s just that certain pathways demand a specific level of ‘pass’, but if you’ve sat your GCSEs and got a grade, congratulations, you’ve passed.
As heavily trailed in the media over recent weeks, it’s been revealed that GCSE ‘pass’ rates of Grade 4 in England and are indeed down on last year’s.
Some 68.2% of all graders were marked at grades 4 or above, which is not far off 2019, but significantly lower than last year’s 73.2%.
Of course, while somewhat expected, given the narrative around a return to exam expectations, marking and grade boundaries pre-covid, it’s no doubt going to cause some degree of disappointment for pupils impacted – and for their teachers and parents too.
Our CEO, Sarah Ledger, was fully anticipating this drop-off in scores, but says the priority is to now consider the reaction and response.
“First off, I want to congratulate every single student who has received results today, on behalf of my team and I at Lexonik,” she said.
“We know from our conversations with staff in schools throughout the UK, just how hard pupils have been working, and how anxious some had
become that they didn’t want to feel ‘less than’ because of a return to normal grading.
“Inevitably, there was going to be a move toward normalising, given we’re now three years on from Covid. But having said that, we still have to recognise that these pupils were also impacted through the pandemic period and didn’t always have the greatest of experience in their learning.
“The deprivation gap which has been officially acknowledged as widening has to be in part due to the vastly different experiences students had during the Covid home learning days, plus the access to paid for home tutoring by some.
“What’s vital now, is what we do with this year’s results; how we analyse and use the data to consider the path education needs to take going forward. That will mean doing somethings differently, and acknowledging that reading and illiteracy is bound to be a significant reason why many students missed their potential or needed grades.”
Alongside today’s results, it’s being widely reported that there will be a far higher rush for GCSE resits than before.
It’s a requirement that any student scoring a grade 3 or below in English (and indeed, maths) will have to retake it.
Sarah says: “It’s important to consider why the grade 4 was missed and what part a student’s lack of reading fluency, automaticity, vocabulary understanding, and comprehension played in that.
“This is exactly what Lexonik has secured funding from The Department for Education to deliver. Lexonik’s project with DFE provides fully funded intervention programmes and professional development, to FE colleges. We’re looking at taking a step back from the nuts and bolts of the specifics of the GCSE exams and focusing on the missing underlying core knowledge.
“Basically, can students read fluently enough and comprehend what they are reading in order to attempt the exam in the first place. It not targeted, specific, quick interventions are needed, which is exactly how Lexonik works”
Above all, Sarah emphasises the importance of positive parenting and supporting signposting, for a child to be helped in making the right next steps.
“Trust me, as a parent, I know how incredibly difficult it is when your child feels demoralised or disappointed – and perhaps when you might also feel that they’ve been ‘hard done by’,” she says.
“Now is the time to encourage and support. Don’t get caught up in blame or negativity, but instead, emphasise what they can do to move forward now.
“The FE colleges are there to support and develop their students on the next phase of their journey.”
If you’re interested in Lexonik’s FULLY FUNDED DfE programme, please check out the information here, and get in touch with our team.