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What percentage of A or A* at GCSE would be considered good in school statistics?

(33 Posts)
shelsco Wed 14-Oct-09 22:30:06

My DS1 is in Y6 and we are looking at the local comp which his school feeds into. We don't really want to separate him from his friends but are a bit concerned, as on seeing the statistics for last year,the percentage of higher grades seemed low. For example, 132 pupils were entered for maths GCSE but only 1.5% got A* and only 3.9% got A. Maths was the worst but the figures were low for other subjects too.I was confused as 1.5% equates to 1.9 pupils! Surely pupils have to be measured in whole numbers! Do these figures seem low to anyone else? I should really have spoken to the Head at the time but couldn't seem to catch him. OFSTED was positive but they only seemed to look at grades A to C as a whole. Am I expecting too much?

senua Thu 15-Oct-09 00:13:46

This link probably gives the information that you want (table 13). It shows, subject by subject, the grades awarded at GCSE for 2008 in England. The overall national average for A* was 6.8% and A was 14.1%

BTW, I'm guessing that, in your example, 2 out of the 132 pupils got A* for Maths. This calculates as 1.5151515% which, after rounding, will be reported as simply 1.5%. When you work this backwards (132 pupils x 1.5%) it comes out as 1.9 pupils, not 2 whole pupils.

Quattrocento Thu 15-Oct-09 00:16:41

I think it's sensible to focus on A/A* grades - after all these are the grades that are relevant for university nowadays.

Try senua's link and see what you think. FWIW it was one of my important criteria in the choice of secondary schools.

Morosky Thu 15-Oct-09 00:30:04

I teach in a comp which is truly comprehensive and last year aimed for 10% A* and that was with a not amazingly bright year group. It will have increased for this year group and then again for the one after - I think our A-C target os 80%. I would be happy to send my dd to the school in which I teach. I agree about looking for A* and asking what they do to support pupils in getting those grades.

shelsco Sat 17-Oct-09 22:23:37

Thanks guys. will look at the link and then go and talk to the head, although TBH think he will say what i want to hear, which won't necessarily be the truth!

Metella Sun 18-Oct-09 09:45:50

Those figures aren't just for Comprehensives though, are they? So they might be misleading and higher than you would expect from a normal Comprehensive.

madamearcati Wed 21-Oct-09 17:13:22

national results

GrimmaTheNome Wed 21-Oct-09 17:24:48

What you consider 'good' is as long as a piece of string but those figures for maths are poor. It suggests that even their top set isn't getting many good grades.

Judy1234 Sun 25-Oct-09 20:45:19

My daughter's old school gets 97% A or A* and about 81% A*. it is however academically selective and fee paying and I think been the top school in the whole country in 4 of the last 10 years of results. Great school.

zanzibarmum Sun 25-Oct-09 21:35:50

Xenia what is the rate of self harming at that school - is it as high as as people say it is?

Cortina Mon 26-Oct-09 08:34:34

Xenia where is the school you are talking about? Bucks?

I hear rumours about all the independent girls schools in the 'first division' in terms of results. Girls starving themselves to death and so on. I take it with a pinch of salt.

If they've got into these schools in the first place at 11 chances are it's a good fit for them. I wonder whether some negativity comes about because of jealousy etc?

Morosky Mon 26-Oct-09 08:49:34

My school is a state comp and fully comprehensive at that.

Piffle Mon 26-Oct-09 08:52:11

I think if you have choices, it is worth looking at improvement year on year as well.
DS1 goes to a selective grammar (not home counties) with a 92% A-C result but I am not sure of the cut of A*/A marks, but suspect in Maths it is around 30% but will know later this school year as DS1 yr 11 now. predicted all A* and A by the by but we shall see

FlorenceDaphne Mon 26-Oct-09 09:09:27


I work in a sink "comprehensive".

What percentage of As and A*s would be considered good at our school? If anyone got an A* we would get out bunting and cake.

Some people in the top set get Cs.

Jesus, how the other half lives.

Morosky Mon 26-Oct-09 09:18:48

I have worked in a school like that Florence and would argue that it is not fully comprehensive. In some ways mine should not be as we lose some of our brightest students to the grammar, but we do seem to manage to have students of all abilities.

Litchick Mon 26-Oct-09 09:26:22

Florence - that certainly belies the oft peddled MN line that bright kids will do well wherever they go, no?

And those national averages are interesting. The way people talk about dumbing down I had assumed the figures would be much higher. Which again belies the oft peddled press line that 'everyone' is getting A*s these days.

AngelicVoice Mon 26-Oct-09 09:53:15

Forence, does the top set really get C's? shock

If the national average of A* is 6.8% and the top private and grammar schools are averaging 70%+ A* then there must be very few comps getting anywhere near the national average.

AngelicVoice Mon 26-Oct-09 10:19:23

Just looked at the link and I don't know why they lump A*-C's together as the gulf between the two are massive. Parents want to see % of A*-A's, B's and C downwards. It might sound mean but no one in academic spheres rate a C.

zanzibarmum Mon 26-Oct-09 16:33:14

Cortina not Bucks but London I suspect. And not jealous - there is a serious issue in such schools. Lots of unhappy girls with lots of A*

Litchick Mon 26-Oct-09 18:54:59

One of my neices attends a school that claims to have 95% of pupils leaving with five GCSEs. This puts it high up in the league tables, yet when those five GCSEs include English and Maths, the figure drops to 50%.
I don't kinow how one finds out the A and A*s info, but I bet the figure isn't that impressive.
Numbers schumbers.

Morosky Mon 26-Oct-09 19:01:05

I always check the A-C including Maths and English as schools, especially struggling ones, will do all sorts to "fix" the figures.

We publish our A* rate in school literature, I think it is on the website as well.

mmrred Wed 28-Oct-09 12:05:47

It may be that higher-attaining students do double entry, for example, and do Maths and Statistics in the same amount of curriculum time.

But surely there are far, far more important things to look for when choosing a school than the A* results in one subject (albeit an important one).


iamdisappointedinyou Wed 28-Oct-09 14:43:54

Come off it mmrred. This is a school that gets 1.5% at A* (national figure 6.8%) and 3.9% at A (v. 14.1%) in one of the most important subjects. It may be a statistical blip but, if so, it's one that needs explaining.
If they can't even do this basic task, then what else is slipping? Our local comp was like this: on paper the results were OK but they weren't getting 100CVA, they didn't encourage the kids to do their best, there was a definite attitude of 'a C grade is sufficient'.

kittybrown Wed 28-Oct-09 15:13:12

I don't agree mmrred. At our local comp 1 child out of 160 children got an A*. Just one for English Lit. The highest anyone got in science was a C (they don't do separate sciences. Only 5 pupils took French ( no other languages offered) and only 3 of them passed. surely with that kind of pupil/teacher ratio they should have all passed with flying colours.
To me this is a very important factor when choosing which school my ds will go to. Either the school sucks the ability out of the children or it is failing the high attains spectacularly.

mmrred Wed 28-Oct-09 20:37:41

Agree the CVA is important (and am assuming you mean 1000?) but all I'm saying is that's a very narrow view of education, surely? If as Kitty says, the results across the board are alarming, combined with a low CVA, then yes you'd have an issue but OP gave no indication that was the case. Also 130 is a pretty small cohort so individual circs can have a massive impact on percentage scores.

I'd also be looking at involvement of students in school life, extra-curricular activities, bullying policies, safeguarding...or are we saying the happiness of children isn't important so long as the school hot-houses an A* maths GCSE out of them?

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