ALL London branch
Last update: 27/05/2012
Exam- related links
The following links may be useful when analysing exam results. Some are reproduced below. Others are linked to external sites. Please let Helen know if you have any other helpful articles / links. Thanks.
GCSE RESULTS 2007
Another fall in the
numbers of students taking GCSE French and German is regrettable, but not
surprising given the optional status of all foreign languages in the KS 4
curriculum since 2004. Compared to other optional subjects, the number of
entries for foreign languages overall is still encouraging, with over 392, 500
entries this year, which represents over 50% of all pupils entering GCSE. ALL
The high achievement
of pupils in languages is also very good news. Helen Myers,
President-Elect of ALL, said “It’s fantastic to see the excellent grades
obtained by students and we know that both students and teachers work extremely
hard in order to achieve them”.
We hope that the
Government will continue to act upon recommendations of the Dearing Review,
which was set up last year to address the issue of the fall in the number of
pupils continuing to study languages at Key Stage 4. A good start has been made
on the implementation of many of Lord Dearing’s reforms and we urge the new
Government to press on with these, in particular those elements which affect
GCSE examinations. A change in grade boundaries to bring Foreign Languages in
line with Mathematics and other traditional academic subjects is under
consideration by QCA and we hope that this will be recommended and approved by
DCSF and Ministers as soon as possible so it can be implemented in time for the
results in June 2008. ALL will also respond to the current consultation on
the revisions to GCSE.
Many interesting and
exciting opportunities for language learning are suggested in the Dearing Review
and the new – and more flexible- secondary curriculum to be introduced from
September 2008 will allow these to be implemented more easily. We hope
that these new initiatives will help students to find language learning even
more stimulating and enjoyable.
Steven Fawkes, ALL
Membership Officer said, 'It is exciting to see how language teachers continue
to rise to the challenges of the National Languages Strategy and the needs of
the exam system by supporting and inspiring their learners. The coming months
bring with them new developments in which ALL members will continue to play a
major part in the continuing evolution of the world of language teaching '
ASCL Press release 23/08/07 Original here
must show support to modern languages
year’s fall in students taking modern language GCSE was to be expected, said
the Association of School and College Leaders today. Employers much share the
blame for this for failing to stress the importance of languages as a marketable
on today’s GCSE results, ASCL General Secretary Dr
20th birthday of the GCSE examination should be a cause for
celebration. The 20-year record of year-on-year improvement in the results is a
tribute to the hard work of the young people, the skills of their teachers and
the breadth of courses now available. Such annual improvement is a record of
which any British company would be proud. It is cause for celebration and those
making negative comments would do well to recall the much poorer results of O
level and CSE up to 1987.“
maths and English are now included in the main performance tables, schools have
put a lot of effort in the last year into improving results in these subjects.
This year’s increases in A*-C passes in maths and English are therefore
overall increase in A and A* grades in comprehensive schools sends a clear
message to parents that bright children do well in these schools.”
modern languages ceasing to be compulsory, the numbers were inevitably going to
fall again this year. It is to be hoped that the trend to give up modern
languages at age 14 can be reversed. Young people are doing themselves no
favours in the job market by cutting themselves off from foreign languages at
this age. The increasing numbers accredited on the ‘Languages Ladder’ offer
hope for the future, but there are issues that must be addressed before numbers
grow substantially. As the Dearing Report recommended, in order to reverse the
trend, the foreign languages curriculum must be made more interesting, the
assessment of oral skills must change and, above all, the severe grading of
modern languages GCSEs must be brought into line with other subjects. We await
the result of the QCA work on languages grading.”
must bear a substantial responsibility for the fall in modern language numbers.
Until they send out a much stronger message to young people that languages are
important in the job market, GCSE numbers will continue to be low and British
industry will continue to struggle to compete in a global market.”
students this year submitted over 26 million papers and pieces of coursework.
This bloated exam industry is reaching breaking point and must be slimmed down.
Especially for exams at age 16 and 17, greater trust should be placed in the
professional judgement of teachers. The number of external exams could be
greatly reduced by using experienced teachers as chartered assessors, who would
be qualified to grade in-course work to external standards.”
we move towards a 14 to 19 qualifications system over the next five years, the
GCSE will surely become less important and will be seen increasingly as a
stepping stone on the way to more significant qualifications at 18 or 19. But,
for the time being, it remains a necessary hurdle for young people before moving
to the next stage of education or training.”
A head teachers' leader says British industry fails to signal to teenagers the importance of language learning.
John Dunford of the Association of School and College Leaders spoke out as GCSE results showed a further decline in the entries for French and German.
The Institute of Directors said this was as misguided as it would be to credit employer demand with a surge in the popularity of religious studies.
Studying a modern foreign language is now optional beyond the age of 14.
Exam entries in French fell 8.2% from last year to 216,718 and in German were down 10.2% to just 81,000.
These were "significant" falls, said the head of the AQA exam board, Dr Mike Cresswell.
He told journalists at a briefing by the Joint Council for Qualifications that youngsters and their parents were very attuned these days to shifts in the job market, in terms of their subject options.
"I don't think there are signals coming from the employment market that doing languages will be useful."
Greg Watson of the OCR board felt the same.
"There does seem to be a mismatch between what I hear when I talk to employers about this," he said.
"They say, 'We are desperate for language skills, we are doing more business abroad'.
"When I ask if they are putting it in job adverts or a salary premium the answer tends to be 'No'."
Later Dr Dunford of the head teachers' association predicted that this year would be the bottom of the decline, as people recognised that they were doing themselves no favours in the job market by cutting out foreign languages.
He said various factors were involved, including the relative difficulty of language subjects - whose exam grades needed to be brought into line with other subjects.
Also the tourist industry in other countries was so well geared to catering for English speakers that youngsters going on holiday felt they need not bother.
But "part of what is wrong with British industry" was "the culpability of employers in failing to make it clear to young people that modern languages are important", he said.
The National Centre for Languages (Cilt) said there were no quick fixes.
As a result of real concerns, highlighted in Lord Dearing's languages review, new initiatives were in train to arrest the decline and motivate pupils.
Cilt's chief executive, Isabella Moore said: "A more diversified language offer within the new 14-19 curriculum, which stimulates students' interests and is more responsive to individual and employers' needs, is within reach but will take time to achieve."
Schools Minister Jim Knight said: "Our long-term, radical measures will increase the number of people studying languages at GCSE, A-level and beyond".
These include making languages compulsory in primary schools.
The director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), Miles Templeman, said that seeking to pin a decline in GCSE language entries on employers was misguided.
"Presumably employer demand is also responsible for this year's rises in religious studies and physical education entries," he said.
Students made the choices, with teachers and parents, to reflect their own interests and abilities as well as employment prospects.
"Equally clear is the fact that the government is right to focus efforts on primary education and on fostering a love of languages among young children.
"For older pupils, it should also explore approaches to teaching a range of languages at a lighter, conversational level, for example by following the IoD's suggestion for a GCSE in several languages."
Other shifts in popularity in the GCSEs highlighted by the Joint Council for Qualifications included a revival of sciences, following changes to the curriculum.
Figures showed that about 57,000 youngsters had taken the new science qualification after only one year rather than two - in Year 10 of their schooling.
There were mixed fortunes for another subject which, like languages, is no longer compulsory beyond the age of 14 in England: information and communication technology (ICT).
GCSE entries fell 9.1% to 99,656 and the Applied GCSE double award suffered a 37% decline.
The change was described as "really quite interesting" by Dr Cresswell - given that, last year, entries had "shot up". It was too early to discern a trend.
The managing director of the Edexcel exam board, Jerry Jarvis, said there had been a considerable migration to some of the newer vocational qualifications such as his board's diploma in digital applications (Dida) and OCR Nationals.
He said this was because students felt they were "more relevant".
But also schools know that they can be worth the equivalent of up to four good GCSEs in the school league tables.
Edexcel says it had approximately 200,000 Dida entries in 2007 with more than 138,000 certificated completions, with other students taking BTec Firsts, also worth four GCSEs.
But these are not reported with the GCSE results. Edexcel has called for a "national vocational results day".
The boom in religious studies mentioned by the IoD saw another 7.2% rise in entries this year, to 171,123 - putting it in 10th place overall.
The top 10 subjects, driven largely by curriculum demands, were unchanged except that French and history swapped places in the middle of the table - though history also suffered a decline.
As a percentage, the biggest rise was a huge 199% in additional maths, albeit to only 9,793 entries in total.
Statistics as a subject was up 21% to 82,682, and media studies up 15.5% to 66,425.