This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.
Proportion of entries at GCSE level English and Mathematics achieving a pass grade
Proportion of entries at GCSE level achieving a grade 4 or above in English Language, English Literature, or Mathematics (since 2016/17) or proportion of entries at GCSE level achieving a grade C or above in English Language, English Literature or Mathematics (2009/10 to 2015/16)
|Unit of measurement||
English language - GCSE specifications in English language should ensure students can read fluently and write effectively. Course content should cover critical reading and comprehension, writing, and spoken language. The Department for Education provide more detailed information on English language GCSE subject content and assessment objectives.
English literature - GCSE specifications in English literature should develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Course content should cover reading comprehension and reading critically, and writing. The Department for Education provide more detailed information on English literature GCSE subject content and assessment objectives.
Mathematics - GCSE specifications in mathematics should enable students to - develop fluent knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts; acquire, select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems; reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences and draw conclusions, and; comprehend, interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context. The Department for Education provide more detailed information on Mathematics GCSE subject content and assessment objectives.
No calculations were performed in the data acquisition of this indicator as appropriate data was readily available in the final format specified by this proxy indicator. For insight into the details of potential calculations, please refer to the original source methodology information.
In 2017, English language, English literature and mathematics GCSEs in England were reformed and graded from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade. A grade 4 or above marks a similar achievement to the old grade C or above, the standard for a level 2 qualification.
This indicator displays data related to the proportion of entries at GCSE level English and Mathematics achieving a pass grade, which means the proportion of entries achieving a grade C or above from years 2009/10 to 2015/16 and a grade 4 and above from 2016/17 onwards. However, the Department for Education (DfE) recognises the need to to continue to raise standards in English and maths. As such, the DfE class a grade 5 and above in English or maths as a ‘strong pass' and report the percentage of pupils achieving grades 5 or above as its headline school performance measure for English and maths attainment.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, summer exams were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Pupils scheduled to sit GCSE and A/AS level exams in 2020 were awarded either a centre assessment grade (CAG) or their calculated grade using a model developed by Ofqual. In 2021, pupils were only assessed on the content they had been taught for each course and schools were given flexibility to decide how to assess their pupils’ performance, for example, through mock exams, class tests, and non-exam assessment already completed. GCSE grades were then determined by teachers based on the range of evidence available and they are referred to as teacher-assessed grades, or TAGs.
The 2021/22 academic year saw the return of the summer exam series. As part of the transition back to the summer exam series, adaptations were made to the exams (including advance information) and the approach to grading for 2022 exams broadly reflected a midpoint between results in 2019 and 2021.
The changes to the way GCSE grades were awarded in 2019/20 and 2020/21 (with CAGs and TAGs replacing exams) mean pupil attainment data for these years should not be directly compared to pupil attainment data from any other years for the purposes of measuring year on year changes in pupil performance.
This indicator is being used as an approximation of the UN SDG Indicator. Where possible, we will work to identify or develop UK data to meet the global indicator specification. This indicator has not been identified in collaboration with topic experts.
|Data last updated||06 April 2023|
|Metadata last updated||06 April 2023|