GCSE Science Facts & Figures 2016

Separate Science Entries and Outcomes

The number of entries (all age groups) in Biology, Chemistry and Physics rose by 3.6 percentage points, 5.7 percentage points and 4.6 percentage points respectively. This increase in entries may explain the slight drop in outcomes in these subjects (discussed in next paragraph), as students moving from combined Science to separate Sciences seem to be amongst the most able in the combined Science group. However, these movers seem to be generally of a lower ability than those previously taking Biology, Chemistry and Physics. At grade A*-C, Biology is down 0.4 percentage points, Chemistry down 0.9 percentage points and Physics down 1.1 percentage points.

Combined Science Entries

Entries (all age groups) for the combined Sciences grew significantly, with Additional Science up 10.5% to 368,033. There was also a 22.5% growth in the number of entries by 16 year olds in Science, from 208,192 to 254,964. School and college performance measures are likely to be drawing students into Science GCSEs from other science qualifications on offer. There is also a large decline in entries for Further Additional Sciences as more able candidates may be switching paths to take separate Sciences.

Combined Science Outcomes

These changes in entry patterns in both separate and combined Sciences have had an effect on outcomes in combined Sciences. Relatively small reductions in grades A*-A (0.7 percentage points in Science and 1.4 percentage points in Additional Science) are likely to be the result of the move in entries to Biology, Chemistry and Physics by students who are now studying sciences via that route. The larger decline at A*-C (down 3.8 percentage points in Science and 3.5 percentage points in Additional Science) is due to the increase in entries from students who previously had been entered for other science qualifications now being taught GCSEs and performing less well.