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August 23, 2012

GCSE Grades fall in ICT; girls still beating boys

Despite an uptick in the number of students taking ICT as part of their GCSEs, marks have fallen.

By Allan Swann

This year’s GCSE results showed that 53,197 students took ICT, up from 47,128 in 2011.

However, fewer students received A or A* – 28.7% compared to 32.1% in 2011. Cs and Ds also fell, the big boost coming from B grades, which accounted for 25.8% this year, compared to 21.5% last year.

The number of top shelf A* grades accounted for 7.1%, compared to 9.3% last year.

For the second year running, girls beat boys where it mattered, in A*, A and B. More boys still sit ICT, 29,607 to 23,590.

The results are largely symptomatic of declines across the board. For the first time in the GCSE’s 24 year history, pass rates fell: 69.4 percent earned pass grades (A*-C), compared with 69.8% last year. Labour and Teachers have called for an inquiry, decrying the system as politicised ahead of Education Secretary’s Michael Gove’s proposed review of the national curriculum.

Gove wants to see a return to an O-Level like system with harder testing, and a focus on fundamentals.

The UK ICT curriculum has long been decried as out of touch; not teaching teenage students the skills the industry demands (see CBR special report here).

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Respondents to a 2008 e-Skills study said that GCSE IT was "so harmful, boring and/or irrelevant it should simply be scrapped". Gove has since announced that a new IT curriculum will be created, with industry consultation, by 2014.


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