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GCSE results and entries 1993-2014

 
Source: http://www.bstubbs.co.uk/gcse.htm
 
               A*   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    U   A*-C    A*-U
 
 French
       2014   9.6 14.2 19.3 26.6 19.5  7.3  2.5  0.8  0.2  69.7  168042
       2013   9.8 15.0 19.8 25.6 18.3  7.3  2.9  1.0  0.3  70.2  177288
       2012  10.7 15.6 20.9 24.5 17.1  7.2  2.9  0.8  0.3  71.7  153436
       2011  10.2 16.6 21.9 23.8 15.9  7.4  2.9  1.0  0.3  72.5  154221
       2010  10.9 15.8 20.1 25.1 16.6  7.3  3.0  1.0  0.2  71.9  177618
       2009  11.2 15.1 19.2 24.6 16.8  8.1  3.5  1.2  0.3  70.1  188688
       2008  10.3 14.7 18.8 24.5 17.3  8.7  3.9  1.5  0.3  68.3  201940
       2007   9.7 13.5 18.6 24.7 17.2  9.1  4.7  2.0  0.5  66.5  216718
       2006   9.6 13.2 17.7 24.2 17.5  9.7  5.1  2.4  0.6  64.7  236189
       2005   8.5 12.3 16.3 23.2 17.9 11.1  6.7  3.1  0.9  60.3  272140
       2004   7.4 10.7 14.5 21.1 18.1 13.0  8.9  4.9  1.4  53.7  318095
       2003   6.6 11.3 12.7 20.6 20.1 13.7  8.8  4.7  1.5  51.2  331089
       2002   7.4 10.9 13.5 21.8 18.6 13.6  8.8  4.6  0.8  53.6  338468
       2001   7.2 10.8 13.3 22.1 18.3 13.6  9.3  4.8  0.6  53.4  347007
       2000   6.6 11.6 14.0 20.5 18.1 14.2  9.7  4.7  0.6  52.7  341004
       1999   6.4 11.7 14.4 19.9 18.7 14.5  9.5  4.3  0.6  52.4  335816
       1998   6.3 11.9 13.9 18.6 19.2 15.1  9.7  4.6  0.7  50.7  335698
       1997   4.1 15.1 14.9 17.2 18.5 13.4 10.8  5.2  0.8  51.2  328299
       1996   4.4 14.8 14.6 17.2 18.2 13.5 11.1  5.5  0.7  51.0  342751
       1995   4.3 14.3 14.0 17.4 17.8 13.7 11.9  5.7  0.9  50.0  350027
       1994   4.1 14.9 14.0 16.6 18.3 14.2 12.1  5.1  0.7  49.6  324343
       1993       18.6 14.0 16.1 16.4 13.4 12.9  7.3  1.3  48.7  315246
You will see that entries remained stable from 1993 up to 2004. When languages became optional from 2004 entries fell rapidly, the decline being halted by the effect of the EBacc accountabilty measure. The latter did not see a continued effect this year. The fall in entries in 2014 is at least partly explained by the fact that the cohort overall was smaller. Entries may, therefore, have stabilised for French. Spanish has seen an increase over the years and is now clearly taking linguists away from French and German. The rise in top grades over the years is explained by the fact that the average ability level of candidates has risen substantially. Whether the top grades have risen enough is questionable. MFL is still subject to "severe grading". The exam boards and Ofqaul are trying to mainatin the same standard over the years and now take into account the general ability of that year's cohort (based on KS2 results). The slightly lower top grades in 2014 may be explained by this fact It is easy to conclude that entries for languages are generally disappointing nowadays. They have certainly declined rapidly since 1993, as they have done at A-level, but it would be interesting to know how they compare with entries to the old O-level and CSE back in earlier times. Historically it is possible that entries are not that bad at age 16. There remains a fear, however, that we are returning to an era when languages were for only the brightest and, alas, the middle classes.

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