Page 10 - Independent Schools Magazine
P. 10

Examination Results
Schools ‘comparative analysis’ condemned as ‘fundamentally  awed’
Shortly before the publication of this year’s GCSE and A-level results (detailed in the infographics here), Tom Richmond, a former policy adviser at the DfE who now teaches at a London Sixth-Form College, issued a report which suggested that top comprehensive schools outperform the leading fee-paying schools when it comes
to the progress made by A-level students. He based his research on government data covering the 2016 exam results, and prompted a stern response from Barnaby Lenon, Chairman of the Independent Schools Council.
Mr Lenon said:
“This analysis is misleading and fundamentally  awed.
“Tom Richmond’s report is based on the measurement of progress (value- added) between GCSE and A-level, but because independent school pupils do so well at GCSE it is much harder for them to gain signi cant value-added at A-level: they need
to make a far smaller leap to get the top A-level grades. For example, the report says that ‘the negative progress score at North London Collegiate means that their students are, on average, performing worse at A-level than students at other schools who achieved the same GCSE results’. But virtually no other
schools did achieve ‘the same GCSE results’ - because North London Collegiate gets the best GCSE results in the country! At both GCSE and A-level almost all their students achieve top grades.
“By focusing purely on these two years, this report completely fails to acknowledge that, at independent schools, most of the academic value has already been ‘added’ by the age of 16. This was veri ed in recent research conducted by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at the University of Durham, which showed that GCSE pupils in independent schools were two years ahead of state school pupils of similar ability.
“In 2016, 35% of independent schools’ GCSE entries gained an A* compared to 6.5% nationally. At
A-level, 50% of independent school pupils achieved an A* or A compared to 26% nationally. This is far from ‘failing pupils’ – these are the best results achieved by any school type in the UK.
“Department for Education data shows that in 2016, 82 of the top 100 schools in terms of A-level results were independent schools, despite the fact that many state schools are more selective than most independent schools.
“Whilst this should not be exclusively about academic value- added, because all-round character development is important and ISC schools are demonstrably strong in that area, the independent sector is rightly proud of its excellent academic tradition and public
examination results. Our schools are consistently raising the bar
for their students by one or two grades over their baseline predicted results. As this report states, the results achieved by the independent sector are “staggering feats by any measure”.
“Independent schools remain committed to working in partnership with state school colleagues through different projects, including teaching support, sharing resources and jointly organising events to enhance pupils’ learning. Many state schools are doing fantastic work and we would like to see more emphasis
on collaboration rather than setting state schools and independent schools against each other.”
Year 11 Exam Results 2017 Summary
In the week following the publication of the Year 11 exam results, data was collected from 507 Independent Schools Council schools covering a total of 36,768 candidates. This is based on the  rst provisional data and is subject to change due to appeals and remarks. Visit for more details.
Over 60% of entries awarded A*/A or 9/8/7 - three times the national average
Year 13 Exam Results 2017 Summary
In the week following the publication of the Year 13 exam results, data were collected from 452 Independent Schools Council schools covering a total of 34,934 candidates. This is based on the  rst provisional data and is subject to change due to appeals and remarks. Visit for more details.
Half of A Level entries awarded either A* or A - twice the national average
This year’s GCSE and IGCSE results from ISC schools show that 62.9% of entries were awarded either an A*, A, 9, 8, or 7 grade (nationally 20.0%).1
Candidates took on average 9.6 entries, and achieved an average points total of 64.1, which corresponds to one A*s and eight As. The average entry result was 6.7, which is closer to an A than a B.
The chart on the right shows our schools’ overall performance using the common grade boundaries of A and 7, C and 4, and G and 1.
The charts below show the detailed breakdown for A*-G and 9-1 GCSEs and IGCSEs.
100 80 60 40 20 0
This year’s A Level exam results from
31,257 candidates at 423 ISC schools
show that 18.3% of entries from ISC
pupils were awarded an A* (nationally 20 8.3%). 15
One in thirteen candidates at ISC schools achieve three or more A* grades
30 Entries from ISC schools 25 Entries from all schools*
ISC’s  gures include GCSE and IGCSE results
The proportion of entries from ISC pupils
(nationally 26.3%). 0
10 achieving an A* or A grade was 47.9% 5
40 35 30 25 20 15 10
5 0
Entries from ISC schools Entries from all schools1
A* A B C D E F G U
25 20 15 10
While 6.1% of candidates (1,919 pupils) were awarded three or more A*s at A Level alone, when equivalent quali cations such as the IB and Pre-U are included, this  gure jumps up to 7.8%.
A Level candidates obtaining 3+ A* grades
Candidates obtaining 3+ A* grades
in A Levels or equivalent quali cations
1 Source: The Joint Council for Quali cations (JCQ) (GCSEs only)
A* A B C D E U
*Source: The Joint Council for Quali cations (JCQ)
0 987654321U
Note: 309 ISC schools entered candidates for 9-1 GCSEs/IGCSEs
Over eighty percent of ISC schools had results for other Year 13 exams too
Nearly half of all entries were IGCSEs
ISC schools o er a diverse range of quali cations to complement pupils’
A Level subject choices. The Extended Project, completed by 14.4% of pupils at 70.8% of ISC schools, is often taken as a fourth subject in place of a standalone AS Level.
82.8% of schools reported results for exams other than A Levels. Alternative quali cations are increasing in popularity, with 8.1% of pupils taking a Pre-U, 2.7% taking a BTEC and 4.8% taking at least one IB subject. Candidates often take these quali cations alongside A Levels.
Proportion of ISC schools submitting: A Level results and other Year 13 exams Only A Level results
No A Level results but other Year 13 exams
16.4% 3.5%
ISC schools reported the results for 172,572 IGCSEs and 179,260 GCSEs. Meaning IGCSEs therefore account for 49.0% of Year 11 entries.
The proportion of GCSE and IGCSE entries from pupils at ISC schools:
Pupils typically take a mixture of GCSE and
IGCSE subjects and in 2017, the vast majority
of pupils (87.2%) obtained at least one IGCSE result.
A Levels
Extended Project
8.1% 4.8% 2.7%
IGCSE entries GCSE entries
Year 13 candidates obtaining results in each type of exam:
...and the proportion of schools o ering the IGCSE continues to rise!
Pupils at ISC schools took fewer GCSEs
this year, as more schools o er the 350 alternative IGCSE; 86.0% of schools 300 reported at least one IGCSE result.
250 Since 2010, there has been a signi cant 200
drop in the number of GCSE entries taken
by pupils, a loss of 49.0%. In the same 150 time period, the number of IGCSE entries 100 more than quadrupled. Two schools o ered
only IGCSEs this year. 50
Over a third of pupils taking the IB Diploma obtained 39 points or more
GCSE Entries
IGCSE Entries
9.8% of pupils at ISC schools chose not to take A Levels at all.The majority of these pupils took the International Baccalaureate instead.
The average points score for pupils taking the IB Diploma was 37, roughly equivalent to 4.5 As at A Level. 3.7% of pupils obtained 45 points, the highest mark, which is only achieved by 0.1% of candidates worldwide.
Breakdown of point scores for the IB Diploma
10 8 6 4 2
0 45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 Based on the results for 1,688 pupils taking the IB Diploma at ISC schools. The maximum score available is 45 points, with a pass mark of 24 points.
Based on information from ISC’s Year 11 exam result press releases for each year, not on a like-for-like basis
10 Independent Schools Magazine
Register for your own free e-copy
Number of entries (’000s)
Percentage of entries
Percentage of entries
Percentage of entries
Percentage of entries
Percentage of entries (cumulative)

   8   9   10   11   12