The extraordinary autumn 2020 series provided students with the opportunity to try to improve their grades or access a grade if they didn’t have one from the summer following the cancellation of exams. Key findings from the results include:
A November series is available every year for students aged over 16 to resit GCSE English and Maths. In November 2020 however, students were also eligible to enter if they wanted to improve on their summer 2020 grade or if they were unable to get a grade in the summer.
Given the unrepresentative cohort, making direct comparisons of results is difficult. However, Ofqual analysis shows that, of the 73% of students that already had a grade from the summer, around 45% improved their grade in November, just under 40% had the same grade, and around 15% received a lower grade.
Overall figures show that 49.4% of the 48,896 entries in English achieved grade 4 or above, with 34.9% of the 60,359 maths entries achieving grade 4 or above.
GCSE entries for subjects other than English and Maths were small (just over 15,000 entries compared to 3.7 million in the summer). The majority of students entering these GCSEs (over 80%) took only one subject in the autumn. Outcomes show high achievement at the top grades - over a third of entrants achieved grade 7 and above and just over 15% achieved grade 9. These outcomes are likely to reflect the nature of the students entering in the autumn series and the subjects that they have entered.
For these GCSEs, just under 60% of students improved their grade compared to the summer, around 25% achieved the same grade, and just over 15% received a lower grade.
More than 10,000 students received results which represented around 2% of a usual summer AS and A Level cohort.
Given the small and unrepresentative cohort, comparing results with other exam series is difficult, but of the students that also had a grade from the summer, almost half improved their A Level grade and just under 40% improved their AS grade. Around 30% of entries at A Level were graded A or A*.
Around 16% of A Level entries were from students who did not have a summer grade in the same subject.
Students who did not improve their grade will be able to use their grade from summer 2020.
Overall results for GCSEs, AS and A Levels from the autumn series have been published by JCQ including a breakdown for each subject.
Update: Ofqual published revised entry figures for the autumn 2020 series in May 2021.