You cynical Mel? Never! I hear you say! ** I can almost hear you shaking your head too!**


Today some statistics about those students that didn’t achieve a grade C in Maths and English at 16 (i.e. at the end of year 11) were published. They show that the percentage of them that go onto achieve a grade C (and above) between the age of 16 and 19 has dropped from 18.4% in 2011/12 to 16.3% in 2012/13. Now this raises some questions for me (I don’t have answers by the way!):

– Why aren’t there any comparisons with the key stage 2 outcomes for these cohorts?

– Similarly why don’t these statistics show the breakdown for the two separate subjects? or indeed show the percentage of students who gained Maths but not English, or English but not Maths and then also neither English or Maths by the age of 16?

– Will the introduction of new compulsory post 16 qualification (in maths) be viewed by some people higher up than me and you (and possibly sitting in some government office) as the solution to this one year decline?

– Once again I put myself in the shoes of a student – this time, one who hates maths with a passion in year 11. As teachers you will know that there are some students that we drag through GCSE (kicking and screaming!) to get a C under the current regime. What will be the students incentive to gain a C in year 11 if we make post 16 maths compulsory for those with a C and above? … oh I know! lets make them study more maths until the end of year 13. When in reality, me as that 16 year old will quickly figure out the best option is to have to continue resitting my GCSE until some point during year 12 or 13 and then I won’t be subjected to new maths stuff. Trust me, it wont take long until students figure this out.

Most maths teachers will know how easy it is to make statistics say whatever you want (within reason of course) to support your case. Hopefully a smidgeon of my cynicism will have rubbed off on some of my students so that they too, will question similar documents when faced with them in the future.

You can find the original report here