Analysing GCSE reforms and the disadvantage gap

GCSE Reforms have widened the disadvantage gap according to a report published by The Sutton Trust. The move from modules to final exams alongside a new grading system, has resulted in scores for disadvantaged pupils falling by over a quarter of a grade across nine subjects.

The finding show an impact on those achieving top marks, with fewer disadvantage pupils likely to achieve the top grade 9 compared to those who previously achieved an A*, while the drop is smaller for non-disadvantaged pupils. The report highlights that more affluent families can provide resources and support for students struggling with the new, more demanding content. It also warns that wider differentiation for those with higher levels of ability could affect social mobility, with employers and universities focusing solely on top grades.

Further reading

The Sutton Trust – Making the grade

Education DataLab – The effect of GCSE reforms: Have they widened the disadvantage gap?

Education DataLab – The effect of GCSE reforms: How have they affected long-term disadvantaged pupils?

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