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Are GCSE Maths exams getting easier?

A look at whether GCSE Maths exams have got easier since the introduction of GCSE examinations.


The age old question that emerges on GCSE results day relating to whether or not GCSE Maths exams are getting easier as more students pass year on year is met with heated debate. On one side of the argument traditionalists who believe in the old O Level exam system believe that the replacement to the O level system is inadequate and doesn’t prepare students with skills that they need to equip them for the real world, is far easier to pass as shown by the year on year increases in the pass rate of GCSE Maths. Advocates of the GCSE system believe that it is a far better replacement to the O Level system and believe that the GCSE system enables more people to achieve the grades that they deserve, with more emphasis on coursework and less on exams.
Education expert Steven Britton CEO at maths tuition Top Grade Tutoring believes that the truth “lies somewhere in the middle”. Mr Britton reveals a shocking statistic that in the 2011 summer exams it required only 20% to obtain a grade C in GCSE Maths. Mr Britton then goes onto reveal that “The exams are not getting easier but the students are doing worse year on year so in order to compensate for that the grade boundaries are brought down by the exam boards, so in effect students don’t need as many marks to get a C, the equivalent of the old O level pass”. This has been happening ‘year on year’ where it appears that students are doing better. 

According to Mr Britton (based on current trends) unless drastic action is taken to improve Maths skills in the classroom by 2021 students will only need a mere 10% to pass a GCSE Maths exam. When this happens Mr Britton claims “The consequences for the economy and society do not bear thinking about”.
No newcomer to the world of education, Steven Britton has personally taught over a hundred people on a one to one basis on Mathematics, advised the conservative government on numeracy strategy and has developed numerous products on Maths revision.  Parents can access more information by going to


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