Skip to content

Factors to Consider on GCSE Results Day

GCSE results and linked progress scores for individual classes are unreliable proxies for judging teacher effectiveness. 

It’s tempting to think otherwise, but the truth is that decent teachers don’t always achieve decent results and results achieved by individual teachers vary over time.  Input doesn’t match output.  So, when the next set of results are officially published on the 22nd August, it’s worth considering the wider impact of the factors below alongside viewpoints on the quality of teaching that has gone before.

Factors to Consider: Whole School Level

  1. Culture and climate of the school
  2. Curriculum priorities
  3. Teaching and learning priorities
  4. Approaches to behaviour and inclusion

Factors to Consider: Department Level

  1. Breadth of the KS3 curriculum and the quality of its implementation
  2. Allocation and division of KS4 curriculum time
  3. Consistency of staffing across classes (e.g. split classes, mid-course changes to staffing)
  4. Group changes (e.g. students judged not to be making progress switched into a different class)
  5. Experience levels and specialisms of staff
  6. Quality of schemes of work and shared resources
  7. Approaches to setting (students in top sets are likely to make more progress and achieve better results)
  8. Approaches to intervention
  9. The amount of curriculum time lost through whole-school initiatives (e.g. collapsed timetable days)
  10. Level and quality of SLT support

Factors to Consider: Class Level

  1. The mobility of students and their routes into the class (e.g. in-year transfers, managed moves, group changes)
  2. The attendance of students at school-level
  3. The attendance of students at class-level (e.g. lessons missed because of isolation)
  4. Level of teacher autonomy (e.g. to teach in a certain way or to prioritise aspects of the curriculum)
  5. Student attendance at intervention sessions
  6. Effectiveness of intervention
  7. Quality of student behaviour
  8. Levels of student motivation
  9. Levels of parental support and engagement
  10. Level and quality of HoD support

Other Factors to Consider: Class Level

  1. Gender balance of students
  2. Levels of socio-economic disadvantage
  3. Ethnicity of students
  4. Nature and diversity of special educational needs
  5. Nature and diversity of EAL needs
  6. Stability of home-life
  7. Levels of parental education
  8. Access to private tuition

Further Reading

  1. Research Brief: Influences on students’ GCSE attainment and progress at age 16
  2. Research Report: Factors associated with achievement: key stage 4
  3. Research Report: Multiple disadvantage and KS4 attainment: evidence from LSYPE2
  4. Education Datalab: Long-term disadvantage, part three: Ethnicity, EAL and long-term disadvantage
  5. Education Datalab: Key Stage 4 performance tables 2018: Four key points from this year’s data
  6. 6 findings on latest EEF report

Good, bad or average: lest we forget in a few weeks that a set of GCSE results is not simply the isolated outcome of two years of teaching.

Thanks for reading –


Form CTA