Overview of November 2019 GCSE Examination Results

November 2019 saw the award of GCSE English Language, GCSE Welsh Language, GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy.

We published official statistics[1] on November entries on Thursday 5 December 2019 which showed some change in the entries in comparison to November 2018.

We have closely monitored WJEC’s delivery of these new qualifications and are confident that standards have been maintained.

Headlines: 

  • There were strong results in GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy compared to previous November sessions 
  • Results improved at A* - C in GCSE English Language compared to the November 2018 session and were similar to outcomes in November 2017 
  • The profile of students sitting GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy this November was not representative of the whole cohort. Students entering these subjects early in November 2019 tended to be higher ability students.  
  • In GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics the results for 17-year-olds resitting have increased (45.8% (500 learners) achieving at least a C for GCSE English Language, up from 29.9% (260 learners) in November 2018 and 37.7% (340 learners) achieving at least a C for GCSE Mathematics, up from 27.4% (260 learners) in November 2018). GCSE Mathematics 

GCSE Mathematics (All students, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2016 

22,690 

5.8 

9.9 

46.1 

91.2 

November 2017 

21,880 

5.3 

10.6 

45.8 

91.5 

November 2018 

6,580 

12.6 

22.8 

58.4 

92.1 

November 2019 

6,540 

15.1 

26.9 

61.0 

95.3 

In this and later tables the numbers sat are rounded to the nearest five.

Each exam series has a different cohort of students, with a different overall profile of ability. The profile of students sitting this November was not representative of the whole cohort; this is to be expected in qualifications where there are multiple entry opportunities.  

The number of students sitting GCSE Mathematics is relatively stable this November when compared to November 2018. This November 77.3% of entries were from 16-year-olds (Year 11) which is up from 73.4% in November 2018.  

As in November 2018, the proportion of 16-year-old students sitting the higher tier GCSE Mathematics papers is relatively high; 48.2% in 2019, up from 42.3% in 2018. The results for 16-year-old students suggest that this November series is being used for higher ability mathematicians. This may have implications for the summer results as these higher ability mathematicians are unlikely to enter in the summer examinations, which may depress the summer results when compared to previous years.  

GCSE Mathematics (16-year-olds, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2016 

21,775 

5.9 

10.1 

47.0 

92.1 

November 2017 

19,560 

5.7 

11.5 

48.4 

92.8 

November 2018 

4,890 

16.8 

30.1 

68.9 

94.6 

November 2019 

4,990 

19.5 

34.6 

69.0 

96.1 

 

GCSE Mathematics (17-year-olds, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2016 

165 

1.8 

4.8 

29.3 

88.0 

November 2017 

1,325 

0.8 

2.3 

28.9 

93.4 

November 2018 

1,040 

0.4 

1.5 

29.0 

87.7 

November 2019 

950 

0.6 

1.8 

38.9 

96.4  



GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy

GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy (All students, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2016 

28,755 

5.6 

12.3 

46.1 

88.5 

November 2017 

19,195 

4.2 

11.1 

48.3 

91.3 

November 2018 

11,930 

7.4 

17.7 

57.6 

92.7 

November 2019 

10,600 

8.4 

18.6 

60.7 

95.8 

The number of students sitting GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy has continued to fall when compared to previous November series. This November 97.4% of entries were from 16-year-olds (Year 11).  

As for GCSE Mathematics, the profile of students sitting this November was not representative of the whole cohort; this is to be expected in qualifications where there are multiple entry opportunities.  Of the 16-year-old students who sat this November, 38.1% took the higher tier GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy papers. This is similar to November 2018 (39.7%). This is a higher proportion than in previous November sessions.  

 

GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy (16-year-olds, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2016 

27,845 

5.7 

12.6 

46.7 

89.1 

November 2017 

18,120 

4.3 

11.5 

49.9 

92.6 

November 2018 

11,375 

7.7 

18.3 

59.5 

93.4 

November 2019 

10,210 

8.5 

19.1 

62.0 

96.3 

 

GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy (17-year-olds, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2016 

125 

6.5 

9.7 

33.1 

88.7 

November 2017 

435 

2.1 

4.6 

29.7 

89.6 

November 2018 

310 

1.9 

4.5 

20.8 

85.1 

November 2019 

190 

3.2 

5.9 

33.2 

95.7 



GCSE English Language 

GCSE English Language (All students, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2017 

11,715 

0.4 

3.2 

47.5 

99.1 

November 2018 

3,290 

1.8 

6.4 

38.6 

98.2 

November 2019 

3,280 

1.2 

5.6 

47.1 

98.2 

The number of students sitting GCSE English Language this November is similar to November 2018. However, the profiles of these cohorts are  different due to changes in performance measures, which affected November 2018.  

This November 51.0% of entries were from 16-year-olds (Year 11) compared to 52.6% in November 2018. 48.8% of candidates were 17-year-old students resitting the qualification this November compared to 47.4% in November 2018. 

 

GCSE English Language (16-year-olds, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2017 

10,065 

0.5 

3.6 

49.8 

99.8 

November 2018 

1,630 

3.6 

11.8 

49.9 

98.9 

November 2019 

1,590 

2.2 

9.7 

51.6 

99.2 

 

GCSE English Language (17-year-olds, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2017 

1,085 

0.3 

1.6 

44.0 

100.0 

November 2018 

910 

0.0 

1.1 

30.8 

100.0 

November 2019 

1,120 

0.3 

2.1 

45.9 

100.0 



GCSE Welsh Language 

GCSE Welsh Language (All students, cumulative percentages) 

Examination Series 

Number sat 

A* 

A*-A 

A*-C 

A*-G 

November 2017 

500 

0.4 

7.8 

52.0 

99.4 

November 2018 

185 

0.0 

3.2 

33.5 

99.5 

November 2019 

275 

1.4 

13.4 

61.6 

99.6 

Overall, the small entry for GCSE Welsh Language makes it difficult to make meaningful comparisons between the results over time 

A summary of the results is available on the WJEC website. 

[1] https://qualificationswales.org/english/publications/provisional-november-2019-gcse-and-level-1level-2-certificates-entries-for-wales/