Who gets A* in GCSE Maths? One-quarter of Chinese pupils, one percent of pupils on free school meals

Author: Ramesh Kapadia

Students taking exams.

Image by Whitecirius/Wikimedia.

TV presenter Carol Vorderman this week suggested that GCSE maths teaching should be split into two, according to pupils’ interest in the subject and how much they might actually use it in later life. "In my view” she said, “it is pointless for most 14-year-olds starting their GCSE courses to be force-fed mathematical topics which they will never use, when what they desperately need is to become more comfortable with numbers including percentages and fractions used in the world of finance."

Which raises the question: how do different pupils fare in GCSE maths exams?

Recent data shows much variation between ethnic groups in terms of GCSE attainment in mathematics, as shown by the table reproduced below. Overall, about one twentieth (5%) of pupils get an A* grade at GCSE, one sixth (16%) get A* or A, while just under three fifths (56%) of pupils get a higher grade (A*C) at GCSE mathematics. The highest performing ethnic groups by this measure are from Chinese (25%, 53%, and 88% respectively) and Indian (11%, 31%, and 76%) backgrounds. Pupils on free school meals (1%, 5%, and 35% respectively) perform much less well, which is in line with other measures. It is also of interest to note that about 8% of all pupils are not entered for GCSE mathematics, whilst only 1% of Chinese and Indian pupils are not entered.

The performance of Chinese pupils is particularly high, with a quarter of them getting A* in mathematics and almost nine tenths a higher grade, and virtually all are entered for GCSE mathematics. The reasons for this are not clear but may be similar to the reasons for their high educational achievement overall. This has been linked to high expectations amongst the Chinese community, as well as the fact that many come from Singapore or Hong Kong, where there is a culture which is strongly supportive of the value of education.

Similar reasons may apply to the achievement of Indians, who form a much larger and more diverse group than the Chinese. Indians do well, with a tenth getting grade A* and three-quarters reaching the national benchmark in mathematics.

In both Chinese and Indian communities, mathematics is seen as especially important.

Pupils on free school meals also do badly on this measure: only one in hundred get at least A* grade and one in twenty get A* or A in mathematics; just over a third get a higher grade.

Source: from NPD , DfE

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How is it possible to calculate my GCSE grade based on my overall average percentage?

For example, lets say that a pupil has got 80% as his average mark. now what is his GCSE grade.
Please help me crack this...

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i would like to get A* in maths  but i don't know what percentage is that from higher paper 

I`m studying the Higher Tier GCSE Mathematics Course, sitting my Exam in June. I`ve sat a few Past Papers. The lowest score I achieved was 79%. The highest was 86%. But I want 100%. I need to work harder, but that`s just me. I want to be able to understand and read Maths at University, so being able to understand 80% of GCSE Maths is just not good enough.

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According to the 2012 January higher paper, a person needs to achieve 144 marks out of 200 to receive an A*. I myself was in year 10 and was entered early and I got 131/200 which works out to be an A. There are rumours spreading around that the C grade has rose 20 marks higher but the A* seem more or less unaffected. The Exam boards tend to raise boundaries as they please however when it comes to the A*, so that they reduce the number of capable candidates in the country.

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i would like to get A* in maths  but i don't know what percentage is that from higher paper 

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