Exam Results 2020
Many congratulations to the students of 2020 for a very good set of GCSE results. We are delighted that all of them achieved the grades they needed to enrol at one of their sixth form college or school choices to do A level or other courses.
This was of course, a most unusual year. GCSE grades were awarded by the examination boards on the basis of centre (teacher) assessed grades or the results of the algorithm, whichever was the highest. The teaching staff at CFS devoted a great deal of time and thought to arriving at grades which we felt were a fair reflection of what this cohort of students could reasonably have been expected to achieve had they sat their exams.
Our performance analysis
To reduce distortions from anomalous results, this performance analysis is based on the CAGs (Centre Assessed Grades), which we consider may be more accurate than the final grades awarded by the exam boards. When faced with borderline students (eg. 4 / 5), CFS teachers (like many others across the country) tended to give individual students the benefit of the doubt, even though that means that at a cohort level the grades are slightly higher than might have been the case if the students had sat exams. In spite of that proviso, we are confident that the CAGS are largely accurate, as they follow the pattern we would have expected based on this cohort’s 2019 GCSE RS exam results.
Progress against school targets
We measure progress by using the CAT tests taken in Y8 to provide an initial baseline indicator of cognitive abilities and predicted GCSE grades. These predictors are occasionally calibrated using other relevant data to give a school Minimum Expected Grade (MEG).
Our analysis of progress against school targets shows that 95% of students were predicted by teachers to achieve at or above the levels that would have been predicted from their baseline test results overall - higher than last year’s cohort where 78% did so. Using this internal measure, our overall progress score this year was 1.24, compared with 0.93 in 2019 and 0.40 in 2018. This means that on average students achieved one and a quarter grades higher than their MEGs in their eight best GCSE subjects.
Analysing our results against the students’ original CAT scores, this showed a progress score of 1.38 compared with 0.81 in 2019. The higher levels of improvement over the CAT scores is largely due to students with EAL making strong progress in their English skills, thanks to effective weekly English Language support lessons.
In individual subject areas, there have been ongoing improvements in performance although, as before, some caution should be exercised when considering the figures due to this year’s progress being reported on the basis of teacher predictions and not actual exams. We have seen in the past that actual exam results can sometimes diverge from teacher predictions (both up and down). The table shows subjects provided through the school both in core and flexi-ed contexts. Parent-funded flexi-ed subjects are not included, although all pupils achieved at or above their MEGs in these.
Students performing at or above their target grade (MEG) * = cohorts of 1 or 2 students
|Biology * 2020 & 2019||100%||0%||100%||-|
|Chemistry *2020 & 2019||100%||0%||75%||-|
|Physics *2020 & 2019||100%||0%||100%||-|
|PE (Full) *||100%||0%||100%||-|
|Art * 2019||89%||100%||60%||-|
A key point to note is the continued improvement in the PE (Short Course) results. Other variations are not statistically significant due to the size of cohorts and the impact that just one under or over achieving student can have. The impact of cohort size also masks the progress made in Art in terms of the numbers achieving above their target grade - nearly half, compared with none last year.
Attainment 8 score
Our Attainment 8 score (based on the best eight GCSE grades) remained stable at 69.7. Our Attainment 8 score in 2019 was 69.8 - our highest ever - and a score that saw us ranked highest in Liverpool’s non-selective schools (2nd overall), 8.6 points above the next school. For comparison our Attainment 8 score in 2018 was 59.3, when we were ranked third of the Liverpool non-selectives (4th overall). We are therefore delighted our high level of achievement is being maintained, although we are not surprised given the strong work ethic of this year’s cohort.
82% of our students achieved strong passes (5 or above) in English and Maths compared with 100% last year, but comparable with 83% in 2018, which had a similar ability spread to this year’s cohort.
This year fewer students were entered for the eBacc suite of subjects (two sciences, a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) and a Humanities subject, in addition to English and Maths) - 76% as opposed to 88% and 83% in the two preceding years. This decision was mainly made to reduce the number of subjects for students who (for varying reasons) needed more time to focus on the key GCSEs required for progression, including the chance to pursue interests in the creative arts. Even so, our average EBacc point score was 6.9, comparable with last year’s 6.8 and up from 5.93 in 2018. Once again, there were particularly strong performances in English, Maths and Science, with average scores of 6.9, 7.6 and 7.0 respectively. Last year’s performance was the highest average point score in non-selective schools in Liverpool, so we are confident that with a similar outcome this year, our students are well set up for the next stage of their education.
All core subjects (% with passes at Grade Grade 4/5 or higher)
In analysing our performance in the core subjects, we note that each year’s cohort is numerically small compared to most other schools, meaning that one pupil can make a significant difference of up to seven percentage points. Also cohorts can change significantly from year to year in terms of whether they are biased towards academic subjects or towards creative and practical subjects. This makes year on year comparisons less valid than in schools where students numbers are greater and the cohort profiles less variable. The figures marked with an asterisk are based on the percentage of students who studied the subject.
||Grade 4 or higher||Grade 5 or higher|
We are pleased that students who chose to add extra flexi-ed GCSEs to the core programme did well: Art (half a grade higher on average than in 2019), Economics (same level of achievement as 2019) , Design and Technology (new subject) and full course PE. For the first time we also entered students for GCSE Spanish and GCSE Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese). For some this alternative MFL was their first language, for others it was a new or “rusty” language; all these alternative MFL students achieved at or above their target grade.
Functional Skills (FS) ICT
Due to lockdown, it was not possible for the whole cohort to sit the FS ICT exams, so data has not been included this year. This is the last year group that will be entered for the exam as we’re moving to a broader ICT qualification more relevant to pupils’ needs and interests.
Performance Arts (Trinity)
Two students studied for the Trinity Performing Arts Grade 6 qualification, both gaining a Merit award. Trinity Grade 6 is regarded as a Level 3 qualification; GCSEs are Level 2 qualifications.
This qualification is not counted in the KS4 performance tables but is a valuable qualification for those considering a career in the performing arts.
We are thankful to God for the excellent work ethic that prevailed in this cohort. Students had demonstrated before lockdown a high level of achievement and this enabled us to have confidence in making our predictions. We are enormously proud of the way the students handled themselves in the most trying of circumstances of this year, with many maintaining their studies to prepare for the next stage, and some coming into school to provide cleaning services that enabled us to open in June to a wider group of children. We wish them the very best as they move on to new challenges and opportunities. We gratefully acknowledge the crucial role played by the love and prayers of the parents and the rest of the school community, in supporting the students throughout their time in CFS.
Y10 Religious Studies GCSE
We made the decision to enter this year’s Y10 for calculated grades in GCSE Religious Studies rather than require the students to sit the RS exam in November or to sit the GCSE in June 2021. This was to enable us to deliver the full Christian Life Studies programme (which is a core element of our distinctive offering in Y11) without taking curriculum time to revise for Religious Studies.
Our teacher predicted grades for Y10 GCSE RS show that of those that were due to sit the exam (13 students), 59% achieved at grade 9, comparable with last year’s cohort, where 56% achieved Grade 9. This year the spread of grades was wider, reflecting the wider ability range in the class as a whole, with some students predicted a Grade 4, whereas last year there were no students below Grade 6.