Pilot shows using GCSE past papers can boost resit performance


Giving schools access to student’s past exam performance information ahead of retakes can provide a significant boost to outcomes, a pilot scheme has shown.

A pilot across the North West from Pearson looked to provide teachers with exam outcomes in order to tailor teaching to improve the likelihood that a student can pass a GCSE resit.

Trafford College was one of those involved, and said the pilot is important as colleges generally do not have access to past papers in order to assess a student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Principal Lesley Davies revealed that 25 students who achieved a grade C at school were split into three groups to be taught by separate teachers for the pilot.

Meanwhile a control group of students that had a similar profile to the others were also included, although their previous results were not known.

According to predicted grades – full results were not available until 23 August – some 40% of those involved in the pilot were able to improve their grades.

Ms Davies said that improvement of between 10% and 14% was noted when the student’s outcomes were compared to those in the control group.

She explained that teaching staff were able to “individualise much faster”, meaning less teaching time was spent getting to know where students had gaps in their knowledge.

“If this could be rolled out for all awarding bodies and for all students, it would be a real improvement,” she added.

A spokesperson for Pearson revealed that information from the ResultsPlus and Access to Scripts services were made available for the pilot.

“Before we roll out the programme nationally, we are continuing to research ways we can enhance the help we give colleges and post-16 providers to best support their students, and to inform our future post-16 provision,” the spokesperson added.

By understanding the value of past performance, it should be possible to shape education in a way that benefits both students and educational providers.