More pupils taking GCSEs earlier, says Ofqual
An increasing number of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are taking their GCSEs a year early, says the Ofqual exam regulator.
Almost a quarter of pupils taking GCSE maths this year are under 16.
The watchdog also published figures from the previous year showing tens of thousands of pupils had taken GCSE maths more than once, using different exam boards for the same subject.
Ofqual chief Glenys Stacey warned such "tactics" affect overall GCSE results.
Speaking before this month's GCSE results, Ms Stacey revealed an "emerging picture" of how results might be different this year and the underlying factors.
Lower science grades
Ofqual is responsible for exam standards in England, but the figures published include pupils taking GCSEs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There were more pupils taking GCSEs earlier than the usual 16-year-old age group. In GCSE maths, the number of younger pupils had risen from 18% last year to 23% this year. In English, the proportion of young entries had risen from 8% to 11%.
This allows high-flying pupils to get exams out of the way, but it can also be used as a way of allowing pupils a second chance at an exam, with the option of trying to improve grades the following year.
Read more... (BBC News - 1 August)