The Society has scrutinised this year’s GCSE results and has identified the following trends:
Art and design has seen a nominal increase from 175,792 to 178,891 completions. As a percentage of the total GCSEs sat, art and design GCSE remains very low at 3.3% (in 2017 this figure was 3.2%). Despite this nominal increase, both the total number and percentage of art and design subjects sat, remain one of the lowest sets of data recorded for our subject this century. Since 2010 there has been a 5% fall in numbers taking art and design. In 2000 the total number of art and design subjects sat was 209,549.
Art and design goes from being ranked the eighth to the ninth overall most popular subject, with some Ebacc subjects seeing an increase in their ranking. All other arts subjects have seen a fall in GCSE completions; D&T has seen a 24% decrease in the last year.
Gender and participation
There has not been a change or any improvement in the ratio of males to females (1:2) taking the exam and in this regard, art and design is ranked fifth worst performing subject.
Gender and achievement
As indicated by JCQ: ‘Comparisons between year‐on‐year outcomes are made more difficult during time of reform.’ This year there are a wide range of differences in the way England, Northern Ireland and Wales are reporting on attainment, with A-G and numerical grades both being used.
At grade C/4, 61.7% of male students and 81.8 percent of female students achieved this grade. In 2017, 63% and boys and 81.7 percent of girls achieved the same grade. With a difference of 18.7% (2017) and 20.1% this year, we can see that the gender achievement gap has continued to increase.
In order to include all three nations, and for the purpose of comparison (from 2017 onwards), NSEAD is using JCQ’s data for A/7 and c/4 grade descriptors. Previously NSEAD used A* and C grade descriptors.
From this data the gender divide between boys and girls has not improved. In 2017 the cumulative percentage for male and female students who achieved A/level 7 was 13.2% and 28.5% respectively, a difference of 15.3%. This year the male female divide or difference has grown to 15.8% with 12.2% of male students achieving an A/7+ and 28.0 of females achieving the same grade
Commenting on the GCSE results, Lesley Butterworth, general secretary, NSEAD said:
'This suite of trends gives us a health check on our subject and, whilst the fall in art and design GCSE completions has been halted this year, in July the DfE reported a fall in hours taught in our subject by an also decreasing cohort of art and design teachers.
In the face of the continued pressure on schools to comply with the corrosive and limiting EBacc accountability measure, we must congratulate art, craft and design teachers and lecturers with achieving not only these valuable results but also in enabling young people to choose our subject in the first place. Encouraged as we are by these results we are aware that an entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum continues to be eroded across all phases and we will continue to challenge government policy within this context.'
This NSEAD report and tables can be downloaded here
JCQ data and full results can be read here
JCQ charts by gender and region can be see here
Read the CLA report on the decrease in all other arts subjects here