Methodology for GCSE certificates

What we did

The data we needed was readily available from the Department of Education (DfE) who also publish GCSE results every year, this allowed us to instantly rank schools by how many pupils entered for GCSE music achieved high grades in GCSE music (A*-C). This however, doesn’t give us the full picture because there could be more pupils in one school when compared to another, so larger schools would benefit. What we wanted to analyse was the proportion of pupils securing a high grade in GCSE music. Taking this into account we created a measure which looks at attainment and uptake of GCSE music across a school. We took 1) the number of pupils getting an A*-C grade in GCSE music (attainment) and divided it by 2) the total number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 (GCSE age, or age 16) (entries) to get some idea of the place of music in a whole school.

The limits of the research

This data is not in any way definitive. It represents just one way of looking at music in schools and has been designed purely to support schools where a strong tradition of music clearly exists. We do not publish the full dataset, as it could be misunderstood or misused. Likewise, we do not want this to become about ranking schools, so we will only publish the list of the top 58 as a celebration of achievement, although we will share the data with individual schools and music services and music education hubs on request. The data does not measure attainment for schools with fewer than 5 pupils taking GCSE music as this data is not made publicly available (for data protection reasons).

How can music education hubs, music services and schools access their data?

We will share the detailed data with any music education hub, music service or school that requests it. Please contact de[email protected] for more information.

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