The governments 2022 plan for grading - what does it mean for GCSE computer science?

11 October 2021

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi recently announced that GCSE and A level grades in England will return to pre-pandemic levels over the next two years. So what does this mean for GCSE computer science?

Over the years, there have been several reports identifying the difficulty of the subject. In 2018, FFT Education Datalab found that GCSE computer science students were likely to achieve nearly one GCSE grade lower than their English and Maths results.

More recently, the overall percentage of GCSE students achieving a grade 4/C has increased significantly, from 69.9% in 2019 to 79.1% in 2021. Moreover, the biggest increase was in computer science, where the percentage of students achieving a grade 4+ increased by 19.8% over the same period.

Whether you’re a subject leader, established teacher or starting your career, the return to terminal examinations will present a new set of challenges. As outcomes may look different as we move away from Centre Assessed Grades, preparation is key to giving students the best chance of success.  

At the National Centre for Computing Education, we’ve developed a range of free CPD and assessment tools underpinned by evidence, supporting you and your students to achieve maximum potential. Here are a few suggestions to help you and your students get ready for the return of examinations in summer 2022:

  • Subject knowledge is key!

Evidence tells us that teacher subject knowledge is vital to student achievement. Our Subject Knowledge Certificate will build your subject knowledge and confidence across the curriculum and offers which courses can be accessed face-to-face, through live remote sessions and online.

  • Higher attainment in GCSE computer science - meeting the challenges of the exams

Whether you have experience with terminal exams or not, it might be time to refresh your knowledge of how best to approach them.  Find out about retrieval practice, iterative learning and how to support students with complex questions on this course available face-to-face or as live remotely delivered sessions.

  • Subject knowledge assessments

Evaluate your students’ knowledge with our free, online, self-marking assessments. Each topic includes a pre and post-teaching multiple-choice assessment to track progress and inform interventions.

About the author

Simon Roberts, Secondary Computing Specialist, STEM Learning