Analysis of the trends in early entry at GCSE

The following paper aims to outline the trends in early entry to GCSE over recent years, drawing upon data available in the literature and reporting on an analysis of all awarding body data from 2007 to 2011. The analysis summarises the trends in early entry for a number of subjects by considering the number of students who enter early and how this has changed over time, before providing a more detailed analysis for the subjects where early entry is most prevalent: specifically, GCSE English and mathematics. This analysis explores the type of students that enter early in terms of their prior attainment, their tier of entry and the type and characteristics of the schools that they attend. Furthermore, it investigates the performance of students who enter early and how this has changed over time, as well as comparing the performance of students that enter early with the performance of older students with the same prior attainment. The first section provides an overview of the key trends in early entry that have been reported in the literature and the perceived limitations of these findings, before discussing how the current analysis aims to build upon and extend previous reports. The literature concerning early entry is currently fairly limited, meaning that the following section is restricted to the discussion of a small number of published reports.

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