Student Performance Analysis

A-level Subject comparisons within school

Sample A-level school

Subject                    Subject   Group   Diff.   GCSE    Group
                           grade     grade           mean     size

BIOLOGY                     79.23    61.04  18.19    5.36      26
PHYSICS                     46.67    56.98 -10.31    5.60      18
GERMAN                     100.00    96.67   3.33    5.67       2
MATHS                       54.55    58.18  -3.64    5.74      11
FURTHER MATHS               66.67    83.64 -16.97    6.23       3
PURE MATHS                   0.00    51.43 -51.43    6.17       2
PURE MATHS + STATS          25.45    45.88 -20.43    5.27      11
HISTORY                     60.00    56.25   0.35    5.11      17
LATIN                       50.00    80.67 -36.67    6.33       2
ANCIENT HISTORY             54.55    49.03   5.51    4.88      11
ART                          4.44    32.50 -28.06    4.98       9
GRAPHICAL COMMUNICATIONS    60.00    28.24  31.76    4.82       5
FRENCH                      40.00    51.00 -11.00    5.55       7
ECONOMICS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS  44.71    58.78 -14.07    5.39      17
ENGLISH                     83.57    69.75  13.82    5.24      28
GEOGRAPHY                   52.50    58.63  -6.13    5.39      24
BUSINESS STUDIES            59.13    52.92   6.21    5.07      23
CHEMISTRY                   69.00    72.33  -0.33    5.83      20
HOME ECONOMICS               0.00     0.00   0.00    4.78       1
GENERAL STUDIES             20.00    42.86 -22.86    4.71       2

This table shows each subject, the "Subject grade", its average (mean) grade achieved by the pupils doing the subject,
the "Group grade"is the average grade achieved by those same pupils but in all the subjects they entered,
the difference ("Diff.") between the two last figures,
the "GCSE mean" which is the indicator of ability for the subject group and is the average of all their GCSE grades.
The final column gives the number of pupils who actually sat the particular subject.

This is a very useful table for one can see at a glance the average grade achieved in all the subjects sat. The group grade gives an indication of the ability of the students sitting each subject judged by their actual performance in these particular examinations. The differential shows how each subject fared with the pupils who studied it compared to the other subjects those particular pupils sat.

The GCSE mean score gives a measure of the ability of the pupils who sat a particular subject.

The above analysis sheet is also available for girls and boys separately.

Things to consider
Do not expect the column of differences to add up to zero: it will not, for each group of students sitting a particular subject will sit a different range of subjects according to the options scheme in place.

Beware making an assumption about a particular subject's performance until you have checked on the numbers sitting it. Very small numbers in a subject can lead to distorted performance figures.

Some subjects are simply harder than others, therefore it is unfair to criticize them in comparison to a subject that is less difficult. It is better to look at trends over a number of years to see if a particular year's results are aberrant and then search for reasons eg. change in syllabus, different teachers, smaller numbers in the group etcetera.

By becoming involved in a consortium approach to the analysis of examination results, it is possible to compare your own school's figures, as per this table, with those of other schools. It then very quickly becomes apparent which subjects are harder than others and performance of a department can be judged in relation to the same subject area in other schools with similar ability groupings.

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