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The Learning Curve

2023 Results Deep Dive: A hugely impressive, and unique, year for students
  • Secondary Matters

This year was the year that the British education system returned, as promised, to pre-covid, 2019 standards of marking and assessment. The past three years witnessed many changes to (I)GCSEs and A Levels. Students’ exam papers, course content, grade boundaries, need to submit coursework and/or sit formal assessments were manipulated by the exam boards in order to counteract the impact of the pandemic. 

In schools around the world, the immediate impact was that ‘grade inflation’ was witnessed at both IGCSE and A Levels. You may know that centre-assessed grades contributed here, which is not to say that those results are somehow invalid or unreliable. Rather, and put simply: the means of assessment impacts outcomes. This is an age-old and continually relevant conversation to be a part of, not least in the era of AI, but also in a post-pandemic educational environment.

Exams offer a specific challenge. Retention of large bodies of knowledge, retrieval of relevant information under the pressure of time, space, uncertainty, along with the need to pivot your understanding to a particular prompt at that moment raises stakes higher than in-class assessment. We all have views on this but there is truth in the view of well-respected educationalist Tom Bennett’s that “exams are the least unfair method of assessing students”. 

At Mougins School, our students’ results are vital to our commitment to continual development as teachers. As we do each and every year, dialogue begins immediately as results are released and carries on taking place across the year about how best to reach the needs of each of our individual students. It is a longer and longer process each year, too, as we await the outcome of remarks etc. 

There are, however, perhaps three main foci that are worth consideration: 

  • Comparative analysis: what is the exam performance of MBIS students like in comparison to schools, countries, previous years’ attainment etc. 

  • Individual analysis: what does each individual student’s attainment say about how well they have done according to their unique context, aptitude etc. 

  • Learning and Teaching analysis: what questions the results raise about curriculum, specifications, teaching resources, tracking, pedagogical approaches etc. 

Each of these perspectives matter for different yet connected reasons. Each of these areas provoke complex and important conversations. And each academic department in school is driven by the commitment to ensuring that we do our utmost to bring out the very best in our students. 

This year, we have yet again been extremely proud of our students’ attainments and achievements. You can find our infographic at the end of the article. They tell a story, of course. There are so many individual narratives of hard work, resilience, and determination in there. And there are also some students who will return this year and redouble efforts to reach their individual goals. As ever, we will be supporting their journeys as fully as possible. 

One metric that really matters, though, is the number of students who headed off to their chosen courses and universities this month. In other words, do our students get to where they want to go? The list of destinations our students are off to is, once again, outstanding and worth touching on briefly here: 

Oxford University 
University of Pennsylvania
Bath University
St. Andrews 
University College Amsterdam
Imperial College London
Purdue University
Concordia University
University College, Berkeley 
…and 35 other outstanding destinations.

Equally impressive is the range of courses our students excel in: medicine, sport, management, literature, economics, engineering, film production, computer science, psychology, architecture, mathematics, musical theatre, economics, design management, neuroscience, liberal arts, politics, modern history, marketing and so many more. 

Our congratulations to all of our exam students, whether they’re moving forward to higher education, moving into final moments of their school lives with renewed focus, or those about to begin their two year A Level courses. 

They are working with teachers who have the expertise, experience, care, and reflective attention to detail that ensures we can support our students as far as their individual talents and efforts can take them. 

ICGSE success at Mougins school, academic results
A level success 2023
Mougins School university acceptance
  • Secondary