EDUCATION : GCSE retakes are often wasted

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The Independent Online
The vast majority of school-leavers who turn to further education colleges to retake GCSEs still fail to achieve even four exam passes on their second attempt, new figures reveal. A report on GCSE courses in sixth form and general FE colleges suggests that, for many students, resits do no more than reinforce a sense of failure and decrease motivation.

The study, by the colleges' inspection body, uncovers a high drop-out rate on retake courses, as well as poor results and low attendance. In 1994-5, the latest year for which figures are available, fewer than one in ten 16-19-year-old students attempting five GCSE retakes passed them all, and more than a fifth passed none at all.

The inspectors say taking general vocational qualifications instead of re-attempting GSCEs may hold the key to breaking the pattern of failure. Lucy Ward