The GCSE A* to C move price in Wales has fallen to its lowest degree since 2006, after among the largest adjustments in a long time to the exams system.
The exams regulator stated a rise in 15-year-olds sitting exams early was primarily in charge.
The A* to C move price fell to 62.eight% after it had remained steady at 66.6% for 3 years.
The proportion of the very best A* to A grades additionally dipped to 17.9%, down from 19.four% in 2016.
Wales had warned that an increase in early entries in some subjects was likely to mean lower results.
The Joint Council for (JCQ), which collates examination knowledge for Wales, England and Northern Eire, stated adjustments in entry patterns – significantly for 15-year-olds – and the excessive proportion of pupils who took the 2 new arithmetic GCSEs early in November, had a considerable influence on the outcomes.
Training Secretary Kirsty Williams stated she was “involved” in regards to the excessive variety of pupils being entered early for his or her exams and stated the present scenario was “unsustainable”.
The general A* to G move price was additionally down from 98.7% to 96.9%, however the proportion of the very best A* grades remained at 6.1%.
Whereas the autumn in grades has been linked to the rise in 15-year-olds sitting exams early, the efficiency of 16-year-olds additionally fell by 2.eight% for A* to C grades.
This summer season’s 16-year-olds had been the primary to finish programs in six reformed GCSE examinations.
However Wales stated their efficiency in these exams had both improved or remained steady.
Whereas Welsh pupils had been nonetheless graded A* to G, college students in England obtained new numerical grades for some subjects.
- GCSEs: Passes drop overall amid changes
- The new GCSE grades explained
- First results in new-look maths GCSEs
The brand new GCSEs are in English language, English literature, Welsh language, Welsh literature, arithmetic: numeracy and arithmetic, and the regulator stated it was assured requirements had been maintained.
Arithmetic: numeracy was first examined in November and, by collating knowledge for the 2 arithmetic GCSEs from November and this summer season, the A* to C move price for 16-year-olds was 60% in GCSE arithmetic and 58.5% in arithmetic: numeracy.
The A* to C move price for GCSE arithmetic was down on the earlier yr’s determine of 65.6%.
In English language, the JCQ stated the decrease total outcomes for English language had been defined by the decrease outcomes of the big variety of 15-year-olds entered for the examination.
About 65% of all 12 months 10 college students had been entered for the examination this summer season, however the outcomes for 16-year-olds noticed an enchancment in response to the exams board.
There was additionally a rise in early entries for GCSE Welsh language and outcomes have remained steady for 16-year-olds. Welsh literature noticed a small enchancment in efficiency however a considerable fall in entries.
There was additionally a considerable 44% fall in entries for English literature, however an enchancment in outcomes.
The autumn within the variety of college students taking fashionable languages continued, with a 10.9% drop in entries for French and a 30.eight% discount in German, whereas Spanish noticed a small improve.
The JCQ stated French outcomes had been significantly decrease on the high grades, whereas German outcomes had been up.
It additionally highlighted a pattern in direction of decreased entries in a spread of “elective” topics.
In the meantime, ladies continued to outperform boys with 67.2% of women’ grades at A* to C in contrast with 58.2% for boys.
The hole grew this yr for the A* grade, with a rise within the proportion of the very best grade for women to 7.5% whereas the determine for boys was four.7%.
Talking at Cefn Saeson faculty in Neath, Kirsty Williams stated: “We could be pleased with the best way our pupils and lecturers have dealt with the introduction of those new which can be enjoying a significant position in elevating requirements.”
Ms Williams additionally identified that for 16-year-olds solely, the share attaining A* to C was 66.eight%.
However she stated: “Many of those pupils, who’re taking exams earlier than they’ve accomplished their two years of GCSE examine, haven’t had the chance to succeed in their full potential.
“That is placing pointless strain on pupils, lecturers and likewise places an additional pressure on faculty budgets.
“I’ll reply to Wales’ fast evaluation of this problem after I obtain it in October, however the present scenario is unsustainable and all choices are on the desk.”
Darren Millar AM, the Welsh Conservatives’ shadow schooling secretary, stated there had been a “troubling decline” in attainment.
He additionally known as on Ms Williams to rethink her reform of the colleges curriculum.
“The drop in attainment of grades A* to C and plummet in uptake of contemporary international languages are significantly disturbing, and don’t bode nicely for Wales’ future financial prospects,” Mr Millar stated.
There have been a complete of 334,100 entries for the exams, up from 303,620 final summer season.
Emyr George, from Wales, stated the rise in examination entries was primarily pushed by the additional maths GCSE and the rise in 12 months 10 entries in some topics.
He stated there had been a rise of about 40% in 12 months 10s awarded grades this summer season.
It seems to be the primary motive why the general variety of entries for English language this summer season is about 24,000 greater than final yr at 59,050.
In England, English and maths will probably be graded numerically this yr for the primary time from 9 on the high finish of the size down to 1.
The adjustments make it tougher to check the general efficiency of pupils in numerous elements of the UK.
Scotland has a separate system whereas Northern Eire can also be holding the A* to G grading, though some pupils have been taking numerically graded exams.
However the exams boards have printed all-UK knowledge which supplies cumulative figures for many who achieved A* to C (four to 9 in England) and A*to A (7 to 9 in England).
It reveals that the general move price is steady in comparison with final yr at 98.four%, with slight decreases within the A* to A (20% down from 20.5%) and A* to C (66.three% down from 66.9%).
The regulator says the stay broadly equal throughout the nations.
Mr George stated: “It is fairly a big yr and one we have been making ready for to make sure that these college students taking the brand new in Wales this yr could be assured that they’ve not been unfairly deprived in any manner by being the primary to deal with these .”