Like us, the new grading system for GCSEs need to be understood by Employers when recruiting and hiring from now on. So why has the Government made these changes? Officials from the Department for Education confirm that the new GCSEs are “more challenging and demanding, covering more content than in previous years, so when pupils leave school they are better prepared for work or further study.” The Government also states they want to match school standards to those of the strongest performing education systems in the world – such as Hong Kong and Shanghai.
How do they work?
The grading scale has more grades at the higher end to recognize the very highest achievers. Subjects are graded from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade, rather than A*-G. New GCSEs are marked at the end of the two-year course, being more linear in structure rather than modular based.
9 to 1 grading scale will be used for the new GCSEs to show clearly whether a pupil has taken an old or a new GCSE. The highest grade is 9, and will be awarded to fewer pupils than the current A*. Grade 4 is a ‘standard pass’ which is the minimum level that pupils need to reach in English and Math’s (previously a ‘C’). If pupils fail to achieve a grade 4 or higher, they will need to continue to study these subjects as part of their post-16 education.
Do the two grading scales directly compare?
No, however, there are three points where they do align:
- The bottom of grade 7 is aligned with the bottom of grade A;
- The bottom of grade 4 is aligned with the bottom of grade C; and
- The bottom of grade 1 is aligned with the bottom of grade G.
In theory, a child who would have achieved a C or above in last years exams would gain the equivalent of a 4 or above if taking the exams this year.
Only the very top students will achieve a grade 9 – set at an even higher level than the previous A* grades.
- The first exams for the reformed GCSEs in English language, English literature and Math’s were held in summer 2017, results in August 2017.
- The first exams for most other new GCSE subjects will take place in 2018 and 2019 (with courses taught from September 2016 or September 2017).
- All GCSE subjects will be revised by 2018 and examined by 2020.
- Between 2017 and 2019, GCSE exam certificates will have a combination of number and letter grades. By 2020, exam certificates will contain only number grades.