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What does the new GCSE grading system mean?

Exams in reformed English Language, English Literature and Maths GCSEs will be taken for the first time in 2017. These will be graded from 9 to 1, instead of A* to G.

Statistical predictions will be used in 2017 to ensure there is alignment between the new and current grading structures, such that;

  • broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above.
  • broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 7 and above as currently achieve a grade A and above.
  • broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 1 and above as currently achieve a grade G and above.

All other grade boundaries will be set arithmetically, as now. For example, the boundaries at grades 5 and 6 will be set based on the difference in marks between grades 4 and 7; grade 5 will be set at one third of the difference in marks, and grade 6 at two thirds the difference in marks.

The government's definition of a 'good pass' will be set at grade 5 for reformed GCSEs. A grade 4 will continue to be a level 2 achievement. The Department for Education does not expect employers, colleges or universities to raise the bar to a grade 5 if a grade 4 would meet their requirements.

The new grading structure will be applied to other GCSE subjects in 2018 and 2019.

Postcard_-_Grading_New_GCSEs.pdf 534KB Ofqual - Grading New GCSEs From 2017
SSAT – What the new GCSEs mean- a guide for parents and carers.pdf 205KB What the new GCSEs mean - a guide for parents and carers
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