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GCSE new grading system?


New GCSEs in English language, English literature and Maths were launched in September 2015 in schools in England, with the first qualifications due to be awarded in August 2017. Courses will be taken over the full two years, rather than by modular assessment.

One of the main differences with these GCSEs will be the grading system. No longer will these qualifications be graded A/B/C, students will - in 2017 - receive a grade between 1-9, with 9 being the highest grade awarded.

It is thought that roughly the same number of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above, while the top 20 per cent of those who get a grade 7 and above, will get a grade 9.

Grade 5 - equivalent to a low B or high C - will be the new benchmark for a "good pass" required by league tables, where currently the required grade is C. This, the Government says, will bring the country in line with some of the top performing education systems around the world.

In 2017, students collecting their results will received a mixture of the old style grades and the new numerical system. By 2019, all pupils will be graded with a 1-9. 


What will the new GCSEs entail?

Maths: From September 2015, pupils will be expected to learn key formulae by heart, while the syllabus will also cover proportion, ratio and "real-world problems" including financial mathematics.

There will also be a greater emphasis on non-calculator work.

English language: Students will be required to read a greater range of challenging literature and non-fiction texts from a variety of genres and time periods - with reading and writing being equally weighted in the overall grades. There will be greater emphasis on the correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

English literature: While no longer compulsory, pupils who take the subject will have to assess a 19th century novel, a Shakespeare play, a selection of poetry since 1789 and a British fiction or drama from 1914 onwards. There will also be emphasis on 'unseen texts' in the exam.


Are these changes going to continue?

English literature, English language and Maths were simply the first new GCSEs to be introduced. Biology, chemistry, physics, modern foreign languages, history and geography - among others - will be launched in September 2016.

In September 2017, it will be the turn of economics, psychology, sociology and design and technology.


See also: GCSE reforms: goodbye to ABC grades as Progress 8 becomes a key league table measure.


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