As GCSE Results Day looms, you may be approached by learners who are confused by the grading scale that was introduced last year, or learners who didn’t achieve as well as they may have hoped.

The traditional GCSE grade scale of A*-G will be phased out and replaced by 9-1 grading. In August 2017, the new grading system came into play for maths and English. This year, more subjects have been added, with the phasing in process aimed to be complete for Summer 2020.

The below diagram from Ofqual shows the subjects that will be graded 9-1 for 2018:

The introduction of the grading scale is to inject more rigour into the examination system, and to allow for more differentiation among the highest achievers.

What do the new GCSE grades mean?

There is bound to be some confusion over which GCSE grades are equivalent to the old grades, especially as there is no direct comparison between the new 9-1 grades and the old A* – G grades.

For example, the top grade of A* is now covered by grades 8 and 9. And the benchmark for a “standard” pass, previously considered to be grade C and above, will now be grade 4 and above – although the Association of Colleges (AoC) has raised concerns that “some organisations and companies could look to raise this to a grade 5 “strong pass” to show their rigour.”

The Department for Education has outlined that they expect broadly the same proportion of students to get a grade 4 or above as would have got a grade C or above in the old system, at least for the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced.

Below is a diagram of the new grading structure, and grade equivalences:

For further details about the GCSE Grading scale, take a look at Ofqual’s brief guide.

Helping learners make the grades

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Our bite-sized process means we have broken the content of the curriculum down into small, coherent units with assessments that are flexible and robust. This means you can offer learners a progressive route through a staged process and identify specific needs and apply certain rewards throughout the learners’ journey.

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