This is the first summer where kids all across the country will be receiving the new GCSE number grades instead of the traditional letter scores – but what do these new grades actually mean? Here’s how to decode the modernised system.
First it was O-Levels, then we got used to the A*-U letter scores, and now a whole new grading method is being rolled out across the U.K! Later this month, teens will be opening those ominous brown envelopes and seeing a whole new score on the paper. It’s the end of A*’s as we know it!
What do the new grades mean?
The new system is numerical, starting at a 1 and going up to a 9. The higher the number, the better the grade.
Although the numerical grades don’t have a direct equivalent in the old alphabetical system, a 9 is similar to an A* and a 1 is around the level of a U.
A 7 is similar to an A grade and 6 is at the same level as an old B.
Scoring a 4 or a 5 is like getting a C, however a 5 is a “strong pass” and a 4 is a “standard pass”.
Similarly to how students had to score a minimum of a C grade in Maths and English, they must now attain a minimum of a 4 in those subjects. If they score lower, they will have to re-sit the exams during their A-Levels or other post-16 qualifications.
Which subjects will have this grading system?
The 2017 results will only see Maths and English be scored with this new grading system, every other subject will have the alphabetical A*-U grading. Students across the country have been preparing for this new system since September 2015, so they’re certainly ready for the change!
What’s to come?
All GCSE’s will be moving to this new grading system over the next few years. Between 2017 and 2019, results certificates will have a combination of the new and old system, then from 2020, all results will be in the new numerical style.
The change comes after the Department for Education branded current examinations too easy and want to make exams “more demanding”.
The new examination method being introduced will eventually see coursework and early modular exams being replaced by one set of exams at the end of two years.
What do you think about this change?