Understanding our new GCSE grading system

Everyone always remembers the day they collected their GCSE results. A sleepless night, worried the world would cave in if results didn’t go to plan, what do I tell my parents?! For me it was the same day as an Oasis album was released. (I won’t disclose my age at this point) and I remember collecting my results…. after I had been into town to by the first copy! 

However, fast forward to 2018, it’s all change!! Soon we will be seeing numbers replacing letters to explain what scores candidates achieved. For employers, (and parents), here’s a guide explaining all you need to know about the new system.

So, what are the new grades?

The new grading scheme is being brought in alongside a new GCSE curriculum in England.

9 is the highest grade, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (ungraded). So you are no longer able to spell F.U.D.G.E with your results! 

Three number grades, 9, 8 and 7, correspond to the old-style top grades of A* and A – this is designed to give more differentiation at the top end.

The exams watchdog, Ofqual, says fewer grade 9s will be awarded than A*s and that anyone who gets a 9 will have “performed exceptionally”.

A 4 is broadly being compared to a C grade, although Ofqual warns against “direct comparisons and overly simplistic descriptions”.

It says that, broadly, the same proportion of teenagers will get a grade four and above as used to get a grade C or above.

Strong pass and standard pass – what’s all that about?

It’s confusing, but there are two pass marks – 4 is a standard pass and 5 is a strong pass.

This means that a candidate who gets nine 4 grades has, technically, passed all their exams.

The new system is here to stay and it’s important to remember, the higher the number, the better the score!

You’ll also never be able to spell the word F.U.D.G.E with results.

Thanks for reading!