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Curriculum Changes

Pupils in Y11 in 2018/2019 and beyond 

The A* – G grading system has been replaced with a new 9 point scale in all GCSE subjects, 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest.  A comparison between A*-G grades with the 9-1 point score can be found here. 

The following four measures will be used to judge the academic performance of each student:

  • 9-5 in both English and mathematics
  • Attainment 8
  • Progress 8
  • English Baccalaureate

Top facts about the new GCSEs

1 GCSEs in England have a new 9 to 1 grading scale to better differentiate between the highest performing students and distinguish clearly between the new and old exams.

Click to enlarge

2 Grade 9 is the highest grade and will be awarded to fewer students than the current A* grade.

3 The old and new GCSE grading scales do not directly compare but there are three points where they align, as the diagram shows: 

  •  The bottom of grade 7 is aligned with the bottom of grade A;
  •  The bottom of grade 4 is aligned with the bottom of grade C; 
  •  The bottom of grade 1 is aligned with the bottom of grade G.

4 Although the exams cover more challenging content, this won’t mean your child gets a lower grade than they might have under the old system. Ofqual, the exams regulator, have ensured that broadly the same proportion of students will get grades 1, 4 and 7 and above in any subject as would have got grades G, C or A and above respectively in the old system, other things being equal.

5 The Department for Education recognises grade 4 and above as a ‘standard pass’; this is the minimum level that students need to reach in English (language or literature) and mathematics, otherwise they will need to continue to study these subjects as part of their post-16 education. There is no re-take requirement for other subjects.

6 Employers, universities and colleges will continue to set the GCSE grades they require for

employment or further study. The Department of Education are saying to them that if a grade C is their current minimum requirement, then the nearest equivalent is grade 4. A* to G grades will remain valid for future employment or study.

7 For measuring school performance, the proportion of students achieving a grade 4 and above and

5 and above will also be published. The Department for Education recognises grade 5 and above as a ‘strong pass’, a benchmark in line with the expectations of top performing education systems around the world.

Further details about attainment 8 and progress 8 from the DfE can be found  by clicking here