The system of grading GCSE results in England is set to change.
In a move designed to make it easier for universities and employers to select the brightest pupils, the current A* to G grade pass system will be replaced by a one to nine grading system – with nine being the top grade. With 40% of children achieving an A or A* at present in some subjects, the introduction of one extra grade boundary will allow for greater differentiation a the top end. It is thought that the greater number of possible grades will also alleviate the ‘grade bunching’ that occurs in some subjects – where the vast majority of children attain a B, C or D. The changes will come into effect from September 2015, when students will first be taught English Language, English Literature and Maths to the new structure – and therefore it will be first examined in summer 2017. Other subjects will follow a year later.
This change – which will only apply to England, not Wales and Northern Ireland – is one of a number of reforms announced by Ofqual. These include the scrapping of two-tier papers in all subjects except Maths, the end of coursework for English Language and the end of modular examinations in most subjects. This means that most subjects will be examined at the end of the two year course.