Exams in reformed English language, English literature and maths GCSEs will be taken for the first time in 2017. These will be graded from 9 to 1, instead of A*to G.
Statistical predictions will be used in 2017 to ensure there is alignment between the new and current grading structures, such that:
- broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above
- broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 7 and above as currently achieve a grade A and above
- broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 1 and above as currently achieve a grade G and above
All other grade boundaries will be set arithmetically, as now. For example, the boundaries at grades 5 and 6 will be set based on the difference in marks between grades 4 and 7; grade 5 will be set at one third of the difference in marks, and grade 6 at two thirds the difference in marks.
The government’s definition of a ‘good pass’ will be set at grade 5 for reformed GCSEs. A grade 4 will continue to be a level 2 achievement. The Department for Education does not expect employers, colleges or universities to raise the bar to a grade 5 if a grade 4 would meet their requirements.
The new grading structure will be applied to other GCSE subjects in 2018 and 2019.