GCSEs 2017: The new results system explained

PUBLISHED: 11:18 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:56 24 August 2017

GCSE results explained. Photo: THINKSTOCK

GCSE results explained. Photo: THINKSTOCK

© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

This summer GCSE students in Herts will have to decipher a mix of letters and numbers in their results.

Their results day marks the beginning of the end for the familiar A* to G grades.

Over the next three years, the grades will be replaced entirely with a scale numbered nine to one - with nine the highest result, and one the lowest.

But for this year, just a handful of subjects will be switched over, meaning some students will forever boast a CV with an A* in geography and an 8 in maths.

Students in this year 11 sitting English language, English literature and maths will be the first to notice the changes.

For most other subjects, including sciences, the new grades will come into force in 2018, while some subjects, such as psychology and business, will go unaffected until 2019.

So the next two GCSE cohorts will have a mix of letters and numbers.

Put simply, nines, eights and sevens will be broadly the same as current A*s and As.

The middle grades, sixes, fives and fours, will be in line with B and C grades.

Twos and ones will be equivalent to grades E, F and G.

There is still a U (ungraded) mark.

When the plans were first announced in 2013, by the then education secretary Michael Gove, the government said it would more clearly differentiate between students of different abilities, especially among higher achieving students.

It is hoped the new system will create a gold standard qualification.

The Department for Education (DfE) said: “The new GCSEs will provide more rigorous content and the new grading system provides greater stretch for the highest performers, by showing greater distinction between the top marks.

“Nothing has changed with regard to schools being held to account for the proportion of children achieving a strong pass, and we are working with [exams regulator] Ofqual to support teachers as we implement the new system.”

Ofqual, which has largely driven the changes, has said fewer nines will be handed out than A*s. So in theory, it should make landing those top marks more challenging.

It has said a formula will be used, which will mean 20 per cent of all sevens and above will be awarded a grade nine.

On the whole, though, the body says, the same number of students that currently get Cs and above will secure a four and above, so exams overall should not be more difficult.

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