Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's about to Become Tougher to Make the Grade

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's about to Become Tougher to Make the Grade

Article excerpt

TEENAGERS across Teesside will find out their exam results later this month.

But this year will see a crucial difference as changes to how results are graded are introduced.

The Department of Education has now produced a guide to explain the changes.

Why are they changing? The GCSE grading scale in England is changing and qualifications have been changed to make them more demanding.

We have done this to ensure the new GCSEs will ensure that pupils leave school better prepared for work or further study.

They cover more challenging content and are designed to match standards in the strongest performing education systems elsewhere in the world. They will have a new 9 to 1 grading scale, to better differentiate between the highest performing pupils and distinguish clearly between the new and old exams.

The government announced its intention to create new gold-standard qualifications in 2013 and has worked with Ofqual to issue a wide range of resources since 2014 to help raise awareness of the new grading scale.

When is this happening? The first exams for the reformed GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths were held in summer 2017, with results in August 2017. Teaching of these new subjects started in September 2015.

The first exams for most other new GCSE subjects will take place in 2018 and 2019 (with courses taught from September 2016 or September 2017).

All GCSE subjects will be revised by 2018 and examined by 2020. Between 2017 and 2019, GCSE exam certificates will have a combination of number and letter grades. By 2020, exam certificates will contain only number grades.

How do they work? A new 9 to 1 grading scale will be used for the new GCSEs to show clearly whether a pupil has taken an old or a new GCSE. The new grading scale has more grades at the higher end to recognise the very highest achievers. Grade 9 is the highest grade and will be awarded to fewer pupils than the current A*.

The Department for Education recognises grade 4 as a 'standard pass'; this is the minimum level that pupils need to reach in English and maths, otherwise they will need to continue to study these subjects as part of their post-16 education. …

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