New 9-1 GCSE Grading System: KEY DIFFERENCES 2018 (+INFOGRAPHIC)

3 years ago



Right now, students across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are cramming hard to prepare for their GCSEs. In case you’re sticking to the good old ways and aren’t going to select an alternative GCSE course, here’s what you MUST know about the major changes in exam grading system. As reported by BBC, the new 9-1 grading system is meant to reflect a more challenging curriculum. As always, the Typical Student team keeps you posted!


New GCSE Grades: Explaining the Key Differences


Compared to the previously used alphabetical grades, the latest grading scheme seems to be more consistent with the rigorous curriculum in English schools. The new grading scale has grades from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest, and 1 the lowest grades, not including U (ungraded). Take a closer look at the chart below:




Now, grades, 9, 8 and 7 correspond to the top grades of A* and A in the previous grading scheme. An extra grade has been added to “give more differentiation at the top end.” With 9 being the top grade of all, it will be awarded for exceptional academic performance only. And, there will be fewer of those compared to A*s awarded before.


What Are Strong Pass and Standard Pass?


In the chart above, there are two pass marks: 4 is for a standard pass and 5 is for a strong pass.

Technically speaking, if a candidate who gets nine 4 grades they’ve reached the passing threshold for all their exams.


However, don’t think your teachers will settle for 5 or 4 as a passing grade! According to BBC, schools will be pushing students for “at least a 5 and most 6th forms will be looking for students with strong passes.”


The New 9-1 GCSEs Are Phased In


The new 9-1 GCSE exams are phased in. “Phased in” means the exams are taken in different subjects each year. For instance, in 2017, students sat in just English language, English literature and math.


In 2018, year 11 students are sitting the 9-1 exams in the following subjects:




In 2019, there’s going to be the new wave of 9-1 exams in:




The final wave of 9-1 GCSEs will be taught from this autumn, with exams in 2020, covering:

ancient languages (biblical Hebrew) and modern foreign languages (Gujarati, Persian, Portuguese, Turkish).


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