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GCSE Results Day 2017: Everything You Need To Know About The New GCSE Grades

The big day is almost here.

21/08/2017 13:53

This week, thousands of nervous teens will tear open their GCSE results - as they have done every August for decades. 

But this GCSE results day - held on August 24 - there will be one big difference to years gone by. 

For the first time, pupils will not only receive traditional A* to G grades, but will also be faced with a handful of numbered grades, ranging from 9 to 1, as part of sweeping government reforms to GCSEs. 

But what do the new GCSE grades mean and why have they been introduced? 

Here’s HuffPost UK’s guide to everything you need to know this GCSE results day.  

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This GCSE results day will mark the introduction of 9 -1 grades 

What are the new GCSE grades? 

The new 9 to 1 GCSE grades have been introduced as part of wider reform to GCSE qualifications. 

The government has overhauled GCSE courses, designing them to “match standards in the strongest performing education systems elsewhere in the world”. 

These new, more challenging GCSEs will see students cover new content and take all of their exams at the end of the two year course, with modular exams scrapped under the changes. 

Traditional A* to G grades have also been ditched under the reforms. Instead, pupils will be marked on a new 9 to 1 grading scale, with 9 ranked as the highest grade. 

According to officials, grade 4 will act as a “standard pass” - the minimum level that pupils need to reach in English and Maths. This roughly compares to a ‘traditional’ grade C. 

If students do not achieve a grade 4 in English and Maths, they will need to continue to study these subjects as part of their post-16 education. 

While the new number scale does not exactly match up with the old A* to G system, a grade 7 roughly aligns with a grade A and a grade 1 roughly compares with a grade G. 

More grades have been added to the higher end of the grading scale to “recognise the very highest achievers”. It is believed that fewer pupils will be awarded a grade 9 than currently receive A* grades. 

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The new grades will help 'challenge' top performing students, says the government 

Which subjects are affected?

This year, GCSE students will only receive 9 to 1 grades for English Language, English Literature and Maths exams. 

However, traditional letter grades will be completely phased out over the next three years, with only number grades used on GCSE exam certificates by 2020. 

Why have the new GCSEs been introduced?

According to the government, the new GCSEs - which are meant to be more rigorous and demanding - have been introduced in attempt to help pupils leave school “better prepared for work or further study”. 

Meanwhile, officials say that the wider-ranging 9 to 1 grading scale will allow the highest-performing students to shine. 

Are the changes being rolled out across the UK?  

These changes are only taking place in England. While Northern Ireland and Wales are also reforming their GCSEs, they will not be introducing the new 9 to 1 grades. 

Are A Level grades changing too?

No - A Levels will continue to be graded using the traditional A* to E system.

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