Students prove GCSE predictions wrong, despite a fall in the number of top grades

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25th August 2017 17:46 - Education

Students prove GCSE predictions wrong, despite a fall in the number of top grades: Though there has been a decline in the number of students achieving A*-C grades, roughly 51,000 grade 9s were awarded across three core subjects.

Amongst other subjects, English Literature, English Language and Maths are the three core subjects that have adapted to the new GCSE grading system in 2017; with results now registered from 9 to 1, instead of A*- G. Students prove GCSE predictions wrong, despite fall in the number of top grades

Introduced by former Education Secretary, Michael Gove, the three subjects have changed their style of papers and marking schemes to help identify the “brightest of pupils” - according to the spokespeople for The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and the Department for Education (DfE).

Despite exam boards expecting “a few hundred students” to receive grade 9 results, yesterday GCSE pupils surpassed this prediction.

This year, 2,000 pupils in England received grade 9s across the GCSE board; with the girls contributing to two thirds of this result.

Around two per cent of pupils were expected to achieve a grade 9 in English and three per cent in Maths. However, yesterday’s results revealed that 3.3 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 9 in English Literature, 2.6 per cent in English Language and 3.5 per cent in Maths. 

Last year 6,500 pupils were awarded straight A*s, however the A* classification has now been split into two. This means that a grade 9 is equivalent to a high-end A*, and a grade 8 is classified as a low-end A*.

Furthermore, the new grading system translates as:

  • Grade 9 = Strong A*
  • Grade 8 = Standard A*
  • Grade 7 = A
  • Grade 6 = B
  • Grade 5 = Strong C
  • Grade 4 = Standard C
  • Grades 3 - 2 = D, E, F
  • Grade 1 = G

Yet, questions have risen with regards to the new grading system, as General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Geoff Barton, comments: "We support a robust qualification system, but it has to be balanced against the welfare of young people, and we are not sure the balance in the new system is correct."

With the rest of the GCSE subjects predicted to adapt to the new scheme by 2019, those that have received grades 9 to 4, (also recognised as an A*-C), have declined by 2.1 per cent. Discussions validating the reasons for this point towards: lack of coursework, more challenging exams, as well as the rise in the number of exams over the summer period. 

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