GCSE results day: Everything you need to know about the new grade system

PUBLISHED: 18:07 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 18:14 23 August 2017

Worle students inspect their results in 2016.

Worle students inspect their results in 2016.


Those pieces of paper listing GCSE results are going to look a little different when they are opened by Weston-super-Mare students this year, and perhaps will even be a bit confusing. With changes in store for students receiving their results tomorrow, we have put together this explainer to shine some light on what it all means.

What will change?

Those familiar A* to G grades are being phased out and replaced with a scale from nine to one – with nine the highest result, and one the lowest.

Students will receive their results on Thursday. (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)Students will receive their results on Thursday. (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Only a few subjects are being switched over this year, so some students will forever boast a CV with an 8 in maths and B in geography.

What subjects are different?

Students who sat English language, English literature and maths will notice the changes first.

For most other subjects, including science, the grades will come into force in 2018. Other subjects, such as psychology and business, will be unaffected until 2019.

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

What does this mean?

Put simply, 9s, 8s and 7s are broadly the same as A*s and As.

The middle grades, 6s, 5s and 4s are about a B and C, and 2s and 1s will be E, F and G.

The exams regulator says fewer 9s will be handed out than A*s, so it will be, in theory, harder to get those top marks.

The latest guidance is three are two pass grades: a standard pass is grade 4, and a strong pass is grade 5.

Has anything else changed?

These GCSE courses are the first to rely almost solely on exams at the end of two years, rather than coursework being built up during the year as well.

How are schools being measured?

Schools will be measured on the number of pupils who achieve a grade five or better in English and maths, and in the English Baccalaureate (a core five academic subjects: English, maths, history, geography, the sciences and a language).

The Mercury will be featuring GCSE results as they come in tomorrow (Thursday) at www.westonmercury.co.uk

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