KS4 Assessment

New GCSE grades (9-1)

In summer 2017, students’ GCSE English and GCSE Maths exam results will be graded from 9 – 1 instead of from A* – G. From summer 2019, all GCSE subjects will be graded this way.

Why is the current system changing?

The new GCSEs, which will begin teaching in September 2015, are intended to be more challenging.

The changes to the grading system will help to provide more differentiation between the highest and lowest performing students, and the standard for a ‘good pass’ is slightly higher than before.

Watch AQA’s 9-1 grading animation for an overview of what these changes will mean.

How does the numerical system work?

Currently there are eight grades and when the new grading is introduced there will be nine, with grade 9 bring the best available grade. How will the new system correlate to the old one?

  • The new system allows for greater differentiation, having nine numerical grades in place of eight letter grades
  • The new numbered grades will not translate directly from the old grades A* – G, but we do know that approximately the same proportion of students who currently achieve:
    • grade A or higher will receive a grade 7 or higher
    • grade C or higher will receive a grade 4 or higher
  • Grade 9 will be a new grade for very high performing students, to be set as the top fifth of the current A grades
  • Grade 5 will be the benchmark for a ‘good pass’
  • The bottom of grade 1 will be the same as the bottom of grade G

You might find  Ofqual’s diagram of the new grading system   helpful.

New GCSE grades explained

Dale Bassett, AQA’s Director of Policy, considers the questions that people are asking and talks through the main changes.