What do the new GCSE grades mean - and which subjects are changing this year?
- Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES
No coursework, two years of study, a clutch of Bs and a handful of threes - it’s a tricky time to be a GCSE student.
Thousands of students around London are due to collect their GCSE results tomorrow (Thursday).
But this year’s results come mid-way through a major shake-up of to the system, which will eventually see all subjects moved from the traditional lettered scale, A* to U, to numbers.
The change began last year, with English and maths the first subjects to move to the numbers, which range from nine - above an A* - to a one.
While it is difficult to compare like for like, a grade four is generally considered to be a C, or a pass.
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But this is the area which has caused the most concern. Generally, it is accepted that a grade four is a ‘standard pass’, while a grade five is a ‘strong pass’, a difference which has attracted criticism.
This year, more subjects will switch to the numerical system, with most others following in 2019. The changes this year are:
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• Art and design
• Citizenship studies
• Combined science
• Food preparation and nutrition
• Classic Greek
• Physical education
• Religious Studies
But as well as deciphering the new results, students will be seeing the impact of new, tougher exams.
The courses are now mainly exam-based, with new content and less coursework. They are designed for two years of study with exams at the end - so no modules to break it up.
Fewer grade nines are likely to be handed out than there were A*s, with one study predicting that as few as 200 pupils will achieve a clean sweep of top grades.
We will be publishing GCSE results and pictures on our website tomorrow (Thursday).