The reformed GCSEs will use a new grading structure, using grades from 9 (the highest) to 1 (the lowest). There isn’t a one-to-one mapping between the new numeric grades, and the current A*–G grades, but the two systems will be aligned at key grades:
This new structure means that there are fewer grades for the lower ability ranges: grades 1,2, and 3, compared to grades G, F, E and D. For the mid to high ability range, the new grading structure has more grades available, so that it will be possible to differentiate better between students: grades 4–9 (six grades), compared to C–A* (four grades)
GCSEs in mathematics, the sciences and modern foreign languages will continue to be tiered. The foundation tier will target grades 5–1, so that students entered for the foundation tier still have the possibility of achieving a ‘strong pass’. The higher tier will target grades 9–4, so grades 4 and 5 will be available on both tiers.
Although we are still waiting for final confirmation for GCSE subjects first taught from 2016 onwards (all subjects apart from GCSEs in maths, English language, English literature), we expect this structure to apply to all reformed GCSEs. More information about the New GCSE Grading Structure and other information on the current reforms to qualifications in England can be viewed on Ofqual's website.
Dr Frances Wilson - Principal Researcher
Dr Frances Wilson is the Principal Researcher for OCR’s Research and Technical Standards team, part of the Assessment Standards Team at OCR. Frances and her team carry out valuable research and technical studies to underpin the development and delivery of OCR’s qualifications. OCR is part of Cambridge Assessment which is a department of the University of Cambridge.