This blog has been updated to confirm there will be an allowed grade of 3-3 as a 'safety net' for the combined science double award in June 2018. See the Ofqual blog for more details.
Last year, the first reformed GCSEs in English language, English literature and GCSE mathematics were awarded and I wrote a comprehensive post about how the new 9-1 GCSEs will be graded. This year, new 9-1 GCSEs in 16 further subjects will be awarded for the first time by OCR:
The new GCSE in combined science is a double award GCSE. Previously, students could take GCSE science and GCSE additional science as separate qualifications, but now these GCSEs have been combined into one double award GCSE, which counts as two GCSEs.
As a result, the new GCSE combined science has a slightly different grading structure from other new GCSEs. The grading scale is doubled, so students can achieve one of 17 grades: 9-9, 9-8, 8-8, 8-7, 7-7 through to 1-1. It’s worth noting these are grades in their own right – it’s not possible to achieve a combination of other grades such as 9-6 or 3-5.
Similar to the 9-1 scale, a grade 7-7 will be aligned to an old grade A, and a grade 4-4 aligned to an old C, with 1-1 aligned to an old grade G. The foundation tier will target grades 5-5 to 1-1, and the higher tier will target 9-9 to 4-4, with an allowed 4-3 grade for those students who just miss a grade 4-4 (in June 2018, there will be an allowed grade of 3-3).
For qualifications being awarded for the first time in June 2018, the top grade 9 will be awarded using a formula so that 20% of students who achieve a mark at grade 7 or above across all subjects will be awarded the grade 9.
For GCSE English language, English literature and maths, which were awarded for the first time in 2017, we will align outcomes at grade 9 with the 2017 results rather than using the formula. This makes sure there are the right number of top grades in each specification.
Ofqual has lots of information to help students, parents, teachers and businesses understand the changes. Take a look at their website for more details.
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.