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.
We thought we’d take the opportunity to bring together all of the key information about grading the new GCSE (9-1) Science qualifications to make sure you have all the information you need.
All these new GCSEs – including Combined Science - have foundation and higher tiered papers.
Grade 9 (highest grade) will be awarded using a formula in the first year, so that 20% of students who achieve a mark at grade 7 or above across all subjects will be awarded the grade 9. The ‘tailored approach’ is fairer to GCSE subjects, such as the separate sciences, which have more high ability students.
More information on the approach for grade 9 is available from the Ofqual website.
The bottom of grade 8 will be set on the mark halfway between the grade 7 and grade 9 boundaries.
The bottom of grade 7 is aligned to the bottom of grade A.
The bottom of grade 4 will be aligned to the bottom of grade C, approximately the same number of students who currently get a grade C or above will get a grade 4 or above.
Grade 1 (lowest grade) will be aligned to the bottom of the current grade G, so that approximately the same number of students who currently get grade G or better will get a grade 1 or better.
Combined Science is a double award GCSE which counts as two GCSEs.
The grading scale is doubled, (there are double the marks) so students can achieve one of 17 grades: 9-9, 9-8, 8-8 through to 2-2, 2-1, and 1-1. 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.
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.
JCQ the Joint Council for Qualifications which represents all the major exam boards has been working closely with Ofqual to make sure that the statistical predictions for the new double award Combined Science take into account the fact that students could previously take GCSE Science and/or GCSE Additional Science, but will now take the double award Combined Science GCSE.
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.