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GCSE 9 to 1 Grades
August 7, 2019
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Reformed GCSEs in England are graded from 9 to 1, with 9 being the top grade. Combined science is graded from 9-9 to 1-1.

The new GCSE 9 to 1 grades

The vast majority of students taking GCSEs in England in 2019 will receive grades from 9 to 1.

Students taking 5 lesser-taught GCSE subjects (Biblical Hebrew, Gujarati, Persian, Portuguese and Turkish) will receive letter grades in 2019 before they become numerical (9 to 1) in 2020.

9 things to know about the new GCSE grades
  1. GCSEs in England have been reformed and are graded with from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade.
  2. GCSE content is more challenging.
  3. Fewer grade 9s are be awarded than A*s.
  4. The new grades are being brought in to signal that GCSEs have been reformed and to better differentiate between students of different abilities.
  5. In the first year each new GCSE subject has been introduced, broadly the same proportion of students get a grade 4 or above as would have got a grade C or above in the old system.
  6. These changes are only happening in England. Wales and Northern Ireland are not introducing the new 9 to 1 grading scale as part of their changes to GCSEs.
  7. English language, English literature and maths were the first to be graded from 9 to 1 in 2017.
  8. Another 20 subjects had 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019. During this transition, students received a mixture of letter and number grades.
  9. You can see how the 9 to 1 grades compare with the A* to G scale in our GCSE grading postcard.
GCSE science

GCSEs for science have changed in England. Students taking separate science GCSEs now get a grade from 9 to 1 in each subject. Combined science draws content from all three subjects and students receive an award worth two GCSEs, consisting of two equal or adjacent grades.

5 things to know about combined science GCSEs
  1. Students taking separate science GCSEs get a grade from 9 to 1 for each subject, with 9 being the highest grade.
  2. Students studying combined science receive an award worth two GCSEs, consisting of two equal or adjacent grades from 9 to 1 (9-9, 9-8, 8-8, 8-7, 7-7…to 1-1).
  3. If the numbers are different, the highest number will always be reported on the left.
  4. Students do at least 8 practical activities (16 for combined science) covering specific apparatus and techniques.
  5. Exam questions about practical work make up at least 15% of the total marks for the qualification.
New GCSEs Gradings: A Guide for Employers, Parents & Pupils
May 24, 2018
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GCSEs in England are changing. From 2017, some exams will be graded from 9 – 1, rather than A* – G. If you’re a parent or pupil, an employer, or work in education, find out how you will be affected

From August 2017, the new qualifications began being awarded with number grades, rather than letters. The new grading scale runs from 9 to 1 instead of A* to G, with 9 the highest grade.

Not all GCSEs are changing at once – English language, English literature and maths were the first to change, with students sitting these exams in the summer of 2017. You can find the list of subjects in which students will be sitting reformed GCSEs in 2018 in these factsheets.

By 2020, all GCSEs in England will be graded using numbers instead of letters. However, most GCSEs taken by students in Wales and Northern Ireland will continue to be graded A* to G. In conjunction with the other regulators, Ofqual, the qualifications regulator in England, has produced guidance which helps explain the differences and similarities between GCSE qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new scale will recognise more clearly the achievements of high-attaining students, as the additional grades allow for greater differentiation.

Changing from letters to numbers will also allow anyone – for example an employer – to see easily whether a student has taken a new, more challenging GCSE, or an old reformed GCSE. Read more