From this yr, some GCSE papers in England are being graded numerically on a scale from 9 to 1.
Keep in mind politicians saying GCSEs had been too straightforward and wanted to be made extra rigorous?
Properly that is what has been taking place, as new exams have been developed and are being phased in over numerous years.
This yr’s college students are the primary to sit down exams within the new GCSES in English (literature and language) and maths – arguably the most important topics within the curriculum.
One other 20 topics can have 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019.
New numbering system
Opposite to what you may anticipate, 1 shouldn’t be the very best grade, 9 is.
Nonetheless, 9 will probably be awarded to fewer pupils than A* is at present.
The truth is, three quantity grades, 9, eight and 7, correspond to the present high grades of A* and A.
That is designed to offer extra differentiation on the high finish.
A grade 6 is a bit increased than the outdated B grade.
Two cross marks?
And – in contrast to the present system, beneath which a C is seen as a “good” cross – the brand new system has a “commonplace cross”, a grade four, and a “robust cross”, grade 5.
The Division for Training has confused that the outdated and new grading programs can’t be instantly in contrast.
However there are factors the place they align.
The underside of the present grade C and the underside of the brand new grade four might be the important thing level of alignment.
This has prompted some employers to say the system is complicated.
Colleges will probably be measured on the proportion of pupils attaining grade four and above.
However they may also be measured on the proportion of pupils attaining grade 5 and above.
And this grade 5 is being described because the benchmark, according to the expectations of the robust performing schooling programs all over the world.
Training secretary Justine Greening mentioned she anticipated extra pupils to get a grade 5 over time as England’s schooling system improved.
In the meantime, on the backside, the brand new system has much less element, with grades D, E and F comparable to grades 1 and 2, and the underside of a grade 1 comparable to the underside of a grade G.
The brief reply is sure.
The Division for Training has intentionally required examination boards to make examination content material extra “difficult”.
The best way the questions are set out in maths, for instance, could be very completely different to what has come earlier than.
And the way in which the are taken, with exams on the finish, fairly than with modules – examined in levels alongside the way in which at completely different components of the yr – can also be seen as extra demanding.
However, and it’s a huge however, examination boards will use statistical measures to make sure that requirements stay the identical.
So regardless of what are actually fairly vital adjustments, broadly the identical proportion of scholars that obtained a grade C or above in 2016 will obtain a grade four and above this yr.
Is it truthful?
And the identical share of scholars will obtain a grade 7 as obtained a grade A final yr.
Nonetheless, if candidates discover an examination paper more durable than anticipated the grade boundaries will probably be set just a little decrease.
So they might want a couple of much less marks to get a sure grade than they might have performed beforehand.
Thus, continuity of requirements is maintained in order that the primary crop of scholars to take these exams should not deprived.
Nonetheless, some academics’ leaders have complained in regards to the stage of problem within the new exams.
Maths has been significantly difficult – with pupils from high units of their colleges popping out of exams saying they may not perceive complete sections of the examination paper.
And head academics say they’re involved in regards to the scale of stress being positioned on pupils, because of the excessive stakes nature of those new exams.
The remainder of the UK
This yr additionally marks a divergence in between the nations, with candidates in England, Wales and Northern Eire now all learning completely different exams.
In Wales, exams in English, Welsh and maths (six GCSEs in complete) have additionally been toughened, however the qualification remains to be taken in items. New GCSEs in different topics are being phased in.
In Northern Eire, pupils are typically sitting old-style GCSEs in all topics this yr, however adjustments are forward.
Scottish college students already examine utterly completely different .