From this 12 months, some GCSE papers in England are being graded numerically on a scale from 9 to 1.
Bear in mind politicians saying GCSEs had been too simple and wanted to be made extra rigorous?
Effectively that is what has been occurring, as new exams have been developed and are being phased in over plenty of years.
This 12 months’s college students are the primary to take a seat exams within the new GCSES in English (literature and language) and maths – arguably the most important topics within the curriculum.
One other 20 topics could have 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019.
New numbering system
Opposite to what you may anticipate, 1 is just not the very best grade, 9 is.
Nonetheless, 9 might be awarded to fewer pupils than A* is presently.
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 previous B grade.
Two go marks?
And – in contrast to the present system, below which a C is seen as a “good” go – the brand new system has a “normal go”, a grade four, and a “robust go”, grade 5.
The Division for Schooling has confused that the previous and new grading techniques 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.
Faculties might be measured on the proportion of pupils attaining grade four and above.
However they can even be measured on the proportion of pupils attaining grade 5 and above.
And this grade 5 is being described because the benchmark, in step with the expectations of the robust performing training techniques all over the world.
Schooling secretary Justine Greening stated she anticipated extra pupils to get a grade 5 over time as England’s training 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.
More durable GCSEs?
The quick reply is sure.
The Division for Schooling 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 totally 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 totally different elements of the 12 months – can be seen as extra demanding.
However, and it’s a massive however, examination boards will use statistical measures to make sure that requirements stay the identical.
So regardless of what are actually fairly important adjustments, broadly the identical proportion of scholars that obtained a grade C or above in 2016 will obtain a grade four and above this 12 months.
Is it honest?
And the identical share of scholars will obtain a grade 7 as obtained a grade A final 12 months.
Nonetheless, if candidates discover an examination paper more durable than anticipated the grade boundaries might be set somewhat decrease.
So they could want a number of much less marks to get a sure grade than they might have executed beforehand.
Thus, continuity of requirements is maintained in order that the primary crop of scholars to take these exams aren’t 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 strain being positioned on pupils, because of the excessive stakes nature of those new exams.
The remainder of the UK
This 12 months additionally marks a divergence in between the nations, with candidates in England, Wales and Northern Eire now all finding out totally different exams.
In Wales, exams in English, Welsh and maths (six GCSEs in whole) have additionally been toughened, however the qualification continues 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 12 months, however adjustments are forward.
Scottish college students already examine fully totally different .