2017 GCSE gradings- What you need to know?

2017 GCSE gradings. What are the big changes which are taking place this year in English secondary schools ? Are O levels coming back ? Are GCSE’s being replaced by new exams ? What is happening to the GCSE gradings in 2017?

In September 2015 Schools in England and Wales launched new GCSE’s in English language, English literature and maths, with the first qualifications due to be awarded this August. New style GCSE’S will be introduced across all other subjects over the next two years.

So what is changing?

  • Students in Year 10 and 11 will take courses over the full two years rather than by modular assessment.
  • Exams will have fewer ‘bite-sized’ questions and more essay-style questions.
  • The content will be more challenging, with more substantial texts in English literature and a number of new topics in maths.
  • All students will have to do at least two science GCSEs
  • Coursework and controlled assessment will disappear from most subjects, apart from practical ones such as art, dance and drama.

 GCSE grading system

  • One of the main differences with these GCSEs will be the grading system. Students will no longer receive qualifications graded A*/A/B/C etc, instead from 2017 new grades will be awarded between 1-9, with 9 being the highest grade awarded.


Old GCSE Grade New GCSE Grade
A* 9
A 8 and 7
B 6 and 5
C 4
D 3
E 2
F & G 1
  • It is commented that the new grade 9 will be awarded to fewer candidates than the A* is currently.
  • Grade 5 will be the new benchmark for a “good pass” required by league tables, where currently the required grade is C.
  • It is hoped that this new grading will introduce greater differentiation between high performing students.
  • It is also assumed that the GCSE’s will be viewed more of a predictor of future success and places at University will be offered provisionally on these results rather than on AS levels or mock A level predictions. 

There will certainly be a period of adjustment for students, teachers, parents and employers getting used to the new numerical grading system but hopefully before too long it will be become second nature.


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