Students taking GCSEs in England this summer will receive a mixture of number and letter grades. English language, English literature and maths are the first subjects to use the new system, with most other subjects adopting numbers by 2019. Eventually all GCSEs taken in England will receive numerical grades.
9 things to know about the new GCSE grades
1. GCSEs in England are being reformed and will be graded with a new scale from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade.
2. New GCSE content will be more challenging.
3. Fewer grade 9s will be awarded than A*s.
4. English language, English literature and maths will be the first to be graded from 9 to 1 in 2017.
5. Another 20 subjects will have 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019. During this transition, students will receive a mixture of letter and number grades.
6. The new grades are being brought in to signal that GCSEs have been reformed and to better differentiate between students of different abilities.
7. In the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced, broadly the same proportion of students will get a grade 4 or above as would have got a grade C or above in the old system.
8. 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.
9. You can see how the 9 to 1 grades compare with the A* to G scale in our GCSE grading postcard.
New GCSEs have been introduced gradually, with the first wave taught from September 2015. Students will sit a combination of legacy and reformed GCSEs over the next three years.
Year 11 in September 2016
These students will take new exams in the first reformed GCSEs subjects – English language, English literature and maths. Their final GCSE certificates will comprise a mixture of numbers and legacy letters.
Year 10 in September 2016
These students will start a wider range of reformed GCSEs, but they may also take some legacy qualifications. As such, their final GCSE certificates, in 2018, may comprise a mixture of numbers and letters.
Year 9 in September 2016
All GCSEs, with the exception of some lesser-taught languages, will have been reformed by the time these students select their subjects. As such, their final GCSE certificates will mainly comprise numbers.
Year 8 in September 2016
All GCSEs will have been reformed by the time these students sit their exams. Their final GCSE certificates will only comprise numbers.