Grading now goes from 9-1, instead of A*-C.
9 is the highest grade and 1 the lowest.
Each number does not directly correspond to a letter.
However, there are benchmarks that correspond:
The bottom of an A equates to the bottom of a 7.
The bottom of a C equates to the bottom of a 4.
The bottom of a G equates to the bottom of a 1.
This means there are a wider variety of pass grades to differentiate more between pupils’ ability levels
Where a C used to be a considered a ‘good’ pass, a 4 is now a ‘standard’ pass and a 5 is a ‘strong’ pass.
This is how the government is trying to improve standards in schools so that 5 is now the desirable pass mark, which is higher than a C was, although 4 is still classified as a pass.
This applies at the higher grade range too with 9 being a higher grade than the previous A* was, also used to further differentiate pupils’ abilities at the higher end.
Although exams are meant to be tougher, measures have been put in place to not disadvantage the students taking the new exams:
The same proportion of students that received a C and above previously will receive a 4 or above.
The same proportion of students who received an A or above previously will receive a 7 or above.
This may mean lowering grade boundaries due to having harder exams.
Many universities and employers set minimum grade requirements for certain GCSEs with many previously requiring a grade C for maths and English. Now, there are variations between institutions whether they would like a 4 or a 5, so make sure to check each place’s requirements before applying.