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GCSE grading system to see changes

09/09/2016 Joanna

Exams regulator Ofqual is putting in place a new GCSE grading system which should be "fairer" when it comes to awarding the highest grades, TES has reported.

The new system will, instead of the usual letter grades, be a numbered system that runs from one as the lowest mark to nine as the highest.

While it was originally decided that just 20 per cent of grades seven or above would be awarded a grade nine in each subject, Ofqual has now realised that this won't take into account the possibility of a variation in abilities between subjects.

However, a consultation conducted by the exams regulator showed that the number of grade nines awarded could be higher or lower than the previously given grade A, depending on the subject.

Instead, a new modified approach means that the top 20 per cent of all grades seven and above will be given grade nine in each subject.

Sally Collier, chief regulator of Ofqual, said: "The aim of the new formula for awarding grade nine is to be as fair as possible. The proportion of students achieving A* varies from subject to subject, and it will be the same with the new grade 9. Those who rely on GCSEs will know that those students achieving the top grade have performed exceptionally."

According to Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, the new approach is much more suitable. He added that the union is pleased that upon concerns being raised, Ofqual quickly addressed the system and made the necessary changes. 

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