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Ofqual to raise awareness of switch to numerical GCSE grades

18/01/2017 Joanna

Exams regulator Ofqual has pledged to take further action to raise awareness of imminent changes to England's GCSE grading system, which remain poorly understood at present.

The present paradigm of allocating letter-based grades from A* to G for GCSE students will be phased out in favour of numerical ratings from nine to one commencing this summer, but the majority of people do not understand the implications of this change yet, reports BBC News.

A small survey carried out by Ofqual has indicated that only 31 per cent of secondary pupils are clear about how the new system works, while for parents this figure stood at 30 per cent.

Additional research with 50 human resources leaders showed that less than half understood it, while among small businesses, this figure drops to around one-fifth.

To address this, Ofqual will be expanding its publicity drive - which currently includes a series of online workshops for teaching staff in schools and universities - to include employers in the coming months, with the Department of Education also getting involved to communicate the basics of the changes, including the fact that nine is the highest grade.

A spokesman from the Department for Education said: "Our GCSE reforms will create gold-standard qualifications that match the best education systems in the world and allow young people to compete in an increasingly global workplace.

"We continue to work closely with the sector to ensure they understand what the changes will mean for them when they come into effect later this year."

The numerical grading system will make its debut this summer, with those sitting English and maths GCSEs receiving a mixture of number and letter grades. By summer 2018, a mix of numbers and letters will be awarded in an additional 20 subjects, ahead of the complete replacement of the old letter system by 2019.

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