The highest grade is 9, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (no rating). Three numerical grades (9, 8 and 7) correspond to the two previous upper grades of A* and A. Exam regulator Ofqual says that fewer 9 grades are awarded than A, and that anyone who gets a 9 has performed exceptionally. Reformed GCSE ratings will be awarded on a scale from 9 (highest rating) to 1 (lowest).
The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scottish State Schools use the Scottish Qualification Certificate. Private schools in Scotland can choose to use an alternative degree. Prior to the introduction of the GCSE, students took the more academically challenging CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education) or O-Level (General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level) exams, or a combination of the two, in several subjects.
The CSE broadly covered grades C-G or 4—1 of the GCSE, and the O level covered grades A*-C or 9—4, but both were independent degrees, with different grading systems. Separate ratings were criticized for hurting the lowest 42% of level O participants who were unable to receive a grade, and the highest-performing CSE participants who did not have a chance to demonstrate greater ability. The CSE was rated on a numerical scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest and 5 the lowest approval grade. Below 5 there was a U rating (unrated).
The highest grade, 1, was considered equivalent to an O-Level C grade or higher, and achievement of this grade often indicated that the student could have taken an O-Level course in the subject to achieve a higher grade. As the two were independent grades with separate curricula, a separate course of study would have to be taken to convert a CSE to a level O in order to progress to level A. The GCSEs were introduced in September 1986 to establish a national qualification for those who decided to leave school at age 16, without pursuing academic studies to obtain degrees such as A-Levels or university degrees. They replaced the old CSE and O-Level scores, joining the two grades to allow access to the full range of grades for more students.
However, the exams sometimes had a selection of questions designed for the most capable and least capable candidates. Following the introduction, GCSEs were rated on a letter scale, from A to G, with a C that was set to be approximately equivalent to a grade C of level O, or a grade 1 of CSE, and therefore can be achieved in approximately the top 25% of each cohort. Over time, the range of subjects offered, the format of the exams, the regulations, the content and the grading of the GCSE examinations have changed considerably. Numerous subjects have been added and changed, and several new subjects are offered in modern languages, ancient languages, vocational fields and expressive arts, as well as citizenship courses.
These reforms are not directly implemented in Wales and Northern Ireland, where GCSEs will continue to be available in the A*-G rating system. However, due to legislative requirements for comparability between GCSEs in the three countries, and allocations for certain subjects and qualifications to be available in Wales and Northern Ireland, ratings of 9-1 will be available, and the other changes will be mostly adopted in these countries as well. The examination boards operate under the supervision of Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) in England, Qualifications Wales in Wales and the CCEA in Northern Ireland. In England, AQA, OCR and Pearson operate under their respective brands.
In addition, WJEC operates the Eduqas brand, which develops qualifications in England. CCEA ratings are not available in England. In Wales, the WJEC is the only accredited contracting body for GCSEs in the public sector and therefore no other board formally operates in Wales. However, some English board qualifications are available as designated qualifications in some circumstances, because they are not available in WJEC.
In Northern Ireland, the CCEA functions both as a board of directors and regulators. Most English board qualifications are also available, with the exception of English language and science, due to requirements for oral and practical assessment, respectively. Students generally take at least 5 GCSEs in Key Stage 4, in order to meet the primary measure of achieving 5 A*-C grades, including English, Math, and Science. The exact grades students take vary from school to school and student to student, but schools are encouraged to offer at least one pathway leading to qualification for the English Baccalaureate, which requires GCSE in English language, English literature, mathematics, science (including computer science).
science), a modern or ancient language, and history or geography. In the past, math grades offered a different set of levels, with three. These were the basic level in grades G, F, E, and D; the intermediate level in grades E, D, C, and B; and the top level in grades C, B, A and A*. Eventually, this changed to match the levels of all other GCSE ratings.
These ratings were initially set in such a way that a GCSE C was equivalent to a Level O Grade C or a CSE Grade 1, although changes in the rating criteria and limits over the years mean that this comparison is only approximate. In 1994, an A* rating above the initial A rating was added to indicate exceptional accomplishments, above the level required for category A. In England, these results are used to shape the leaderboards published in the following academic year, with main performance indicators for each school. UK GCSE ratings (letter system) In the past, many GCSE scores used a modular system, in which some assessment (up to 60% according to the “terminal rule”) could be submitted before the final exam series.
This allowed students to take some units of a GCSE before the final exam series and thus gave an indication of progress and ability at various stages, as well as allowing students to retake exams in which they did not score as high, to improve their grade, before receiving the rating. A variety of qualifications were available, both modular and linear, and schools could choose the one that best suited their needs. In some subjects, one or more controlled assessments or course tasks may also be completed. These may contribute a small or large proportion of the final grade.
In practical and performance subjects, they are generally weighted more heavily to reflect the difficulty and potential injustice of testing in these areas. The balance between controlled assessment and examinations is controversial, and the time required to set aside for coursework sessions is considered a burden on school timetable. However, the use of controlled assessment allows some papers to be graded outside of testing season and may ease the burden of students performing well on test day. Any of the above must be approved by the examining board.
Other forms of help are available with the agreement of the examination board, but the above are the most common. The requirement of 5 or more grades A*—C or 9-4, including English and Math, is usually a requirement for grades after 16 years at sixth grade or higher education colleges after finishing high school. When the subject taken after 16 years has also been taken at GCSE, the student is often required to have obtained a grade C, 4 or 5 at least in GCSE. GCSEs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework.
A GCSE in grades G, F, E, D, 1, 2, or 3 is a Level 1 qualification. A GCSE in C, B, A, A*, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 is a Level 2 qualification. Grades are not awarded to grades U, X, or Q. Level 2 qualifications are much more in demand and generally constitute minimum requirements for jobs and expectations for further study.
The international version of the GCSE is the IGCSE, which can be taken anywhere in the world and includes additional options related to the courses and the language in which the qualification is sought. All subjects studied in the fifth year of the European Baccalaureate are generally equivalent to the subjects of the GCSE. Current and former British Territories In the Republic of Ireland, the Junior Certificate is a comparable qualification. The SAT Reasoning Test and the SAT Subject Tests, or ACT, can also be considered in a direct college entry offer.
American students who have studied at a university, college, community college, or who have graduated with a certificate, diploma or associate degree may receive their credits and awards transferred to a UK university, subject to entry requirements. The Association of School and University Leaders (ASCL) surveyed 606 school principals who had enrolled students for GCSE only for exams. They found reports of panic attacks, sleepless nights, depression, extreme fatigue, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. A new grading system for three GCSEs will be introduced for the first time in England this summer: Mathematics, English Language and English Literature.
The new system, which scores the exam results from 1 to 9, works together with the previous system, with 9 being the highest score and 1 the lowest.