I’m sure you are all familiar with how every year GCSE results are improving yet we seem to continually slide down international league tables. Recently Michael Gove announced that changes to GCSEs are set to be introduced. His solution the biggest shake-up to England’s exam structure since GCSEs replaced O-levels in 1988. Here’s a quick guide to new GCSEs.

Grades are changing
Numbers are the new letters. GCSE students currently receive grades from A*-G for their exams, but under the new system grades from 9-1 will be awarded. As well as changing the type of grades, this also means examiners have an additional grade to play with.

Nine is the best
When you collect your new GCSE results, you’ll be hoping to see a lot of 9s. The new system goes from 9 at the top down to 1 at the bottom. As with current GCSEs, if a student doesn’t do well enough to meet the minimum GCSE standard, they get a U. In terms of banding, only the top 3% in the country will achieve a grade 9.

Back to traditional two year courses with summer exams
Harking back to O levels most subjects will be taught for two years and assessed entirely on exams taken at the end of the course. The current modular system of 3 exams which some schools use will be phased out.

Maths will be coming first

The GCSE course for Maths will begin in September 2015, meaning the first new GCSE exams will be sat in 2017. So those of you with Children starting to take their GCSE’s next year (year 10) will be the first to enter the new system. So the exam results for those students will be a mix of number and letter grades.These changes will only affect students in England. Wales and Northern Ireland will be introducing their own systems and Scotland will be its present one.

Two tier system is staying
The current Foundation and Higher tier system is projected to remain. However Ofqual have stated that it may be possible to have just one stretched exam paper for all students in the future.

Grades are difficult to compare
Ofqual has deliberately introduced a new system to differentiate from the old. As such the grades do not align. However there are some clues that we can use to overlap the traditional A-G grades. Please not that this is only an educated guess at the moment and boundaries will change as the new system comes into place.

new GCSE boundaries