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Changes to Assessment and GCSE Grading


Education is Changing: Life After Levels from The Hathershaw College on Vimeo.

Why are we changing our assessment and grading?

Over the next few years, new, more challenging GCSEs will be introduced, first in English and Maths from 2017, and then in other subjects the following year.

Gradually GCSE grades will be changed from letters to numbers in all schools across the country.

The government has made a decision to end the use of National Curriculum levels e.g. 4b throughout primary and secondary schools.

Secondary schools now have the freedom to change what they use in Key Stage 3 to fit more closely with the standards required for GCSEs.


So my child will leave school with numbers instead of letter grades?

In future, GCSE results will be graded using the number scale 1-9 and not letters G to A*. Grade 9 (A**) is the new highest grade to achieve and it will be more difficult to obtain than the old A* it replaces.

If your child is in Year 10 or 11, they will be graded with a mixture of both letters and numbers as the new system is gradually introduced into all schools across the country. English and Maths will make the switch first in 2017, with Year 11 students being the first to leave school with numbers (all other subjects in 2017 will remain as letters).

For children in Years 7, 8 or 9, starting in September 2016, all grades for all subjects they are awarded in year 11 will be using the number scale.


So what will the new 'Good' pass grade be?

As shown below, the current A*-G system does not directly mirror the new number system. At first it may take a little time getting used to, however, the new grade 4 is in line with the old ‘good pass’ grade C.

If however your child is in Years 7, 8 or 9, the government is setting a new standard for a ‘good pass’ at grade 5 to encourage standards to rise.


How are we responding to this opportunity?

The government has provided the freedom for schools and teachers to choose an assessment and grading system as they see fit. At Hathershaw, all students will now be assessed on the new scale of 1-9 for any newly reformed GCSE’s.

Legacy courses running for students in years 10 and 11 will be assessed using the old letter system, as it will be nationally.


The Hathershaw College would like to say a special Thank You to a number of secondary school partners for their support, including The Radclyffe School.



To download this document, please click below.

PDF icon Education is changing leaflet