Consultation outcome

Requirements on setting GCSE (9 to 1) grade boundaries

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Decisions on Conditions, Requirements and guidance for setting GCSE (9 to 1) grade boundaries

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Detail of outcome

We have decided to implement the Conditions, Requirements and guidance that we consulted on without making any changes, other than correcting one typographical error.

We have decided to put in place the following:

  • a qualification level Condition requiring exam boards to comply with any requirements we set, and have regard to any guidance we provide, in relation to setting grade boundaries

  • a qualification level Condition requiring exam boards to have regard to an appropriate range of evidence when setting grade boundaries, to maintain a record of this evidence and the rationale for selecting it, supported by guidance providing examples of such evidence

  • qualification-specific requirements about the way in which grade boundaries should be set

We have also decided to remove one requirement from the GCSE Subject Level Conditions and Requirements for Mathematics and GCSE Subject Level Conditions and Requirements for Modern Foreign Languages. This is because part of it duplicates a requirement we are putting in place in the qualification level Conditions as a result of our decisions above.

We have published updated versions of the following documents:

Feedback received

Analysis of responses to our consultation on setting GCSE (9 to 1) grade boundaries

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Detail of feedback received

There were nine responses to the consultation. Five of these were from teachers responding in a personal capacity; four were from exam boards.

Respondents supported the majority of our proposals. Respondents agreed with our proposed Condition; commenting only to request clarification about the meaning of ‘prior qualification’ in the Condition. Similarly, the only comment we received about the draft guidance was to clarify what we mean by a ‘similar subject’.

Of the comments we did receive, most were about specific parts of the drafting of our standard setting requirements, not the overall approach. The specific aspects respondents commented on were:

  • tiering - some respondents commented that where the 3/U grade boundary in higher tier papers is adjusted based on statistical and technical evidence, there should be a minimum mark gap between the 3/U and 4/3 grade boundaries

  • key grade boundaries - some respondents queried whether the grade 5/4 boundary should be a key grade boundary

  • allowed grades in higher tier - some respondents queried whether a 3-3 grade should be allowed in higher tier double-award GCSE papers

Original consultation

Summary

Consulting on the proposed regulations for setting grade boundaries in new GCSEs awarded from 2017 onwards.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

This consultation is about the conditions, requirements and guidance we propose to put in place to implement some of the decisions from our April 2016 grading consultation and our April 2014 grading consultation. It includes our proposed requirements and guidance for setting grade boundaries for all GCSE (9 to 1) qualifications. We have consulted previously and announced our decisions for GCSE (A* to G), AS and A level qualifications and the equivalent requirements for these qualifications are already in place.

Documents

Requirements on setting GCSE (9 to 1) grade boundaries

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Published 30 November 2016
Last updated 16 February 2017 + show all updates
  1. Published consultation feedback and outcome
  2. First published.