Consultation outcome

Setting the grade standards of new GCSEs in England

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Technical paper to the Ofqual board in relation to decisions on grading the new 9 to 1 GCSEs

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Grading the new GCSEs in 2017

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Detail of outcome

Key outcomes

  1. Broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above.
  2. Broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 7 and above as currently achieve an A and above.
  3. For each exam, the top 20 per cent of those who get grade 7 or above will get a grade 9 – the very highest performers.
  4. The bottom of grade 1 will be aligned with the bottom of grade G.
  5. Grade 5 will be positioned in the top third of the marks for a current grade C and bottom third of the marks for a current grade B. This will mean it will be of greater demand than the present grade C, and broadly in line with what the best available evidence tells us is the average PISA performance in countries such as Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
  6. The new maths GCSE will be tiered, with grades 4 and 5 available through both tiers.

Feedback received

Setting Grade Standards Consultation: analysis of consultation responses

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Detail of feedback received

Analysis of responses

  1. Most individual respondents preferred criterion referencing, most organisational responses preferred the use of statistical information.
  2. There was overall agreement with the proposition that in the first year the standard for a grade 4 should be set so that the proportion of students who would previously have been expected to be awarded at least a grade C will be awarded at least a grade 4.
  3. The majority of respondents said they would find it helpful if other points of reference between current and new grades were set and communicated before the first awards are made.
  4. Respondents were more likely to disagree than agree with the proposition that the standard of performance for a grade 5 should align to the expected standard for similar qualifications or exams taken in high performing countries.
  5. The majority of respondents agreed that setting the grade boundary for grade 7 so that, all things being equal, the same proportion of students who would previously have been awarded a grade A or above are awarded a grade 7 or above in the first year was appropriate and useful.
  6. The majority of respondents said setting the grade boundary for a grade 9 so that half of the proportion of students who would previously have been awarded an A* are awarded a grade 9 in the first year was appropriate and useful.
  7. There was no clear consensus in terms of appropriateness and usefulness of setting the grade boundary so that the same proportion of students who would have achieved grades G and F are awarded a grade 1 in the first year.
  8. There was no clear consensus among respondents as to whether or not they would find it helpful to have additional or alternative points of reference between the current and new grades.
  9. The majority of respondents felt the current boundary between a grade G and an Unclassified outcome is meaningful.
  10. The majority of respondents reported that the grade 1 boundary should align with the current G.
  11. The majority of respondents agreed with the proposition that the National Reference Test should be designed so that exam boards can use its outcomes to identify changes in the performance of the national cohort that could be reflected in the grades of new GCSEs awarded.

Original consultation

Summary

Ofqual are seeking views for how standards should be set for new GCSE qualifications, graded 9 to 1.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

From September 2015, 14 years olds in England will start studying for new GCSEs. These will be graded 9 to 1 rather than A* to G. We are seeking your views on the way the standards of these qualifications should be set.

New GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths will be introduced first; more subjects will follow from September 2016. The first new qualifications will be awarded in summer 2017.

There is already keen interest in the standard of the new qualifications and how the grading system will work, especially amongst school leaders and teachers.

We are now setting out and seeking views on:

  • our proposed approach to setting and maintaining performance standards for new GCSEs
  • how the grading system will work

Documents

Consultation on Setting the Grade Standards of new GCSEs in England

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Published 19 July 2017