Guidance

Grade descriptors for GCSEs graded 9 to 1

Grade descriptors for GCSEs graded 9 to 1. Designed to provide an indication of the likely level of performance at grades 2, 5 and 8. 

Documents

Details

We have developed grade descriptors for the reformed GCSEs graded 9 to 1. These aim to assist teachers by providing an indication of the likely level of performance at grades 2, 5 and 8.

The purpose of these grade descriptors is to give an idea of average performance at the mid-points of grades 2, 5 and 8. The descriptors are not designed to be used for awarding purposes, unlike the ‘grade descriptions’ that apply to current GCSEs graded A* to G.

The grade descriptors were developed with the input of subject experts and exam boards. The wording draws on the relevant subject content published by the Department for Education as well as the assessment objectives published by Ofqual.

We have published more information on how grade standards will be set for the new GCSEs.

Update, 15 July 2016

Grade descriptors were added for subjects being taught from September 2016. Previous grade descriptors for September 2015 remain unchanged.

Grade descriptors are now published in the following subjects.

Being taught from September 2015

  • maths
  • English language
  • English literature

Being taught from September 2016

  • ancient languages
  • art and design
  • citizenship
  • computer science
  • dance
  • drama
  • food preparation and nutrition
  • geography
  • history
  • modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish)
  • music
  • physical education
  • religious studies
  • single science (biology, chemistry, physics)
  • combined science