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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School

Changes To GCSE Grading

Why are we changing our grading?

As you may be aware, the Department for Education (DfE) has introduced reforms to GCSEs which will be phased in over three years from September 2015. In response, Higham Lane School will update it's target-setting, tracking progress and reporting procedures to parents/carers.

This document sets out the details of these reforms, helping you to understand and make sense of your child's academic progress.

Key reforms:

  • The existing GCSE grading system, A*-G, is being phased out and replaced with a new 9-1 GCSE grading system (9 being the highest). Students taking GCSEs over this period will therefore receive a mixture of 9 to 1 and A* to G grades. Students will not lose out as a result of these reforms.
  • As from September 2015, the new GCSE grading structure will only apply to our current Year 9 and 10 students studying English Language, English Literature and Maths, with other subjects phased in later.

What will the 9-1 GCSE grading system look like?

  • There is no direct equivalence between the GCSE 9-1 grading on the new system and the existing GCSE A*-G grading on the old system.
  • The table below is useful for comparison purposes which is based on information from Ofqual.
  • Broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above.
  • Broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 7 and above as currently achieve a grade A and above.
  • The bottom of grade 1 will be aligned with the bottom of grade G.
  • Grade 5 will be awarded to around the top third of students gaining the equivalent of a grade C and bottom third of a grade B. This has been defined as a 'good pass' by the DfE.

 

 

When will each subject be affected by the new GCSEs?

Along with the reforms to the GCSE grading system, the DfE has instigated major reforms to the GCSE curricula, phasing in over 3 years from September 2015 new GCSE specifications for each subject.

  • Phase 1: 2015 - English and Maths (current Y9 & 10 - GCSE to be examined 2017 & 2018).
  • Phase 2: 2016 - Sciences, History, Geography, Languages, Art and Design, Music, Drama, Computer Science, Food & Nutrition, Physical Education and Religious Studies (current Y8 and 9 - GCSE to be examined in 2018 and 2019).
  • Phase 3: 2017 - Other subjects including: Design & Technology, Statistics, Business Studies (Current Y7 - GCSEs to be examined in 2020).

Summary - GCSEs 2015-16:

Current Year 11 Current Year 10 Current Year 9
Students who started Year 7 in 2011 will continue to be assessed in traditional GCSE grades from A*-G. There is no change in how we will report to parents for students in these year groups. Students who started Year 7 in 2012 will continue to be assessed using GCSE grades in all of their subjects except English and Maths. English and Maths will be assessed and reported on using the new 9-1 grade system. Students who started Year 7 in 2013 will continue to be assessed using GCSE grades in all their subjects except English and Maths. However, in Year 10, they'll be assessed using the new 9-1 grade system. English and Maths will be assessed and reported on using the new 9-1 grade system.

 

How will these changes affect target setting?

  • Year 11: Targets will remain as they currently are, using the existing A*-G GCSE grading system.
  • Year 10: English and Maths targets will be generated using the new 9-1 GCSE grading system. All other GCSE subjects targets will be generated using the existing A*-G GCSE grading system.
  • Year 9: English and Maths targets will be generated using the new 9-1 GCSE grading system. For Year 9 only, all other GCSE subject targets will be generated using the existing A*-G GCSE grading system. When the students begin Year 10, their GCSE subjects which meet phase 1 & 2 (above) will convert their A*-G GCSE target to a 9-1 GCSE target.

Life after levels - The removal of levels

  • The Department for Education (DfE) has also removed the Key Stage 3 levels, with schools free to develop their own assessment framework for tracking progress through their five years at secondary school. Higham Lane School will continue to report on your child's progress in KS3 through levels during 2015-16 school year. Further details on assessment arrangements will be published later in the school year.

 

For a copy of the above information, please click on the download link for a copy.