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GCSE grade boundaries 2017: What are the grade boundaries? OCR, Edexcel, AQA, more

TEENAGERS across the UK will finally found out their GCSE results yesterday, but what are the grade boundaries for OCR, Edexcel, AQA and more?

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Half a million students picked up their GCSE results on Thurdsday (August 24), and were the first to be graded under a new 1-9 system.

The new numbered scores replace the traditional A*-G grades and come as part of a huge education reform that aims to create more rigorous GCSEs. 

A ‘linear’ system will see pupils take all their exams at the end of Year 11 with less reliance on coursework.

GCSE grade boundaries were published yesterday, with exam bodies using a delayed tactic to minimise student stress.

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Grade boundaries are usually realeased online in the days leading up to results day, but this year they have been kept secret. 

Michael Turner, director general of the Joint Council for Qualifications, said: “We have taken this decision to stop any unnecessary student concern or anxiety the day before they receive their results.”

Today’s GCSE results showed that the number of pupils receiving at C/grade 4 has dropped to the lowest level since 2008.

In 2017, 66.3 per cent earned a C or equivalent, a drop of 0.6 per cent on last year. Here is a breakdown of the new GCSE grade boundaries.

A chart showing what each new grade is worthEXPRESS

Chart showing what each of the new GCSE grades are worth

What are GCSE grade boundaries?

Grade boundaries set out the minimum number of marks required for each grade. 

These grade boundaries change each year depending on how well the pupil population performs as a whole. 

Exam chiefs will lower the grade boundaries for tricky exams to allow more students to get the top grades. 

But if students do well on an exam nationwide, the boundaries are likely to be raised. Grade boundaries will often vary within an exam body.

GCSE results day 2017: Live pictures as students get their grades

Thu, August 24, 2017

New GCSE grades will be awarded for the first time today, with just a small proportion of entries expected to score the highest result




Play slideshow


Woody Cook is hugged by his mother, television and radio presenter Zoe Ball after receiving his GCSE results at Brighton College in Brighton

PA

1 of 20

Woody Cook is hugged by his mother, television and radio presenter Zoe Ball after receiving his GCSE results at Brighton College in Brighton

For example, a pupil sitting OCR Chemistry C1, C2 and C3 in June 2016 needed to get 48 out of 60 to get an A*.

But someone taking OCR Chemistry C5, C6 and C7 in June 2016 was only required to get 39 out of 60.  

The new 1-9 grading system has left many parents and pupils scratching their heads over what each number corresponds to on the old scale.

In a bid to clarify what universities and employers should be looking for, Sally Collier, of Ofqual said a grade 4 will translate as a C.

Ms Collier said: “If a student receives a grade 7 today, they could have expected to have received a grade A last year. And if they get a grade 4, they could have expected to get a grade C in 2016.”

Grade boundaries for maths exams were particularly low this year, with many education experts arguing that they were the toughest in decades.

Ofqual revealed that a grade 4 in maths could have been gained with just 18 per cent of the overall marks, while a grade 9 required 79 per cent.

Average GCSE grade boundariesOFQUAL

Graph showing the average GCSE grade boundaries according to Ofqual

What are the GCSE grade boundaries 2017?

The GCSE grade boundaries 2017 are now live on these exam board websites: 

OCR  

Edexcel/Pearson  

AQA

CCEA

Students celebrating their GCSE resultsGETTY

GCSE grade boundaries will be released on results day

What are the new GCSE grades this year?

There is added pressure on students this year due to the introduction of a new GCSE grading system for three subjects. 

Maths, English Language and English Language exams will be scored on a scale from 1-9 rather than the traditional A*-G.

The new grading system will be rolled out to other GCSE subjects over coming years. 

Introduced by former Education Secretary Michael Gove , the new GCSEs are designed to be more challenging, with fewer pupils able to access the highest grades. 

The new assessments will see a reduction in the use of tiered examinations for many subjects.

This year, students of all abilities sat the same English Language and English Literature exams. Maths will remain teired.

But the new GCSE grades have caused a great deal of confusion among employers and universities who are not sure what each number means.

WHAT ARE THE NEW GRADES?  

Related articles


  • ‘GCSE students are being SPOON-FED’ Expert makes the case for O-levels

  • GCSE results day 2017 – how to convert A*-G grades to new grades

  • What are the new GCSE grades? 1-9 grading system replaces A*-G
Justine Greening
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