16th Apr, 2021

GCSEs grades explained and how they relate to the old A* to G system

Ross Crawford 22nd Aug, 2019 Updated: 22nd Aug, 2019

GCSEs in England have a 9 to 1 grading scale, to better differentiate between the highest performing students and distinguish clearly between the old and new qualifications, says the Department for Education.

Grade 9 is the highest grade and will be awarded to fewer students than the old A*.

The new GCSE grading scale is not directly equivalent to the old A* to G one. However, there are some comparable points:

The bottom of grade 7 is aligned with the bottom of grade A;

The bottom of grade 4 is aligned with the bottom of grade C;

The bottom of grade 1 is aligned with the bottom of grade G.

The Department for Education recognises grade 4 and above as a ‘standard pass’ in all subjects.

A grade 4 or above marks a similar achievement to the old grade C or above.

A grade 4 is the minimum level that students need to reach in English and/or maths, otherwise they need to continue to study these subjects as part of their post-16 education.

‘Attainment 8’ measures a student’s average grade across eight subjects.


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