New GCSE grade 4 deemed ‘a standard pass’

As the new GCSE grades are rolled out over the next three years, the government has released further clarification of the new grading system.

Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, has provided further insight into how the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) new grading will work and, in particular, the consequences for individual pupils of achieving a grade 4 or grade 5.The new grading system is being phased in from this summer, replacing the previous A*–G marks. Starting with maths and English, the new number system will be rolled out over the next three years.“We have revised our GCSE qualifications in England to make them more rigorous, with more demanding content so our young people have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in 21st-century Britain and to match those of their peers in high-performing education systems elsewhere in the world,” explains Ms Greening.“This new grading scale is intended to better recognise the achievements of high-attaining pupils and ensure parents have greater clarity over how their child performs in their exams. It will also distinguish the new, more challenging GCSEs clearly from the predecessor qualifications.”
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To clarify the situation over which grade will deemed a “pass”, the government has announced that they will distinguish between a grade 4 as a “standard pass” and a grade 5 as a “strong pass” and report on both.“Under the new system, a grade 4 and above will be equivalent to a C and above. This is – and will remain – the level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to continue studying English and maths post-16. Therefore, a GCSE pass at new grade 4 will continue to have real currency for individual pupils as they progress to further study and employment,” continued Ms Greening.“Where employers, FE providers and universities currently accept a grade C, we would expect them to continue recognising a grade 4.“The process used by Ofqual to avoid grade inflation will ensure that broadly the same proportion of pupils achieve the grade 4 and above this summer as achieved the grade C and above last year. This is why I want to be very clear to schools, employers, colleges and pupils themselves that a ‘standard pass’ is a credible achievement and one that should be valued as a passport to future study and employment.”

"Huge uncertainty"

However, the teachers’ union NASUWT has voiced its concerns that the new grading system is creating “huge uncertainty” and increasing pressure on pupils.The union has reported that many students are anxious and confused because of a lack of clarity over grade boundaries. Many teachers feel they are unable to predict how their students will perform under the new system.Preview Relocate's new 2017 Guide to International Education & SchoolsAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit

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