When are they changing?
From August 2017, the new qualifications will start to be awarded with number grades, rather than letters. The new grading scale runs from 9 to 1 instead of A* to G, with 9 the highest grade.
Not all GCSEs are changing at once – English language, English literature and maths are changing first, with students sitting these exams this summer. By 2020, all GCSEs in England will be reformed and graded using numbers instead of letters. However, most GCSEs taken by students at schools in Wales and Northern Ireland will continue to be graded A* to G. Ofqual, the exams regulator, have produced guidance which helps explain the differences and similarities between GCSE qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Why is the grading scale changing?
The new scale is intended to recognise more clearly the achievements of high-attaining students.
Changing from letters to numbers will also allow anyone – for example an employer – to see easily whether a student has taken a new, more challenging GCSE, or an old GCSE.