Grading

What Does 9 to 1 Grading Mean?

Because the content in the new GCSEs is so different, there is no simple and direct way to convert between the old GCSE A*-G grades and the new 9 to 1 number grades.

However, to ensure that the new system is fair to those students taking the new exams, the government has fixed the percentages of students gaining particular grades against the old system.

So, for example, the same proportion of students who gained a ‘C’ and above in the old GCSEs, will now gain a grade 4 and above in the new GCSEs. However, this does not mean that a grade 4 is equal to a C grade as the content is so different.

Likewise, the same proportion of students who gained an ‘A’ and above in the old GCSEs, will now gain a grade 7 and above in the new GCSEs. However, this does not mean that a grade 7 is equal to an A grade as the content is so different.

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Assessment in Key Stage 4

Students start GCSE courses in year 10. GCSEs are graded 9 to 1, rather than A* to G. Grade 9 is the highest grade, set above the current A*.

The grades were given for the first time in 2017 results for specifications that first started teaching in 2015. From 2019, all GCSE results will be using the new system.

The Government has said that grade 4 is a ‘standard pass’. Grade 5 is a ‘strong pass’ and equivalent to a high C and low B on the old grading system. Grade 4 remains the level that students must achieve without needing to resit English and Maths post-16.

This booklet is intended to explain what the new grades mean so that you can better understand the changes that we have made to your son’s target grades on their progress reports.

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Assessment in Key Stage 3

At Audenshaw School, all students in years 7, 8 and 9 are assessed on the new scale of 9 to 1. This is also the approach that the majority of schools in the country are taking.

It is important that as a school, and as parents, we all view your son’s progress as a journey. Small steps every term, whilst building knowledge and developing skills, is the key to eventual GCSE success. Students do not start their GCSEs until year 10 but we assess them using the GCSE scale. This is so that we are consistent and don’t suddenly change the method of assessment for our students. They will be building skills and knowledge towards the GCSE, but GCSE itself still remains a two year course. If you would like more information on our Curriculum in years 7 to 9 please see our Curriculum Intent and Curriculum Allocation Map.

For our younger students, being assessed on a 9 to 1 scale creates a strong element of challenge but they have five years in the school to work to improve their knowledge and skills. The new criteria sets a high standard, that we want all of our students to strive to achieve. A small minority of students in year 7 will not be working at the equivalent to a GCSE grade 1. To support these students, we have added a ‘working towards’ grade to the scale (W). In this way, we can still accurately measure progress for each individual child.

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Target Setting

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These changes will have implications for target setting in schools. Our students have been informed of the changes through assemblies and this message will be reinforced in both lessons and form time.

At Audenshaw School we set targets for maths and English that would put students in the top five percent for progress across the country. These are highly aspirational targets and our students are pushed, and supported, toward achieving them.

All other subjects are set aspirational targets that would see them in the top twenty percent of students for progress nationally.

Targets will be reviewed during the academic year and tailored to individual students.

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