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Out with the new and in with the old

The GCSE exams taken by British pupils at age 16 have been reformed by HM Government; this first major overhaul of the exams since their introduction in 1988 has seen them returning to something along the lines of the old O-Level they replaced.

Many successive years of pupils’ performance in the annual exams improving significantly led to political (if not national) cries that there was massive grade inflation and that too many pupils were receiving the highest A* grades, making it impossible to differentiate between pupils’ abilities. Conversely, schools, teachers and parents were duty-bound to salute the fabulous results and praise ever-more hard-working students. However, education is always the servant of its political master, and the Government has completely changed the GCSE syllabuses and exams.


  • GCSE remains a two-year course (Years 10 & Year 11)

  • There is no longer any Coursework during those two years

  • Grades are determined by an exam at the end of the two years

  • A new grading system (9-1) replaces the old one (A*-G)

  • It will now be much harder to achiever the top grade (9)

  • The new grades will be introduced in all subjects by 2019

  • Wales, Northern Ireland & Scotland will have different grading systems

Not surprisingly there have been many critics of these changes – as there were when GCSEs were first introduced in 1988 – but, just as then, it will take the new system a few years to bed in – just enough time for shouts of grade inflation and calls for reform to begin anew.

Original post at The Standard:

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