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GCSE grades explained – what is the 1-9 marking system and how does it work?

2020 will be the first year that GCSE students are graded only with numbers now that the new system has been phased in.

Students have faced a chaotic few weeks in the lead up to their results as the way 2020 grades have been decided – given that no exams took place – changed at the last moment.

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The new GCSEs have been designed to be harder, and the grading means higher achieving students will stand out more.

A* had been the top grade and students only need to scrape lowest A* score, but now 9 will be the top grade and it will be equal to a high A*.

This means that 9s will be rarer and harder to achieve than A*s.

In comparison to letter grading, this is how all number grades stack up:

The change in the grading system was gradual, with Maths, English language and English literature being the first subjects to adopt the new grading format in 2017.

This year will see all the remaining few subjects that hadn’t yet made the switch to number grading do so.

The biggest change will be that grade boundaries won’t exist this year as exams couldn’t take place due to lockdown.

The chaos over how grades will be issued to students has led to Gavin Williamson reportedly offering to resign.

The government wanted to make GCSEs tougher and the new grading system is part of that plan.

Our results now fit in better with European exam results since switching to numbers.

But this year there is concern about how well students will do given their inability to take exams and the government’s plans to deliver grades.

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