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From 2017, reformed GCSEs in England will be graded 9 to 1, and will ultimately replace the current A*–G grading scale.

Why has the grading system changed?

The 9 to 1 grading system has been put in place to accurately reflect the differentiation of students’ abilities and achievements in each subject compared to the previous A* to G scale. The system will provide more differentiation, especially among higher achieving students.

When will students first receive the 9 to 1 grade?

The grades will be awarded for the first time in summer 2017 exam results, for specifications that first started teaching in September 2015. The only subjects to be awarded 9 to 1 in summer 2017 are English Language, English Literature and Mathematics. By 2019, all reformed GCSEs in England will be using the new system.

Grade descriptors for 9 to 1 GCSEs

Ofqual has developed grade descriptors for the reformed GCSEs graded 9 to 1. The grade descriptors are designed to provide an indication of the likely level of performance at grades 2, 5 and 8.

Ofqual's grade descriptors have been developed with awarding organisations and subject experts and, drawing on the relevant subject content published by the Department for Education (DfE) as well as the assessment objectives published by Ofqual. They’re not designed to be used for awarding purposes, unlike the ‘grade descriptions’ that apply to current GCSEs graded A* to G.

Useful links and resources

Ofqual: How the top grades will be awarded in new GCSEs
Ofqual postcard: Grading the new GCSEs from 2017
Ofqual postcard: New GCSE grade descriptors
Ofqual consultation: Setting the grade standards of new GCSEs in England: 2017 & 2018
Follow Ofqual Twitter