Grades A*-G to 9-1 – work in progress

How will GCSE grades A* to G translate into grades 9 to 1?

I recently posted a question on Twitter.

Responses raised many questions and revealed misinterpretations. One attempt at an answer may have resulted in further misconceptions due to the limitations of text lines in Twitter.

The Ofqual ‘postcard’ here shows the new structure.  Note that few letters and numbers are aligned.

Ofqual grade post card

Here’s another interpretation.  I use this slide to summarise with teacher groups.

Grading slide

As shown by the short green horizontal lines:

The bottom of a grade G will be the same as the bottom of a new grade 1.

The bottom of a grade C will be the same as the bottom of a new grade 4.

The bottom of a grade A will be the same as the bottom of a new grade 7.

The tops of grades G, C and A will not be the same as the tops of 1, 4 and 7.

The top of grade C will be within grade 5.  As stated, grade 5 will be equivalent to the top third of a grade C and the bottom third of a grade B.  A grade 5 will be a new DfE benchmark – described as a ‘good pass’.

Between the bottom of a grade G and the top of D (4 grades – D, E, F, G) there will now be just grades 1, 2 and 3.  Grades A and A* will be three grades, 7, 8 and 9. Hence the lack of exact equivalence of full grades in the old and new scales.

Grade 9 will be awarded to 20% of the grade 7-9 cohort.  The principles behind the grade 9 are quite different from the A* (or any current GCSE grade) because it is norm referenced.

The diagram from Ofqual’s postcard has been interpreted by some as showing grade 7 being the same as a grade A as the letter and number are exactly in line.  This is not the case – only the bottom of grades A and 7 is equivalent.

Back to my Twitter post.

A response from @A_Weatherall is copied below.  This was retweeted and favourited many times but MAY be interpreted incorrectly due to the limitation of spacing which results in letters and numbers being exactly opposite each other.

Hence this attempt to provide at least some clarification.


Have I got it right?  If not, do let me know and I will make amendments.

Thanks to Alex (who is working on a diagram to explain this further) and also Frances Wilson  who commented on a draft and suggested this link for further information: Progress 8 measure in 2016 and 2017.

For further detail, see this – a document based on the paper considered by the Ofqual Board in August 2014 in reaching decisions on setting grade standards for new GCSEs in 2017. It provides more *detailed technical explanations of the approach that Ofqual is taking.

*All 95 pages.


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