Major changes to GCSE examinations confirmed by Ofqual

Exam regulator Ofqual has confirmed a set of radical changes to GCSE examinations taken in England, which will alter what is studied as part of the qualification, and how. Head of Ofqual Glenys Stacey has described the changes as ‘The biggest change in a generation.’ 

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Students due to take GCSE exams in 2017 will be the first to face the new changes

GCSE examinations will be studied for across the current two-year period, however all exams will be taken at the end of two-year study, abandoning the current modular system. It is speculated that coursework and controlled assessments will also be scrapped for most subjects.

The current GCSE grading system of A*-G is to be replaced with a numerical system, ranking achievement from one to nine – with nine being the highest grade. The lowest grade applicable will be U for unclassified.

The first phase of changes will be instigated with students due to take GCSE examinations in 2017, with English and maths being the first subjects affected. The two-tier paper option for students studying maths will remain in place, however will not do so for English – meaning one exam will be taken by students of all abilities. A further 20 GCSE subjects will face these changes for exams due to be taken in 2018.

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