9 to 1 grading

GCSEs are graded 9 to 1, rather than A* to G. Grade 9 is the highest grade, set above the current A*.

The grades were given for the first time in 2017 results for specifications that first started teaching in 2015. From 2019, all GCSE results will be using the new system.

See Ofqual's GCSE grading diagrams

To see how this applies to GCSE Combined Science from 2018, see our information on the new grading system.

Grade descriptors for 9 to 1 GCSEs

Ofqual has developed grade descriptors for the reformed GCSEs graded 9 to 1.

They're designed to help teachers by indicating the likely average level of performance at the mid-points of grades 2, 5 and 8. They’re not designed to be used for awarding purposes, unlike the ‘grade descriptions’ that apply to current GCSEs graded A* to G.

Equivalent GCSE grades

The Government has said that grade 4 is a 'standard pass'. Grade 5 is a 'strong pass' and equivalent to a high C and low B on the old grading system. Grade 4 remains the level that students must achieve without needing to resit English and Maths post-16.

Setting grade standards for new GCSEs

The approach to awarding the top grades will be the same for all GCSE subjects. A formula will be used that means that around 20% of all grades at 7 or above will be a grade 9.

The grade 8 boundary will be equally spaced between the grade 7 and grade 9 boundaries. To carry forward the current standard, the number of grades 7, 8 and 9 awarded for an individual subject will be based on the proportion of the cohort who would have been expected to get an A or A*, had the qualification not been reformed.

Ofqual information on 9 to 1 grading