Changes to grades

GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature (New specifications)


In April 2014, Ofqual launched a consultation on how standards should be set and maintained for the new GCSEs. As you may know from their previous announcement, new GCSEs are to be graded from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest.

The consultation proposes the following:
  • grade 9 will be highest, at a standard equivalent to the current top half of A*
  • grade 7 will be equivalent to the current grade A
  • grade 5 will be linked to international Pisa tests
  • grade 4 will be equivalent to the current C grade
  • grade 1 will roughly cover current F and G grades.
The highest grade - grade 9 - will be awarded to only half the proportion of pupils now achieving an A*, according to Ofqual's proposals. For the first time, there will be a link between England's exam grades and international benchmarks at the new grade 5.

It remains to be decided whether grade 4 or grade 5 will become the expected level in future for measures such as school performance tables and minimum standards for schools.

The consultation closes on 30 June 2014 and Ofqual will make decisions about the proposals in the autumn, a year ahead of the official first teaching of the new GCSEs.