1. ITV Report

GCSE results day: A guide to the new grade boundaries

Here is how the new system works Credit: ITV News

GCSEs in England have undergone the biggest shake-up for a generation.

A new system for grading GCSE results is being used for the first time this year, with the old A* to G grades being replaced with numbers from 9 to 1.

As teenagers across East Anglia collect their results, here's everything you need to know about the exam reforms:

The new English and maths courses have more content and are tougher generally. Credit: PA
  • What do the grades mean?

The first exams to be graded with the 9 to 1 system, with 9 being the highest mark are English language, English literature and Maths - core GCSEs taken by all teenagers.

A grade 7 is broadly equivalent to an A under the old system, while a 5 is a "strong" pass and a 4 is similar to a grade C.

Students who score at 4 will not have to continue studying maths and English after age 16, but schools will be judged against the proportion of pupils scoring at least a 5.

  • Why have the new grades been introduced?

The grading switch is part of wider reforms designed to make GCSEs more rigorous and challenging.

They've been introduced to allow more differentiation between students, particularly among the brightest.

To get a level 9 is harder than getting an A*, meaning far fewer students will get the top mark.

  • What about the other subjects?

From summer 2018, sciences, history, geography, and some modern languages will be tested under the new grading system.

Others such as art, music and drama will also be given grades for the first time next year.

A small number of other languages, taken by small numbers of students, will be first examined in 2020.

  • What are the alternatives to further education?

If you have missed your college requirements, there are a number of different paths you can take.

It is possible to retake GCSE exams in the autumn to try and increase your mark. If you have missed your grades, some A-level or college course may still accept you if you're planning to re-sit your exams.

But if further education isn't for you, there are a number of different options to explore.

You might want to take a vocational course rather than completing A-levels or you may want to get an apprenticeship or seek full-time employment.

  • What are the GCSE grade boundaries for 2017?

Grade boundaries from the following exam boards are now available:

It's the moment when many will decide whether to continue with their education or enter into the world of work. Credit: PA

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