Formerly, many subjects were tiered, but with the mids reform, the number of tiered subjects reduced dramatically, including the removal of tiering from the GCSE English specifications. Untiered papers allow any grade to be achieved.
Chemistry at GCSE
Coursework and controlled assessment tasks are always untiered. In the past, mathematics qualifications offered a different set of tiers, with three. This eventually changed to match the tiers in all other GCSE qualifications. When GCSEs were first introduced in , they were graded on a letter scale in each subject: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G being pass grades, with a U unclassified grade below that which did not qualify the student for a certificate. These grades were initially set such that a GCSE grade C was equivalent to an O-Level grade C or a CSE grade 1, though changes in marking criteria and boundaries over the years mean that this comparison is only approximate.
Infrequently, X and Q grades are awarded. X indicates that a course was not completed in full, and therefore an appropriate grade cannot be calculated. The Q query grade is a temporary grade that requires the school to contact the examining body. These latter two grades are both usually provisional, and are replaced with a regular grade once any issues have been resolved. X grades are also sometimes used for other purposes, on rare occasions, such as to indicate that an examiner found offensive material or hate speech within a student's responses.
In some cases, this may lead to the student losing all marks for that paper or course. These grades are most common in subjects which discuss ethical issues, such as biology, religious studies, and citizenship. In foundation tier papers, the student can obtain a maximum grade of a C, while in a higher tier paper, they can achieve a minimum grade of a D. If a higher tier candidate misses the D grade by a small margin, they are awarded an E. Otherwise, the grade below E in these papers is U.
In untiered papers, students can achieve any grade in the scheme. This scheme is being phased out in England, but remains in Wales and Northern Ireland.
From in England and in Wales and Northern Ireland on qualifications from the English-based awarding bodies , most GCSEs are now assessed on a 9-point scale, using numbers from 9 to 1, and, like before, a U unclassified grade for achievement below the minimum pass mark. The former C grade is set at grade 4 and the lower end of grade 5, with grade 5 being considered a "good pass" under the new scheme.
Although fewer qualifications have tiered examinations than before, the tiering system still exists. At foundation tier, the grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are available, while at higher tier, the grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are targeted. Once again, if a higher tier student misses the grade 4 mark by a small margin, they are awarded a grade 3. Controlled assessment and coursework tasks are untiered. The youngest person known to have achieved a grade 9 is Ellie Barnes who achieved the grade in Mathematics aged 8 years old. GCSE results are published by the examination board in August, for the previous exam series in April to June of the same year.
They are usually released one week after the A-Level results, on the fourth Thursday of August. The examination results are released to centres schools prior to the release to candidates and the public.
Some boards and schools release results online, although many still require students to attend in person to collect their results from the centre they sat exams at. In England, these results then go on to inform league tables published in the following academic year, with headline performance metrics for each school.
This allowed for students to take some units of a GCSE before the final examination series, and thus gave indication of progress and ability at various stages, as well as allowing for students to resit exams in which they did not score as highly, in order to boost their grade, before receiving the qualification.
Various qualifications were available as both modular and linear schemes, and schools could choose whichever fit best for them. Under the Conservative government of David Cameron, and Education Secretary Michael Gove, reforms were initiated which converted all GCSEs from for assessment from to de facto linear schemes, in advance of the introduction of new specifications between and for first assessment from to Both modular and linear assessment have been politically contentious, and the opposition Labour Party UK , and particularly the former MP Tristram Hunt stated that it was their policy that such reforms be halted and reversed, maintaining modular assessment in both GCSEs and A-Levels.
In some subjects, one or more controlled assessment or coursework assignments may also be completed. These may contribute either a small or large proportion of the final grade. In practical and performance subjects, they generally have a heavier weighting to reflect the difficulty and potential unfairness of conducting examinations in these areas. In the past, these were available in a variety of subjects, including extended writing in English, the sciences, business, and foreign languages; practical assessment in the sciences and technology subjects; and speaking assessments in languages.
Since the s reform, the availability has been cut back, with mostly only design and technology subjects and performing arts retaining their controlled assessment contributions. In English Language, the spoken language assessment has been downgraded to an endorsement which is reported separately on the English certificate, not contributing to the grade.
The English spoken language assessments are set throughout the course and assessed by teachers. In the sciences, practical exercises are a required part of the qualification, but are not directly assessed; they are only endorsed by a teacher's statement. The balance between controlled assessment and examinations is contentious, with the time needing to be set aside for coursework sessions being seen as a burden on the school timetable. However, the use of controlled assessment allows for the marking of some work outside of examination season, and can ease the burden on students to perform well on the day of the examination.
Any of the above must be approved by the examination board. Other forms of help are available with the agreement of the examination board, but the above are the most common. If a student is ill or an unforeseen circumstance occurs that may affect their performance in an examination, they can apply for special consideration from the examination board. The procedures vary depending on how much the student has completed [ clarification needed ] , but in the case of sitting an examination, they may receive a percentage increase on their grade [ clarification needed ] to reflect this, or a consideration of their coursework and other assessment alongside their predicted grades, to calculate a fair grade based on their other attainment.
Most universities, in addition to their post requirements, seek that their candidates have grades of C or 4 or higher in GCSE English and mathematics.
- Science KS4 | The Durham Federation.;
- Computer Science GCSE students will receive no marks for coursework amid widespread cheating fears!
- an essay in third person.
- ES News email.
Many of those who achieve below this standard will later retake GCSE English and mathematics to improve their grade. The November examination series exists for this purpose, to allow a faster path to gain these grades than waiting until the following summer's main series. Qualifications are not awarded to grades U, X or Q.
Level 2 qualifications are much more sought-after, and generally form minimum requirements for jobs and further study expectations.
Summary of changes to GCSEs from 2015
The international version of the GCSE is the IGCSE , which can be taken anywhere in the world and includes additional options relating to coursework and the language the qualification is pursued in. The education systems of current and former British territories, such as Gibraltar ,  and Nigeria, also offer the qualification, as supplied by the same examination boards. Other former British colonies, such as Singapore and Zimbabwe , continue to use the O-Level qualification.
In the United States, a high school diploma is required for entry into college or university. As A-Levels are generally expected for UK university admission. A high school diploma is not considered enough for direct university entry in the UK. US students that have studied at a university, a senior college, a community college; or graduated with a Certificate, Diploma or associate degree may have their credits and award transferred into a UK university, subject to entry requirements.
Gender bias is another area of concern. Department of Education data shows that the relative performance gap between girls and boys widened significantly under GCSEs, compared with O-Levels. The declining number of pupils studying foreign languages in the UK has been a major concern of educational experts for many years.
Moreover, the publication of "soft" subjects e. Critical Thinking, General Studies etc. Mathematics, Sciences, Languages for GCSEs and A-Levels by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge has created an ongoing educational debate where, on the one hand, many educational experts would support this "division of importance" whereas, on the other hand, many head teachers would not only disagree but actually "oppose a move to solely traditional academic GCSE and A-Level subjects".
When the GCSE system was introduced, there were comments that it was a dumbing down from the previous GCE O-Level system as it took the focus away from the theoretical side of many subjects, and taught pupils about real-world implications and issues relating to ICT and citizenship. In addition, the proportions of candidates awarded high grades at GCSE have been rising for many years, which critics attribute to grade inflation. One of the important differences between previous educational qualifications and the earlier grading of A-Levels and the later GCSE qualifications was supposed to be a move from norm-referenced marking to criterion-referenced marking.
With criterion-referenced grades, in theory, all candidates who achieve the criteria can achieve the grade. Students in will be subjected to more exams and spend longer in the exam hall. Whereas a GCSE student in had an average of 18 exams to prepare for, totalling 24 hours and 30 minutes, the examinee in will sit 22 exams — the total length of which will be 33 hours. Students are aware that their futures will be determined in those 33 hours.
They found reports of panic attacks, sleepless nights, depression, extreme fatigue, self-harming, and suicidal thoughts.
- a good introduction for a bullying essay!
- essays on the relationship between macbeth and lady macbeth.
- LIVE: % of GCSE pupils get top grade as new system rolled out | UK News | Sky News.
- BBC News Navigation.
- 5-paragraph essay and outline the hazard of moviegoing.
Though not all of the exams are in the new format, students are complaining about the memorisation load, the need to write continuously for long hours, how their social lives have been affected and the need for sleeping pills and painkillers. They have observed younger siblings starting to panic about the exams at the beginning of the course- not just in the final year or the final few months. The incorporation of GCSE awards into school league tables, and the setting of targets at school level at above national average levels of attainment, has been criticised.
This target was reached nationally about 20 years later. This was achieved with the help of equivalent and largely vocational qualifications.
GCSE marks revoked after coursework leak
The option to choose to do so is not open to state schools. A student in an independent school was times more likely to follow an IGCSE than one in a state-funded school. The Labour Party has argued that it is grossly unfair that private school pupils get an easier path into universities as a consequence. The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner MP, said: "We urgently need to get to the bottom of this situation. A full, root-and-branch review of Tory reforms to qualifications and their impact on pupils is needed.
Michael Gove, the architect of these reformed examinations, said in "Denying IGCSEs in core subjects to children in state schools will only serve to increase the level of inequality in education. Teachers and pupils have the option to question exam results and have the scripts marked again if they feel the grade awarded does not reflect the pupil's ability and expectations; or if they review a copy of the script and notice a marking error.