If you have a child about to embark on their ‘GCSE journey’, there are probably any number of questions spinning around your mind. Aside from the obvious one (which is “where has all the time gone? It only seems like yesterday they were at primary school!”) you might well be wondering about the new style of GCSEs, how to encourage good study skills from the outset, and what you might be able to do to support your child in their studies.
The new GCSEs
In recent years, GCSEs have changed. In short, the new courses include much less coursework (or controlled assessment) than before, with only some of the more practical subjects like Art, Drama and Graphics containing this element of assessment. Most exams will now also be taken at the end of a two-year course, removing the module system that was previously in place for some subjects. Also, in many subjects there have been some changes to the content that they study, and students will be required to answer more essay-style questions too. There is also a new 9 to 1 grading system.
The 9 to 1 grades
A new 9 to 1 grading scheme has been introduced by the Department for Education in the hope that the new GCSEs will “better differentiate between students of different abilities”, by allowing greater differentiation for the top levels. The table below shows how the new GCSE grades compare to the old ones – although the DfE is clear to point out that each grade cannot be directly compared, there are places where they can be aligned.