GCSE pass marks to rise

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Changes will be made to the GCSE grading system in England, beginning with exams which are taken in 2017, requiring students to achieve higher marks to receive a good pass.

The changes will be introduced in September 2015 as teachers begin to teach a new style of English and Maths GCSEs.

The changes will see grades switch from letters to numbers, with one being the lowest and nine the highest, equal to a high A*. This is in an attempt to further differentiate between students at the top end of the scale, and also make education comparisons with other countries easier.

It means that pupils will be required to achieve a Grade 5 in order to reach the equivalent of a low B or high C, with a Grade 4 equivalent to a low C. Generally a C is considered a ‘good pass’ but lower grades are still passes.

This announcement follows quickly after the government’s decision to have all students study English Baccalaureate subjects for GCSEs. Pupils will need to study English, Maths, Science, a language, and then either History  or Geography.

“This means ensuring children study key subjects that provide them with the knowledge they need to reach their potential – while setting a higher bar at GCSE so young people, their parents and teachers can be sure that the grades they achieve will help them get on in life,” said Nicky Morgan, the Education, commenting on the intended rule change.