GCSE results changed and how employers can understand the new grading

GCSE results changed the way they were graded back in 2017 in England. They changed from lettered grades like A*, A, B, C etc to a numerical system. In the numerical system, 9 is the highest grade available and 1 is the lowest.


GCSE results- Why have they changed?

These qualifications have been designed to ensure that young people have the knowledge and skills, that may be required to better prepare them for employment or further study. They cover a more challenging content. They have been designed to match standards in the high performing education systems elsewhere in the world. Changing from numbers to letters. As an employer you can easily see whether an applicant has taken, an old (unreformed) or a new (reformed) GCSE.

Employers may notice:

Students from England may have a mix of Numbered and lettered grades. This is due to the numbered system being filtered in from 2017. Everyone who took exams in England in 2020 should only have numbered grades. All grades (numbered/lettered) will remain valid for future employment or study.

Some employers have already received applications and CVs from young people in England who have taken the new, more challenging GCSEs, with the new numerical grading scales.

It’s important that employers are able to compare these new style gradings to the old style gradings. For example, If an employer’s previous entry requirement was a grade C, it is now reasonable to ask for at least a grade 4. Furthermore, Grades 7, 8 and 9 are all fantastic grades, these correspond to the previous grades A* and A.  A grade 9 would be awarded to students that have performed exceptionally, and a grade 8 is positioned between an A* and an A. Some employers may have already considered where to set their company employment entry requirements using the new system already.

As an employer, if you are confused by what the numerical grades represent just ask the candidate to explain. Don’t miss out on great candidates because you are unsure what their grades mean!

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