Accessability Links

Reach for the Stars / Progress 8

Posted by
24 Feb 2015
The current GCSE grading system is to undergo a radical change which will literally result in students being able to reach for the stars.

Currently in secondary schools, GCSE courses are taken in the standard core subjects - Maths, English and Science - with one or two extra chosen subjects over a period of 2 years, and final examinations taken at the end of Year 11 with the option of controlled assessments/course work contributing to the final result.

The levels available that can be achieved are A-star, A, B, C, D, E, F and G. A Grade U is classed as ungraded or unclassified. The standard level expected for college entry is A-C in the core subjects.

This system has been in place since the 1980's and has come under frequent criticism.

Pupils that finish school from 2016 onwards will no longer be graded in this traditional way, they will be measured under the new structure known as Progress 8, which should ensure that students study a varied and balanced curriculum.

The Progress 8 score is quite complex to calculate and explain, compared to the old system, but essentially:

Each student has to take 8 subjects and those subjects are placed into a different 'bucket' and the score given is dependent on which 'bucket' the subject is in, for instance Maths and English will receive double the marks of other subjects. The grade achieved will be marked a number compared to the GCSE grade


A** is a new grade not achievable previously. There is potential for the scoring to go even higher giving students literally the opportunity to reach for the stars!  The scores are then added together and divided by 10 to provide the students final result.

For Example, if a student achieved a level 5 in 8 exams sat, 10 (8 exams and double English and Maths) multiplied by 5 divided by 10 gives a score of 5, students will use the overall score as single record of their achievements, which is similar to the American method.

It will be interesting to see what if any impact this will have when it comes to moving into the world of employment, will students be judged on a single number alone, rather than being able to demonstrate strengths within the curiculem as they do at present?

This is my simplified interpretation of the information, a full explanation of how the score is calculate can be found on the website.

What do you think about this change to the system? Is it a good opportunity for students or will those that are less able struggle?
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