The Student Room Group

Why are there 2 pass grades on the new GCSE system?

It doesn't make sense. A grade 3 is a high E/low D, grade 4 should be a high D/Low C, a grade 5 is high C/low B, a grade 6 is a high B/low A so judging by that logic, a grade 5 should be the pass mark that everyone has to achieve to avoid post 16 resits
(edited 1 year ago)
I don't know about the new grading system what has it changed to? When I took GCSE the grades were:
9 - A**
8 - A*
7 - A
6 - B
5 -C
4 - D
- - - - - - - -
3 - E
2 - U
1 - G
Original post by Anony345533
It doesn't make sense. A grade 3 is a high E/low D, grade 4 should be a high D/Low C, a grade 5 is high C/low B, a grade 6 is a high B/low A so judging by that logic, a grade 5 should be the pass mark that everyone has to achieve to avoid post 16 resits


See https://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/2018/03/02/gcse-9-to-1-grades-a-brief-guide-for-parents/ where it says this:

"We have designed the grading so that there are comparable points at key grades. The bottom of a grade 7 is comparable to the bottom of the old grade A, the bottom of a new grade 4 is comparable to the bottom of the old grade C, and the bottom of the new grade 1 is comparable to the bottom of the old grade G. We have been clear to employers, universities and others that if they previously set entry requirements of at least a grade C, then the equivalent now would be to require at least grade 4." [emphasis mine]

So an award of a grade 4 means that under the old system you would have received a C.
Original post by georginakeen_
I don't know about the new grading system what has it changed to? When I took GCSE the grades were:
9 - A**
8 - A*
7 - A
6 - B
5 -C
4 - D
- - - - - - - -
3 - E
2 - U
1 - G

When did you take your GCSEs?

A grade 4 is seen as a standard pass, equivalent to the bottom of a C grade. A grade 5 is a strong pass and it is a high C. Right now I read something along the lines of the passing grade was a grade 5 before and the government changed the passing grade to a grade 4 at the last minute as they were worried that most people were going to fail and this was for the first cohort in 2017. Since then apparently the passing grade remains at grade 4.
Original post by Anony345533
It doesn't make sense. A grade 3 is a high E/low D, grade 4 should be a high D/Low C, a grade 5 is high C/low B, a grade 6 is a high B/low A so judging by that logic, a grade 5 should be the pass mark that everyone has to achieve to avoid post 16 resits


The performance requirements to be awarded a grade 4 were designed to be the equivalent to a low C. Any standard of grade C was the level that had previously been set to be judged 'a pass' and so by that logic a grade 4 logically should be accepted as a pass. Politicians wanted to set the bar for a pass as grade 5 but that would massively increase the numbers of students who would 'fail'. They were persuaded that this would be both unfair to candidates and stupid for the education system. As it is, more than 30% of candidates don't achieve a pass in maths first time. Following your logic that failure rate would be around 50%.

What problem do you so enthusiatically want to solve? Employers and Education providers are free to set their requirements as higher than the grade 4 pass - and they frequently do where they feel a higher level of performance/aptitude is required.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by gdunne42
The performance requirements to be awarded a grade 4 were designed to be the equivalent to a low C. Any standard of grade C was the level that had previously been set to be judged 'a pass' and so by that logic a grade 4 logically should be accepted as a pass. Politicians wanted to set the bar for a pass as grade 5 but that would massively increase the numbers of students who would 'fail'. They were persuaded that this would be both unfair to candidates and stupid for the education system. As it is more than 30% of candidates don't achieve a pass in maths first time, following your logic that failure rate would be around 50%.

What problem do you so enthusiatically want to solve? Employers and Education providers are free to set their requirements as higher than the grade 4 pass - and they frequently do where they feel a higher level of performance/aptitude is required.

There is no problem. I'm just saying If grade 4 is a pass and it is not a high D (it just seems stupid to me that there is no exact grade like exactly a grade B and it's either equivalent to a high B or low B with the new system for example) then name the grade 4 as a pass, don't name it standard pass and grade 5 strong pass. Naming it 2 passes like that can confuse people, just name grade 4 a pass and grade 5 is not anything.

The fact that grade 4 is a standard pass and grade 5 is a strong pass would suggest what you said and I think I mentioned this in a previous post, the fact that grade 5 was the pass mark but the department for education decided at the last minute that a grade 4 is a pass to avoid fails.

I have only ever come across as universities wanting grade 5 English and maths and not grade 4 though. Can you go to uni with a grade 4 in English and Maths? I do know that some education providers accept a grade 4 in English and maths to be considered for A Levels but I haven't come across universities accepting that.

I also know that some jobs ask for grades 4 in English and Maths and others ask for higher like grade 5/6.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Anony345533

Can you go to uni with a grade 4 in English and Maths?


Yes you can, many courses simply specifiy a pass in maths and English language. Higher requirements are exceedingly common, especially for courses for example where competence and confidence in maths is required.

P.S. I agree they really muddled it up when going from eight grades A*-G to nine grades 9-1. In time, nobody will remember A*-G grades so they will probably mess with it again and change it to 10 Greek letter grades or something.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by georginakeen_
I don't know about the new grading system what has it changed to? When I took GCSE the grades were:
9 - A**
8 - A*
7 - A
6 - B
5 -C
4 - D
- - - - - - - -
3 - E
2 - U
1 - G


9 is high A*
8 is low A*
5 is a high C
4 is a low C
Original post by Anony345533
It doesn't make sense. A grade 3 is a high E/low D, grade 4 should be a high D/Low C, a grade 5 is high C/low B, a grade 6 is a high B/low A so judging by that logic, a grade 5 should be the pass mark that everyone has to achieve to avoid post 16 resits


Grade 4 is a Low C. It's not a D at all.
Grade 5 is a High C, yes. It's not a low B.
Grade 6 is a B. It's not an A at all.
It’s worth remembering that students in Wales and NI (and iGCSE iirr) still get GCSEs grades A*-G - which is why it’s silly for universities/employers to split hairs over whether someone gets a 4 or a 5 (or an 8 or a 9) - there’s no way to tell if someone with a C in GCSE would have got a 4 or a 5.
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
Grade 4 is a Low C. It's not a D at all.
Grade 5 is a High C, yes. It's not a low B.
Grade 6 is a B. It's not an A at all.

I mean that's the way my school said it so apologies if I got that wrong.
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
Grade 4 is a Low C. It's not a D at all.
Grade 5 is a High C, yes. It's not a low B.
Grade 6 is a B. It's not an A at all.

I remember my school used to always count grade 4 as a pass in mocks, and if you didn't achieve that then you would drop higher maths and drop to set 3 maths and do foundation. Then I see in the summer holidays, there was an article saying the department for education was going to make grade 5 a pass, but in a U-turn, decided that grade 4 would now be the benchmark and that is what you have to achieve to avoid post 16 resits. That's what made me think, was a grade 4 a high D? If you look at a picture of the charts comparing to each other, 4 is not exactly a C it falls slightly below it, same with other grades.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Anony345533
I remember my school used to always count grade 4 as a pass in mocks, and if you didn't achieve that then you would drop higher maths and drop to set 3 maths and do foundation. Then I see in the summer holidays, there was an article saying the department for education was going to make grade 5 a pass, but in a U-turn, decided that grade 4 would now be the benchmark and that is what you have to achieve to avoid post 16 resits. That's what made me think, was a grade 4 a high D? If you look at a picture of the charts comparing to each other, 4 is not exactly a C it falls slightly below it, same with other grades.


https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/719124/Grading_new_GCSEs25.6.2018.pdf

4 isn’t below a C. Any chart implying it is is incorrectCEB4B489-B2A8-41DE-A8E1-1206230F2F95.jpeg
(edited 1 year ago)

I don't know if the chart is bent then but look closely at grade 8 and A*, they aren't properly aligned. I think it's the way they printed the chart then. The grades are what it is, the chart is just wonky.
Original post by Anony345533
I don't know if the chart is bent then but look closely at grade 8 and A*, they aren't properly aligned. I think it's the way they printed the chart then. The grades are what it is, the chart is just wonky.


It's supposed to be wonky.
A grade 7 would have been an A,
A grade 9 would have been an A*.
A grade 8 might have been a high A or might have been a low A*
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Anony345533
It doesn't make sense. A grade 3 is a high E/low D, grade 4 should be a high D/Low C, a grade 5 is high C/low B, a grade 6 is a high B/low A so judging by that logic, a grade 5 should be the pass mark that everyone has to achieve to avoid post 16 resits

I’m not sure it is really that useful referring back to the old grading system, as the new system was implemented quite a few years ago, so you should just stick to that to avoid confusion. Grade 4 is a pass. Many university courses require just a pass ie grade 4, in specific subjects, normally maths and/or English, and others will require higher grades, say a 5, 6 or even 7. Don’t think I’ve seen specific GCSE grade requirements being higher than that, but of course for the hyper competitive courses, the better your GCSE grades, the better your chance are of getting in, although it is not normally the biggest factor.
Original post by Anony345533
I don't know if the chart is bent then but look closely at grade 8 and A*, they aren't properly aligned. I think it's the way they printed the chart then. The grades are what it is, the chart is just wonky.


The chart is not wonky. It's offset on purpose.

9 = high A*
8 = low A*
7 = A
6 = B
5 = high C
4 = low C
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
The chart is not wonky. It's offset on purpose.

9 = high A*
8 = low A*
7 = A
6 = B
5 = high C
4 = low C

I just noticed there are more passing grades now.
Original post by Anony345533
I just noticed there are more passing grades now.


yes there are more people passing now. When I took my GCSEs in 2000, only 56.6% of GCSE entries resulted in a passing grade. Compared with in 2019 whereby 67.3% of GCSE entries resulted in a passing grade.

I don't necessarily equate that with a change in grading from the letters to numbers system though, because the trend has been a steady increase in passing grades since the 80s (41.9% of GCSE entries resulted in a passing grade in 1988).
Could be that exams have just become easier, or that teaching methods have improved, or a great many other factors to be honest.

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