ITV is reporting that as few as 200 teenagers could gain a clean sweep of top grades in this year’s GCSE exams, a study predicts.
New grades are due to be awarded for the first time this year in many GCSE courses – including key academic subjects such as science, history, geography and languages. But few youngsters are likely to gain the highest result – a grade 9 – across all of their courses, according to research seen by the Press Association.
The paper published by Cambridge Assessment predicts that, among those taking at least eight GCSEs, between 200 and 900 will walk away with grade 9s in all subjects.
School leaders said the findings, which come just weeks before pupils learn their GCSE results, show achieving straight top grades under the new system is “extremely difficult” and will be a rare achievement.
The study used GCSE data from 2016 to predict the number of teenagers that are likely to achieve straight grade 9s in this summer’s exams.
The most conservative estimate, based on the numbers that scored all A* grades, suggests that around 200 candidates taking at least eight GCSEs will score 9s across the board.
The other two predictions take a more speculative approach, and take into account the varying abilities of those who scored A* grades – such as those scoring at the top end of the grade.
In these scenarios, the study concludes that up to 900 students could walk away with straight grade 9s.
Study author Tom Benton said: “Students should not be despondent, you do not need a clean sweep of grade 9s, and almost nobody is going to do it. You’re talking about the top 0.1%.”
In 2016, around 2,000 students gained A* in at least eight GCSEs, the author said.
“Getting a grade 9 is a bit harder than an A*, but it is achievable,” he said. “It’s fine for students to have it as an ambition, but don’t get disheartened if you don’t get them across the board.”
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