GCSE pass rate goes UP – but fewer students get new top ‘9’ grade compared to old A* mark

The Evening Standard is reporting that the GCSE pass rate increased today despite a radical shake-up of the grading system and the introduction of tough new exams.

But fewer students are getting the new elite 9 grade than would have scored the top A* in previous years.

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers received their GCSE results today and most exams were given numerical grades from 9 to 1 instead of the familiar A* to G scale.

The overall pass rate – the percentage of students getting a 4 or above or a C or above – was 66.9 per cent, compared with 66.4 per cent last year. 

But just 4.3 per cent of exams were given the new 9 grade, which was brought in to reward the absolute highest achievers.

Just 732 students in England got a clean sweep of seven or more grade 9s.

Previously around seven per cent of exams scored the top A* grade.

Michael Turner, director general of the JCQ, which represents exam boards, said the results show “considerable stability at a time of significant reform to the structure and content of GCSEs.”

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