GCSE Exam Day in Thurrock (but new system may see fewer top grades)

Exams

FEWER Thurrock teenagers will get the top mark in GCSE English and maths this year following a radical shake-up to make the qualifications tougher.

Only two per cent are expected to scoop the new numerical grade 9 in English language, compared with four per cent who achieved an A* last year.

In maths, only three per cent are likely to get a 9 – while seven per cent gained an A* under the old system.

In both cases the proportion achieving the very top mark will be roughly halved. It could damage some bright pupils’ prospects of getting an offer from Oxbridge, as those who may once have got all A* grades will find it harder to get 9s.

Yesterday (Wednesday), there were early indications of chaos and confusion over the changes as exam watchdog Ofqual said more students may get the wrong mark in comparison with previous years.

Teaching leaders warned that anxious students were being treated like ‘guinea pigs’.

The new qualifications have tougher content, are assessed through exams rather than coursework and have a new numerical scale to replace the old alphabet system.

The bottom line seems to be that many teenagers in Thurrock who would have gained the highest possible grade last year will not do so this summer.

The new scale has been created in response to concerns that universities and employers were unable to differentiate between good and exceptional candidates.

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