GCSE grades are changing – here’s a guide for HR professionals and employers. | JVP Group
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GCSE grades are changing – here’s a guide for HR professionals and employers.

31st August 2017

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Pupils collected their GCSE results last week – but employers could be wide of the mark when assessing fresh school leavers’ CVs this year, with a new number based marking system in England, confusing many employers.

GCSEs in England have been reformed and a new marking system is now in place. Instead of the usual U to A* grades, exams are now being given numerical grades from 1 to 9. Maths, English Language and English Literature are the first subjects to change – with the rest gradually changing over the next few years.

Employers should keep in mind that under the new grading system in England pupils from different nations across the UK will have results that are not directly comparable.

Take a look at our table below to see how the new grades compare with the old:


Source: https://www.gov.uk

The new system has been introduced in a bid to differentiate between high achieving pupils – they will now be split between three categories rather than two, with the highest grade 9 being given to fewer pupils than currently receive A* grades. The 6 mark is now slightly higher than the former B grade, 5 is a strong C pass and 4 is a standard C pass.

The newly reformed courses come following England’s 2011 national curriculum review and are intended to make the UK’s education system more competitive with high performing education systems across the world. The courses include more demanding subject matter, and are also designed to ensure pupils leave school better prepared for work or further study.

The Department of Education recognises the grade 4 mark as a pass for employment and further education and advises that this should still be recognised by employers and educators unless a purposeful decision has been made to raise entry standards. 

If employers outside of England decide to require a grade 5 following the new boundary changes, they should keep in mind that for pupils from Northern Ireland and Wales there is no equivalent grade, as this covers the top third of grade C and the bottom third of grade B. As the new results come out employers should be making sure that recruitment materials and practices are updated, and should be prepared to accept CVs and qualifications with numbers as well as letters.

The grades are currently only applicable in England, meaning recruiters and employers should familiarise themselves with the four different marking systems for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

If you’re an employer, what impact do you think the changes to the grading system will have on your recruitment process?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop us an email at Services@JVPGroup.co.uk or give us a call on 0844 967 4467.

Published by JVP Group on 31st August 2017.

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