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In 2017, letter grades were replaced with a new 9-1 grading system. Grades range from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest. Grade boundaries and equivalences are as follows:
9 = High A* (roughly 85%)
8 = Low A* or high A grade (roughly 70%)
7 = Low A grade (roughly 55%)
6 = High B grade (roughly 45%)
5 = Low B or high C grade (roughly 30%). This is considered a "strong pass."
4 = Low C grade (roughly 25%). This is considered a "pass."
3 = D or high E grade (roughly 20%)
2 = Low E or high F grade (roughly 15%)
1 = Low F or G grade (roughly 10%)
U = Ungraded
GCSE's are offered in two tiers, foundation or higher level. The highest grade you can obtain for a foundation tier course is 5. The foundation tier is designed for students who are aiming for grades 1-5, and Higher tier is designed for students who are looking for grades 4-9. So, in the higher tier you can only get grades 4 to 9 or a U, which is ungraded . If a student is doing the higher tier and only just misses a grade 4 then they may be awarded a 3 which means a “nearly a pass” grade. A student should only take higher if they can confidently expect get at least a grade 4, but are really aiming for 6 or above. Approximately 50% of the marks on the higher paper are aimed at grade 7 and above (this is the usual requirement for entry to an A-level Maths course), so most of a higher paper will be too difficult to someone who’s doubtful of achieving Grade 4. Tiers cannot be mixed, so one must either take foundation or higher.
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