GCSE RESULTS 2018: Concern over new grading system as Lancashire teenagers pick up their exam results
As teenagers across Lancashire wait for their GCSE results, headteachers have raised concerns that the new grading system sends a "demoralising message" to students who are likely to score lower results in their exams.
A "better way" needs to be found of recognising the achievement of teenagers who score lower than a 4 - equivalent to a C under the old system - in the new, tougher, GCSE courses, school leaders said.
Last year, one in five (20%) UK GCSE entries scored at least an A - or a 7 under the new system - while two thirds (66.3%) scored at least C - equivalent to a 4 under the new system.
Under the biggest shake-up of exams in England for a generation, GCSEs have been toughened up, and traditional A*-G grades scrapped and replaced with a 9-1 system, with 9 the highest grade.
According to research by Cambridge Assessment, as few as 200 students could score a clean sweep of 9s in all of their GCSEs this year.
Ahead of results day, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said it had concerns about pupils performing at the lower end of the grading scale.
Malcolm Trobe, ASCL deputy general secretary, said: "The Government's intention is that the new system provides greater differentiation between grades.
"For example, it replaces A* and A with three grades, 7, 8 and 9.
"Our concern, however, is over those pupils at the other end of the scale who are taking exams which are harder than their predecessors and who have been told by the Government that a grade 4 is a 'standard pass' and a grade 5 is a 'strong pass'.
"That is a very demoralising message to those who achieve grades 1, 2 and 3, and the new system does not work very well for them at all.
"These young people have completed demanding programmes of study and we need to find a better way to credit their achievements."