the Dragonfly journal

The New Maths Curriculum Grading System Explained

By Dragonfly Training

With the new maths curriculum coming into place, the maths GCSE grading system will be changing in the academic year of 2014/15 across England. By 2017, the traditional A* to G will be replaced with the numbers 1 – 9, with '1' being the lowest and '9' being the highest. Falling below the lowest number of 1 will result in what we now see as a 'U' grade, so under the new curriculum there will actually be 10 possible outcomes for pupils rather than the 9 levels of grade we see at the moment. To reiterate, a level 1 will be the lowest grade a pupil will be able to achieve so the foundation tier will give access to grades 1-5, whereas the higher tier 4-9.

According to Gov.UK: 'The new GCSE sets higher expectations; it demands more from all students and provides further challenges for those aiming to achieve top grades.' Sure enough, it is going to be more challenging for students, especially as teachers will now have to re-evaluate how they set pupils' targets and goals, especially those in year 8 and moving into KS4. 

As one of the core subjects, mathematics is a subject that every pupil should be confident and competent in. As many pupils as possible should be getting a pass in the subject by the time they are 16 due to its significance for pupils looking to remain in education. 

According to the Government response in the content consultation: 'Most able pupils should be properly stretched, with more challenging questions and more challenging material; and the mathematics GCSE must support progression and flexibility so that students can continue to study maths post-16.' With this in mind, the aim of the new curriculum is to increase the chances of those passing with a current C grade whilst stretching and challenging the most able pupils. 

 So, in a nutshell:
  • 1 will be the lowest grade and 9 will be the highest
  • Higher tier pupils will only be able to obtain grades 4-9
On the foundation course, pupils will only be able to achieve grades  1-5, very similar to the current system where the highest grade they can achieve is a C

With the new maths curriculum in place, teachers and heads of department will be eager to maintain their high standards of teaching to ensure their pupils continue to achieve the best possible grades at school. With this in mind, it would be great to hear your thoughts on the issue, as well as any insightful tips you could give to fellow maths teachers.

What's more, if you're looking for a CPD course that will give you a better understanding of the curriculum and the changes that will have the biggest effect on you, have a look at our brand new course, Becoming an Outstanding Teacher Under the New Maths Curriculum, found here: