Thousands of students across the country have been anxiously waiting in anticipation for today’s “Result’s Day” to receive their GCSE results that have actually been reported to be “the hardest since O-Levels”.

There have been a vast amount of changes that took place just this year alone, from syllabus changes, mark schemes, to grading systems.

Philip Nye, a researcher with the thinktank Education Datalab, said: “With all of the changes this year, it’s quite likely that there’ll be more requests for re-marks. And we might see more of these requests for re-marks coming from top independent schools – with pupils, parents and the schools themselves keen to bag every 9 they can.”


So What Are The Changes?

These include a new numerical system from 9-1, used for grading to replace the previous A* – G system.

Fewer A*s will be rewarded as it will be spilt with between a grade 9 and a grade 8, with the hope to provide a clear distinction between the best performing students. This means that some students could be academic but deemed as “average” as a result of these new changes. There is also the ambiguity around what is deemed as a “pass”. A grade 4 has been documented as the national pass mark however a 5 is labelled as a “strong pass”, which colleges and universities are able to set as entry requirements.

“And don’t tell me it’s all fine because they’ll adjust the grade boundaries – it still makes pupils feel they’re failures.” Peter Hyman, executive head teacher of School 21 in east London

As this is the first year that the new changes are being examined, teachers have complained about “working in the dark” with the new syllabus and few practice paper material being provided to students prior to the exams. Variations between schools are likely to arise due to confusion over the new marking scheme, potentially causing an unfair bias.

Changes to course content will lead to an increase in the volatility in results.

“Exam boards expecting to see a surge in requests for GCSE re-marks”

The aim of these changes are “to stretch UK pupils so that they can catch up with those in East Asia”.

But will raising the bar help students ‘jump higher’ or just give up?


Course Work Scrapped

Course work and continuous assessment have been scrapped. Now, all exams will be at the end of the year with more challenging content. If that isn’t enough, all examined material need to be learned by heart, including poems and literary excerpts.

The new system clearly isn’t very representative of different learner types, it is geared towards those that ‘test well’. As we are all aware, there are many different learner types, for example some are better at practical exams, others are better at coursework and some are better at exams. However, end of year exams are not representative of all groups. The wider implications of this could be rejected college or university places as a result of inaccurate representation of academic abilities.

Hold onto your seats because that’s not everything! A number of GCSEs have been taken off the syllabus, especially creative GCSEs, and replaced with ones that fit the previous baccalaureate format.

Is this likely to effect young people’s overall development?

A 2002 report by the Arts Education Partnership revealed that schoolchildren exposed to drama, music and dance are often more proficient at reading, writing, and math.

2006 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum study on art education showed a link between arts education and improved literacy skills.

Arts are an important form of expression. Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. Students from lower income household may not be able to financially access any other means of arts provision.


GCSEs they’re no longer offering:

  • GCSE Applied Business Studies (Double Award)
  • GCSE Classical Civilisation
  • GCSE Electronics
  • GCSE Law
  • GCSE Leisure and Tourism
  • GCSE Additional Applied Science
  • GCSE Application of Mathematics
  • GCSE Business and Communication Systems
  • GCSE Design and Technology: Short Course
  • GCSE Environmental Science
  • GCSE Expressive Arts
  • GCSE Further Additional Science
  • GCSE General Studies
  • GCSE Health and Social Care
  • GCSE Home Economics: Child Development
  • GCSE Home Economics: Food and Nutrition
  • GCSE Human Health and Physiology
  • GCSE Humanities
  • GCSE Methods in Mathematics
  • GCSE Performing Arts (incl. Double Award)
  • GCSE Information and Communication Technology


Let us know your thoughts!

How did results day go for you?