A News story by Humayon Pramanik 24 August 2017

In a year that pupils across the country have experienced some of the biggest changes ever in the way that GCSEs are examined and marked, we have once again been given plenty of reasons to be proud of E-ACT pupils receiving their GCSE results today. 

Due to the changes in the way certain GCSE subjects have been marked this year, the focus is on grades achieved in English and mathematics. In 2016 48% of E-ACT pupils achieved A*-C grades in English and mathematics, but this year we are pleased to report that at the equivalent figure of 4+ under the new numerical grading system, this figure has risen to 50%.

There has also been much said this year about the tougher GCSE papers in English and mathematics. In spite of this we are pleased to report that 55% of pupils across the trust have achieved at least 4+ in GCSE mathematics at the new measure, an increase of two percentage points on last year.

Special mentions for E-ACT academies

While results across the trust have given us plenty of reason to smile this morning, we take this opportunity to highlight exceptional E-ACT academy performance.

The Crest Academy

  • In 2016 52% of students achieved A*-C grades in English and mathematics
  • In 2017 the equivalent figure (4+) has risen to 64%

The E-ACT Burnham Park Academy

  • In 2016 29% of students achieved A*-C grades in English and mathematics
  • In 2017 the equivalent figure (4+) has risen to 51%

West Walsall E-ACT Academy

  • In 2016 41% of students achieved A*-C grades in English and mathematics
  • In 2017 the equivalent figure (4+) has risen to 52%

The Oldham Academy North

  • In 2016 47% of students achieved A*-C grades in English and mathematics
  • In 2017 the equivalent figure (4+) has risen to 57%

What exactly has changed?

We’re aware that there has been some confusion in the run up to the release of GCSE results this year, so we take this opportunity to highlight the main changes that you need to be aware of.

There are two main changes to take into account:

  • The new numerical grading system
  • New and tougher GCSEs in English literature, English language and mathematics

Numerical grading

This year the new numerical grading system applies only to GCSEs in English literature, English language and mathematics.

In 2017:

  • Traditional letter grades (A*-G) have been replaced by numerical grades, where 9 is the highest mark and 1 the lowest.
  • Under this new system an A is equivalent to a 7 while a C is anchored at grade 4.
  • Note that there are now two levels of passes – a standard pass at grade 4 and a strong pass at grade 5.

The reason for introducing numerical grading is largely so that sixth forms, universities and employers have more detail on the highest-achieving candidates. For example, we now have 7 to 9 grades instead of just A* and A at the very top end.

New and more difficult GCSEs in English literature, English language and mathematics

This year students across the country sat tougher new GCSEs in the two core subjects of English and mathematics.

The main change here is that students were tested in final exams at the end of the course instead of in modules which involved students being tested in stages at different parts of the year.

What will be happening next year?

In 2018 another 20 subjects will have numerical grading with most others following in 2019.

Well done all!

In a year that may well be remembered by most for the changes that have taken place in the way GCSEs are assessed and graded, we would like to bring the focus back to the hard work and dedication of our students.

We know just how hard that they have been working in the run up to their exams, and we are delighted for them as they collect their results slips and no doubt complete a celebratory jig in their moment of triumph.

Many, many congratulations to you all.