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GCSE exam tiers: Foundation or higher?

The deadline for entries for the June 2019 exam series is 21 February 2019, however knowing which tier to best apply for can be difficult.

In summers of 2017 and 2018, maths teachers generally choose the right tiers for their students, with very few students “falling off” the higher tier without a grade. However, in 2018, all sciences and modern foreign language subjects were also tiered and this led to a very different picture of student outcomes on the higher tier for these subjects. This meant that with the new qualifications, more students than expected underperformed on the higher tier in sciences and languages.

As a result, Ofqual decided, for one year only, to widen the boundaries of the pass grades (ie, 4-3 on combined science and 3 on single sciences and languages), and to add an additional pass grade of 3-3 on combined science.

6th December 2018

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