In total, about 16,100 teenagers are likely to achieve a nine in maths and 10,700 in English
language, out of hundreds of thousands of 16-year-olds in England entering for the two subjects, according to calculations.
Opinion: ‘Congratulations on the GCSE results, now lets make sure our young people are ready for a career’Overall, it is understood that no more than half of those who would have scored an A* in these core subjects under traditional grading last summer will achieve the top score, following the
deliberate move to change the system to allow more differentiation, particularly between the brightest candidates.
As teenagers were waking up to their results, school leaders warned that GCSE reforms were already causing teenagers more stress and anxiety, and this was likely to increase as more subjects switched to the new system.
Under the biggest shake-up of exams in England for a generation, A* to G grades are being replaced with a 9 to 1 system, with nine being the highest mark. English and maths are the first to move across, with other subjects following over the next two years.
The grading switch is part of wider reforms designed to make GCSEs more rigorous and challenging.
England’s exams regulator Ofqual has previously estimated that around two per cent of 16-year-old students in England will score a grade nine in GCSE English language, while around three per cent of this group will get the top result in maths.
According to analysis using data on the provisional number of entries for Year 11 students in England for these two subjects, this would mean that about 16,129 are likely to get a 9 in maths, and about 10,724 will achieve this result in English language.
Last year, four per cent of 16-year-olds in England scored an A* in English language, along with seven per cent in maths. It means that many teenagers who would have gained this highest possible grade last year will not do so this summer. This is deliberate, as there are now three top grades – 7, 8 and 9 – compared to two under the old system – A* and A -–with A* results now split into 8s and 9s.
Ofqual chief regulator Sally Collier said: “We have used the same tried-and-tested principle of comparable outcomes, as in previous years, to ensure that this first cohort of students is not disadvantaged. If a student receives a grade 7 today, they could have expected to have received a grade A last year. And if they get a grade 4, they could have expected a grade C in 2016.”
The Association of School and College Leaders secretary Geoff Barton said the new GCSEs are more challenging and there are more papers. “This is putting severe pressure on young people,” he said.