Examination Reforms

Examination Reforms

GCSE, AS and A level reforms in England

GCSE, AS and A level qualifications are being reformed. The new subjects are being introduced gradually, with the first wave being taught from September 2015. Subjects that have not been reformed will no longer be available for teaching from September 2018.

Expand the sections below for further detail on each level of study.

Reformed GCSEs

  • Will have more demanding content
  • have been designed for a two-year period of study
  • will be linear, so students will take all of their exams at the end of the course
  • degree of non-exam assessment will reflect balance and nature of new subject content
  • will have a new grading scale from 9 (top grade) to 1
  • students studying combined science will receive one of 17 possible grades, from 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 2-3… to 9-9

Reformed AS and A levels

  • content refreshed with greater input from universities
  • AS results will no longer count towards an A level
  • will be linear, with AS assessments typically taking place after one year of study and A levels after two
  • will keep the A* to E grading scale (A to E for AS level)
  • degree for non-exam assessment will reflect balance and nature of new subject content
  • grading standards stay the same

The following explanatory documents have been published by Ofqual to provide a summary overview of what the reforms represent and how you can expect them to be rolled out over the coming years.


A summary of the program of reforms to GCSE, AS and A level exams The Reforms

The new grading system for AS and A level exams specifically Grading New AS and A Levels

The timeline for the implementation of the changes to GCSEs Awarding for new GCSE Cohorts

Updated practical requirements for science qualifications Improving Science Practicals

The spoken language assessment will be presented as a separate result Spoken Language in New GCSE English Language

The new grading system for GCSE qualifications specifically 9-1 GCSE Grading System