16 Dec 2019
GCSE reforms have very little effect
Research by the Sutton Trust shows that the GCSE reforms of 2015 have had very little effect on attainment rates, and that the introduction of harder exams and the new grading system has led to a slightly bigger attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged learners.
2% of disadvantaged learners gained the pre-reform A* grade, while only 1% achieved the new top grade of 9. Among non-disadvantaged pupils, 8% achieved A*, while only 5% achieved grade 9. The changes aimed to make the exams more rigorous and to differentiate more finely between grades, by switching from modules to final exams and increasing the number of grades from 7 to 9.