Cambridge will support schools in administration zone 3 by offering 9-1 Cambridge graded IGCSEs in our most popular subjects. Schools will be able to retain A*-G or move to 9-1 grading. The syllabuses are distinguished from each other by their syllabus codes. Although they are separate qualifications, the syllabus content and the method of assessment are the same in each syllabus.
Whichever grading scale schools choose to offer, universities have informed us that they are committed to maintaining consistent entry requirements and students will be treated equally, whether they have 9-1 or A*-G grades.
How will grading work for 9-1 Cambridge IGCSE?
The grading process for 9-1 Cambridge IGCSEs will, in most respects, be the same process we use to grade all our syllabuses.
- The standards at the thresholds of grades 7, 4 and 1 are the same as the standards at the thresholds of grades A, C and G, and are therefore well established.
- To carry forward these well established standards, we will use our well established grading process. This process uses a mix of statistical and judgemental evidence, which tells us about how candidates are expected to perform and how difficult the question papers and mark schemes are.
- We will set grade boundaries for grades 8, 6, 5, 3 and 2 using arithmetic rules that space the grade boundaries at regular intervals between the boundaries for grades 9, 7, 4 and 1. The use of arithmetic grade boundaries is common to Cambridge and all other UK exam boards.
Like the GCSE boards, we will use a new approach (called the “tailored approach”) for grade 9. The tailored approach uses an equation to determine how many candidates should receive a grade 9, and allows us to set a grade boundary. The tailored approach equation is:
Proportion of those achieving at least grade 7 who should be awarded grade 9 = 7% + (0.5 × (percentage of candidates awarded grade 7 or above))
The equation takes into account the ability of the candidates entered for the exam. For example, if candidates taking a Cambridge IGCSE were more able on average than those taking GCSE in the same subject, the standard of performance required to get a grade 9 would not be affected.
Where necessary, we will use other methods alongside the tailored approach to identify the grade 9 boundary.