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Some subjects will retain coursework on a non-assessed basis, with the completion of certain experiments in science subjects being assumed in examinations, and teacher reporting of spoken language participation for English GCSEs as a separate report.Other changes include the move to a numerical grading system, to differentiate the new qualifications from the old-style letter-graded GCSEs, publication of core content requirements for all subjects, and an increase in longer, essay-style questions to challenge students more.Each GCSE qualification is in a particular subject, and stands alone, but a suite of such qualifications (or their equivalent) is generally accepted as the record of achievement at the age of 16, in place of a leaving certificate or baccalaureate qualification in other territories.
Alongside this, a variety of low-uptake qualifications and qualifications with significant overlap will cease, with their content being removed from the GCSE options, or incorporated into similar qualifications.
GCSE examinations in English and mathematics were reformed with the 2015 syllabus publications, with these first examinations taking places in 2017.
The remainder were reformed with the 20 syllabus publications, leading to first awards in 20, respectively.
Qualifications that are not reformed will cease to be available in England.
It is comparable to the UK reformed GCSEs in terms of the level of demand and assessment standards.
Courses: In English and Welsh schools, to Year 9 and 10 students, with the course generally lasting until the end of Year 11. A series in November is also available for mathematics and English.They replaced the former CSE and O-Level qualifications, uniting the two qualifications to allow access to the full range of grades for more students.However the exam papers sometimes had a choice of questions designed for the more able and the less able candidates.Before 1975, the grading scheme varied between examination boards, but typically there were "pass" grades of 1 to 6 and "fail" grades of 7 to 9.However the grades were not displayed on certificates.The CSE was graded on a numerical scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest, and 5 being the lowest passing grade. The highest grade, 1, was considered equivalent to an O-Level C grade or above, and achievement of this grade often indicated that the student could have taken an O-Level course in the subject to achieve a higher qualification.As the two were independent qualifications with separate syllabi, a separate course of study would have to be taken to "convert" a CSE to an O-Level in order to progress to A-Level.Before the introduction of GCSEs, students took CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education) or the more academically challenging O-Level (General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level) exams, or a combination of the two, in various subjects.The CSE broadly covered GCSE grades C-G or 4-1, and the O-Level covered grades A*-C or 9-4, but the two were independent qualifications, with different grading systems.Upon introduction, the GCSEs were graded on a letter scale, from A to G, with a C being set as roughly equivalent to an O-Level Grade C, or a CSE Grade 1, and thus achievable by roughly the top 25% of each cohort.Over time, the range of subjects offered, the format of the examinations, the regulations, the content, and the grading of GCSE examinations has altered considerably.