Updated Pearson Edexcel International GCSE (9–1) qualifications (first teaching from 2016 and 2017) will use a new 9–1 grading scale. 

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The way we develop and award our International GCSEs is fully aligned with UK government intentions to raise standards and improve differentiation between learners to best recognise those highest achievers with a nine (9–1), rather than an eight (A*–G), point grading scale. This means that students are ideally placed to make progress to International A Levels (IAL) and to universities worldwide. Ofqual has been clear that the new grade 9 should not be treated the same as the A*, and that is why we have developed a new 9–1 focused qualification.

Making a decision from the outset to move to 9–1 grading has ensured our International GCSE qualifications have been carefully re-developed to be appropriate for this grading scale. This has been set out in the design of the updated qualification content, assessment objectives, and question papers, and ensures that we can target the requirements of the new scale. By focusing on one grading scale, it also ensures we maintain our quality provision of support materials, assessment, unrivalled marking processes and reliable results.

Take a look at how the new 9–1 grading scale compares to the old A*–G scale

Download our GCSE (9–1) Centre Guide.

Watch our video about the new updated International GCSE (9-1) and hear from Derek Richardson, Vice President, Responsible Officer.

Understanding the 9–1 grading and awarding

Watch our video about the new 9–1 grade and how, through the awarding process, we will ensure that students are not disadvantaged during this time of qualification change.

The new grade 9 represents a new level of attainment and has been introduced to differentiate your top performing students. The bottom of the grade 7 aligns with the bottom of the grade A. There’s also greater differentiation in the middle range of grades, with grades 4 to 5 being equivalent to the old grade B and grade C. The bottom of the grade 4 aligns with the bottom of the grade C.  The bottom of the grade 1 aligns with the bottom of the grade G.

The new number grades will be awarded using the same tried and tested procedures that we have always used for the letter (A*–G) grades. 

Centres have come to expect a certain level of support from an awarding organisation, such as schemes of work, exemplar materials, training and endorsed published resources. But the following Pearson tools and services provide an enhanced offer to centres: ResultsPlusResultsPlus DirectExamWizard, and Subject Advisors. Furthermore, our ePen marking technology and the new free Access to Scripts (ATS) service provide customers with even more support and reassurance around results and post-results support.

As 9–1 grading has been introduced to GCSEs in England, we felt that it was important for our international GCSE learners to also benefit from the new grading scale.

We know universities will be setting acceptance criteria for GCSEs using the new 9–1 grading scale and we feel it's important that our Edexcel International GCSE qualifications are comparable to the GCSEs.

We’ve also embedded transferable skills in the qualifications and resources, which means teachers help students develop these skills while they teach, rather than having to add something additional to their lessons, and students are aware of the skills they’re developing. These skills are highly valued by universities and employers.

Next Steps

To find out more and stay up to date with the latest news on International GCSE (9-1), complete our expression of interest form.