Grading system overhaul will see number of A* grades at GCSE fall
THE number of A* grades awarded to pupils is expected to plummet when GCSE results are published this summer.
Changes to the grading scale in the north mean only "exceptional" children will now score the top grade.
There is expected to be little or no change however in the proportion of young people scoring C or above.
Pupils who began their GCSEs yesterday will be the first to receive the new C* grade.
Its creation was necessary following a move in England to scrap traditional grades in favour of a numerical system.
Exams bodies in England replaced A*-G with 9-1 - with 9 being the highest.
The north's CCEA board was, therefore, asked to create a new grade to "align with the level of achievement consistent with grade 5 on the English 9-1 scale".
This led to the creation of the C*, which will sit between the traditional B and C.
The new A* grade will be coupled with the 9 in England, CCEA said, and will "reflect exceptional performance".
CCEA said the proportion of students receiving the A* grade would reduce.
Typically, almost one in 10 entries at GCSE - roughly 16,000 - is awarded an A*. The shake up could see this fall by about three percentage points.
The A grade will align with the 7 and 8 in England and the proportion receiving A or above is expected to be similar to previous years.
The percentage achieving Bs, which equate to grade 6, and Cs, which equate to 5, is expected to fall, but only due to the creation of the C*.