Is Grade 4 a Good Pass in GCSE Mathematics?

The Department for Education (DoFE) initially stated that a grade 5 would be seen as a good pass, while those who achieved a fourth grade would not have to go back to studying mathematics and English. However, earlier this year, Secretary of Education Justine Greening announced that grade 4 would be considered a Standard Pass and grade 5 a Strong Pass. This summer, a new grading system for three GCSEs will be introduced in England for the first time: Mathematics, English Language and English Literature. This score expresses the student's inability to demonstrate sufficient use of knowledge or application of Mathematics to achieve any of the grading scores below.

The state school my children attend is applying for grade 5 in Math and English to stay in the Sixth Form. Widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that negative test experiences have deterred students from studying mathematics after age 16, even though their grades were intended to indicate that they were well prepared to do so. The decision to appeal a GCSE score must always be made in conjunction with the school; they will have information on how close the results were to a grade limit. England lags behind most other developed countries in participation in mathematics education after age 16, and evidence suggests that this reduces both people's income and national economic performance.

Students who achieve a D or grade 3 in GCSE mathematics are less likely to take A levels or earn a degree than those who earned a C or a grade 4, but there is little evidence that it makes a difference in their overall life satisfaction by age 20, according to new UCL research. The study showed that students who earned a C in mathematics were more likely to progress further in education and get better grades. You will need to do Mathematics and English at the appropriate level for you until you get a fourth grade in the subject. Each GCSE subject is assessed using the 9-1 grading system, with all exams set at the end of Year 11. The paper suggests that it might be necessary for GCSEs to move away from a defined set of grades and approach a continuous measurement scale with students scoring between 1 and 100, for example.

This would mean that improvements in national achievement would result in more students reaching grade 4 or higher. In the coming years, the intention is that participation in mathematics after 16 will increase dramatically. Government research shows that if you get 5 GCSEs from 4 to 9, including English and Math, you'll earn more than £80,000 more in your life than someone who hasn't.