French and German GCSE to benefit from easier grading from 2020

There is welcome news for pupils in Year 11 studying French and German for GCSE. Ofqual, the regulator, has announced that adjustments will be made to the grading of GCSEs from 2020 to bring French and German in line with Spanish. After a review of grading standards, Ofqual has decided that there are grounds to adjust the expectations for French and German and that the changes could mean as much as a quarter to a half a grade higher for some pupils sitting these examinations this summer. The middle to higher grades will be affected most positively with less severe marking expected in the award of grades 7 to 9.

The announcement follows intense pressure from modern languages teachers over many years, who have consistently drawn attention to the anomalies in the grades awarded for languages in comparison to other subjects. The perception of severe grading, which the review shows to be fully justified, is one factor contributing to the dramatic fall in the numbers of students opting for languages at GCSE, with French and German becoming particular casualties of this decline.

There remains no change in Ofqual’s decision with regard to severe grading at Advanced Level, where no adjustments will be made.

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