'Super grade' introduction for elite GCSE students

A new GCSE 'super grade' is to be introduced to identify the most-gifted schoolchildren.

The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance - Britain's biggest exam board - will offer an A-star with distinction for the most exceptional performers.

The news will interest parents and private tutors of children who are aiming for the very highest school qualifications.

The GCSE grade is effectively two levels above an A and one above an A-star, and is being introduced at a time of increasing concerns that too many pupils are already scoring top marks in GCSEs.

The exam board said that the 'super grade' will be initially introduced as part of International GCSEs in further maths. IGCSEs are favoured in private schools and state grammars as tougher alternatives to conventional courses.

But academics insist the elite grade is almost certain to become a prerequisite to getting into leading universities and will eventually be introduced in other subjects and qualifications.

John Bangs, senior research associate at Cambridge University, told the Times Educational Supplement that "once one exam board does this, the others will follow".

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