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Grade Boundaries

How grades are determined

Uniform Marks

The uniform mark scale (UMS) is used to convert candidates’ component raw marks into uniform marks. All of the JCQCIC Awarding Bodies offering AS/A Level and GCSE unitised qualifications (AQA, Edexcel, CCEA, OCR, WJEC) use the same method for converting raw marks to uniform marks.

Following the marking of scripts, an awarding committee will review the quality of the work and the statistical and technical evidence for each unit.  They will decide where to set the raw mark grade boundary for that unit.  Examination papers can vary slightly in difficulty and so raw mark grade boundaries may change from series to series. Uniform mark grade boundaries are fixed, that is, they do not change from series to series.

The following table shows the raw mark grade boundaries set for a GCE A level paper in Summer 2014 and Summer 2015 and their respective UMS boundaries.

It is seen that a mark of 57 achieved in Summer 2014 represents an equal level of performance as a mark of 60 achieved in Summer 2015.

Candidates with raw marks of 57 and 60 would receive the same uniform mark (80) in Summer 2014 and Summer 2015 respectively. This is the lowest possible mark for a grade A in both cases.

Boundary at each grade

Grade Max Mark A* A B C D E
Raw Mark Summer 2014* 80 63 57 51 46 41 36
Raw Mark Summer 2015* 80 66 60 54 48 42 37
UMS mark* 100 90 80 70 60 50 40

(*These should be used as guides to grade boundaries).

UMS Grade Boundaries

The uniform mark grade boundaries are always set at the same fixed percentages of the maximum uniform mark for the unit and the overall qualification.

For GCE and Applied GCE, these are the grade boundaries:

A B C D E
80% 70% 60% 50% 40%

and for GCSE, these are the grade boundaries:

A* A B C D E F G
90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20%

The grade of the overall qualification is calculated by adding together the uniform marks achieved in the individual units. This uniform mark total is compared against the overall UMS grade boundaries which determine the final grade that is achieved.

Further information explaining the conversion of raw marks to uniform marks can be found on the individual awarding organisation websites.

  • For AQA Grade Boundaries information, please click here
  • For Edexcel Grade Boundaries Information, please click here
  • For OCR Grade Boundaries Information, please click here
  • For WJEC Grade Boundaries Information, please click here