International GCSE and GCSE Comparability August 2022 | Pearson qualifications

International GCSE and GCSE Comparability August 2022

25 August 2022
This update is about International GCSE and GCSE English comparability.
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As the UK’s largest exam board, Pearson understands how important it is that our centres have confidence in the quality and comparability of the qualifications that they are delivering. That’s why we continually review, monitor and adjust qualifications regularly to ensure that comparability.

As has been publicised by Ofqual, we are committed to returning to the 2019 pre-pandemic standard across all of our qualifications, including our International GCSEs. We will do this by adjusting grade boundaries, on both our examined and coursework routes, in a stepped way over two summer series; the grades we award in June 2022 will, in general, be less generous than June 2021 but more generous than 2019, and in June 2023 we will, in general, return to the 2019 standard.

In addition, you may remember that in 2018 the Department for Education (DfE) and HMC published separate findings comparing International GCSEs and GCSEs in England. At the time we carried out our own research and found that we needed to make minor grade boundary adjustments to ensure comparability between International GCSE English Language A and International GCSE English Literature, and their GCSE counterparts.

Read our comparability research

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this work did not go ahead as scheduled in 2020, but we were able to start it in the June 2022 series. To avoid disadvantaging students affected by covid-related learning loss, we will also take a stepped approach to this adjustment across the June 2022 series and, should our post-series evaluation work indicate further adjustment is required, the June 2023 series. This is an extra adjustment in addition to the wider calibration already taking place to gradually return to pre-pandemic standards across all our International GCSEs.

As a result of this recalibration work you may see some slight differences in outcomes this year, and again next year. You can be confident that these adjustments ensure that the International GCSEs in English Language A and English Literature maintain comparability with their GCSE counterparts.

We have also listened to your feedback and updated our International GCSE English Language A Specification for first teaching in September 2022. As part of this work, we have amended the structure of Component 3 to provide greater alignment between the coursework and exam routes within the qualification.

Read about the amendments to International GCSE English Language A Specification

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the subject advisor, Clare Haviland at


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