Results and certification

Understanding marks and grades

Get an overview of how we mark assessments and consistently award grades that fairly reflect a learner's performance.

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To ensure that our qualifications continue to receive recognition from employers and education providers, we have to demonstrate that learners of the same ability are awarded the same grade, regardless of when they completed their course. The information below explains how we do this.

Setting grade boundaries to fairly reflect performance

We set new grade boundaries each time a new exam or assessment is completed. They indicate the minimum number of marks students need to achieve to get a particular grade.

The GCSE (9-1) qualifications are linear, rather than the original modular structure. Over the years, most of the modular qualifications will be phased out.

Find out more in our 9-1 FAQs

9-1 table

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Understanding GCSE 9-1

This video explains the key changes to GCSE qualifications and how, through the awarding process, exam boards will ensure that results are comparable to previous years and students are not disadvantaged during this time of qualification change.  

How are grade boundaries set for GCSE 9-1? 

This video explains the ‘awarding’ process we use to create grade boundaries for GCSE 9-1 to ensure students receive a fair grade based on exam performance.

How are grade boundaries set for A-G? 

This video explains the ‘awarding’ process we use to create grade boundaries for A*- G to ensure students receive a fair grade based on exam performance and coursework.


What evidence do the awarding committee review?

Our experts need to balance a range of evidence when deciding where the grade boundaries should fall. This ensures that students receive a fair and consistent grade regardless of which awarding organisation they take their qualification with or when they complete their course.

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Balanced evidence image

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The raw mark is the number of marks a learner achieved on an exam or assessment.

The UMS mark (Uniform Mark Scale mark) or points score is a conversion of the raw mark.

The raw mark is never shown on your results slip, so students will either see a UMS mark, a points score or no numerical mark at all.

Exams Officers can find the raw mark on the 'Component Mark List' report from Edexcel Online. If you have access to ResultsPlus or ResultsPlus Direct, you can also find the raw mark on the question paper screen.

For some of our qualifications, components can be taken at different times throughout the course. For example, some of our Edexcel A level Mathematics exams can be completed in the first or second year of study.

To make sure that any differences in the difficulty of exams or assessments are taken into account when adding up your marks to give an overall grade, we convert the ‘raw’ or exam paper mark into a UMS mark.

UMS grade boundaries are fixed so they are the same for each exam session. Raw mark grade boundaries may change for each exam session.

Points scores are used in qualifications like Edexcel Functional Skills and BTECs. They are a numerical representation of Pass, Merit and Distinction grades.

Your overall qualification grade is calculated by converting your unit grades into points scores, adding them together and comparing your total points score to the grade boundaries. 

Read more about how to calculate a BTEC qualification grade

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