CCEA is engaging with employers and employer organisations, to help them understand the changes to GCSE grading and to ensure that everyone has the necessary information to enable them to make safe and fair decisions based on GCSE grades.
How will university entry requirements reflect changes to GCSE grading?
CCEA is engaging with universities, to ensure that they have all the necessary information to enable them to make safe and fair decisions based on GCSE grades.
Universities set their own entry requirements for courses and make offers to students which are generally based on A level results. Many universities also set eligibility criteria which potential students must meet if they are to receive an offer for a course. These criteria may include GCSE results, mainly at C and above.
Over 80% of universities that took part in a recent UCAS survey indicated that if they have asked for a grade C in the past they would continue to do so, or a grade 4 in the 9-1 grading scale.
How will universities allocate points for GCSEs for competitive courses?
Some universities allocate points for GCSE grades for a small number of highly competitive courses, like medicine and dentistry. Queens University Belfast (QUB) currently allocates points for grades A* and A for these courses.
With the introduction of 9-1 GCSE grades, QUB will allocate the following points:
- 4 points to grades A*, 8 and 9
- 3 points to grades A and 7
Once the new CCEA grading is introduced, QUB will allocate the following points:
- 4 points to grades A* and 9
- 3 points to grades A, 7 and 8.
Will the status of a “C” grade remain the same? What is the equivalent of the “C” in the 9-1 grades?
For schools, FE colleges and employers that currently use a grade C as a threshold grade for entry onto courses or for a job, there is no reason to change this. When comparing number grades to letter grades, the grade 4 is equivalent to a grade C.
Will DE performance measures for schools still be A*-C or will they change to A*-C*?
DE has no plans to change school performance measures at A*-C with the introduction of the new C* grade. For GCSEs graded 9-1 this performance measure will be 9-4.
Why do some universities currently have on their website information indicating that a GCSE 7 (9-1 grading scale) is equivalent to an A (CCEA A*-G)?
This information is based on the CCEA GCSE legacy grading scale which was in operation until the summer 2018 examination series. The new CCEA grading scale (first awarded at qualification level in 2019) will affect entry to universities from September 2021.
How do I find out more information about the new CCEA GCSE grading?
The below PDF has details on setting grade boundaries and awarding grades in CCEA’s revised GCSEs.