Who decides the grades?

When marking is complete, the awarding process begins. This is where grade boundaries for exams, coursework and controlled assessments are set.

Exam boards use a group of senior examiners who are experts in that subject to carry out the process. They make up the awarding committee. 

Exam boards aim to produce papers with the same level of difficulty year-on-year, but this isn’t possible because each exam is different. That’s why new grade boundaries might be set each year by the awarding committee. 

Grade boundaries are the minimum mark required for a particular grade. So, for example, a C boundary of 50 means the student needs at least 50 marks to get a C grade. 

Once all the marking has been completed, senior examiners meet to decide where to set the grade boundaries. They will consider the standard of the work they have marked, review a range of student work with marks near to the grade boundaries and look at a range of statistical information about the candidates entered, previous performance and how the papers have functioned before reaching their decision. 


We have a video guide to marking and awarding or you can read about it  in one of our Spotlight articles.