Teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their GCSE exam results today (August 24).

Their grades will be used to help them progress to sixth form, college or training.

GCSE grades can be different across the UK but how will students’ grades in England, Wales and Northern Ireland differ?

GCSE grades are different across the UK – here’s how

GCSEs are graded using a numerical system from 9 to 1 in England rather than from A* to G, with 9 being the highest grade.

Witney Gazette: Grading for GCSEs is different across the UKGrading for GCSEs is different across the UK (Image: Niall Carson/PA)

In general, a grade 7 and above is roughly equivalent to an A and above, while a grade 4 and above is roughly equivalent to a C and above.

Grade 4 and above is considered a “standard pass”.

However, performance data released by the government highlights the percentage of pupils in a school who achieved a 5 or above in English and maths GCSEs which is roughly equivalent to a high grade C or low grade B.

The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment in Northern Ireland uses a nine-category grade scale A* – G which includes a C*.

In Wales, the traditional eight-category grade scale A*- G has been retained.

How do approaches to GCSE grading differ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The exams regulator in England has said this year’s GCSE results will be lower than last year but they are expected to be similar to 2019 as part of its plan to return to pre-pandemic grading this summer.

However, Ofqual has built protection into the grading process which should enable a pupil to get the grade they would have received before the pandemic even if their quality of work is a little weaker this year.

Witney Gazette: GCSEs are different across the UKGCSEs are different across the UK (Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It comes after Covid-19 led to an increase in top GCSE grades in 2020 and 2021 as results were based on teacher assessments instead of exams.

Exam regulators in Northern Ireland and Wales have said they don’t expect to return to pre-pandemic grading levels until next year.

In Wales, results are expected to be “broadly midway” between those awarded in 2022 – the first year students sat exams following the pandemic – and 2019.

How were students supported when taking exams?

Pupils in England were given formulae and equation sheets in GCSE mathematics, physics and combined science exams to acknowledge pandemic disruption to learning.

In language exams, GCSE students were also not expected to confront unfamiliar words.

Students were given more time to revise as exam papers in the same subject were spaced out more in the GCSE timetable than they were prior to the pandemic.

Many GCSE students in Wales and Northern Ireland were given advance information about topics to expect in their exam papers this summer but pupils in England were not given the same support.