Significant reforms to schools and college exams in the UK are having an impact on the international exams delivered by the British Council all over the world. 

Here is a summary of those changes and the position of our awarding body partners Cambridge CIE, Pearson Edexcel and Oxford AQA. 

Grading guidance 

The most significant change to the IGCSEs offered by Pearson Edexcel and Oxford AQA is the way the examinations are graded as these two boards will switch to a 9 – 1 grading structure. Cambridge has decided to maintain their A*-G grading system.

Here is a summary of the grading changes and how they relate to the current A*-G grading method, followed by our partners' positions regarding the reforms.

Cambridge CIE

  • Consultations with schools show a preference for the A*-G grading system which will continue to be offered worldwide.
  • UK universities have made clear that students applying for places with IGCSE grades will not experience a change of approach or be disadvantaged.

Pearson Edexcel

  • Gives greater scope to differentiate across the levels of attainment, rewarding outstanding achievement
  • Reward outstanding achievement with a grade 8 comparable to the old A* and 9 offering a new grade for outstanding achievement
  • Gives teachers more information about students’ attainment to help progress to A Level
  • Internationally relevant: Grade 5 linked with best available evidence of average PISA performance in high performing countries
  • Allows clear comparison with English standards, unlike old A* to G grading
  • Universities will welcome the new scale
  • Primary purpose of International GCSE is to guide progression to A level
  • International universities follow the UK government’s recommendations and structure
  • Pearson and British Council communicate with universities and ministries around the world.
  • Edexcel offers International A Level, which will continue with its current structure and is recognised by universities and ministries all over the world
  • The complete suite of Edexcel International GCSEs are being revised for first teaching 2017, first assessments from June 2019, with the new 9-1 grading scale.