Myth-busting grade boundaries

There are lots of myths and misconceptions about grade boundaries. Here we bust some of the most common of these – just click on the cards to reveal the truth.

Myth: Grade boundaries stay the same each year
Truth: Grade boundaries can change each year due to question papers, mark schemes and student cohorts changing each year.
Myth: A grade is always equivalent to a set percentage
Truth: Grades aren’t a set percentage. There are variables each year such as question papers, mark schemes and student cohorts.
Myth: We decide grade boundaries before the exams
Truth: We can’t decide grade boundaries until we have seen how students have performed in the exams.
Myth: We lower grade boundaries in response to student petitions
Truth: Petitions aren’t taken into account when deciding grade boundaries. Decisions are based on students’ performance and the statistics.
Myth: Grades are decided solely by examiners’ opinion
Truth: Grades are decided by statistical evidence (how students have performed) and by examiners’ judgement (on student papers from this year).
Myth: Examiners decide all grades in the Awarding meeting
Truth: The only grades decided are A-level E and A, and GCSE 1, 4 and 7. Grades in between are calculated and set evenly.
Myth: Grade boundaries aren’t available for each paper
Truth: Overall grade boundaries and notional boundaries for each paper are both included on the results day grade boundaries document.
Myth: Grade boundaries only move by a certain percentage each year
Truth: Grade boundaries can move by any percentage, but movements tend to be small because examiners aim to write papers of the same difficulty each year.