GCSEs were introduced to mark student achievement at the end of compulsory education at age 16.
They are also used as an indicator of the most appropriate post-16 progression route for a student.
GCSEs are sometimes used as an entry requirement for post-16 study.
Single award and short-courses are graded A*, A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
Double award qualifications are graded A*A*, A*A, AA, AB, BB, BC, CC, CD, DD, DE, EE, EF, FF, FG, GG.
Attainment that is insufficient to lead to the award of a certificate is reported as unclassified – U.
GCSEs which meet the Northern Ireland GCSE Qualifications Criteria and Design Principles may use question papers which are targeted at either a single tier covering grades A* – G or two tiers of grades A* – D and C – G. This varies from subject to subject.
Five grades at A* – C, generally including English language and mathematics, is regarded as an appropriate benchmark for Level 3 study.
The vast majority of applicants from Northern Ireland will present with GCSEs graded A* – G.
Universities and colleges with applicants across the UK that use GCSE grades in admissions will need to consider the differences between a 9 – 1 (9-point scale) and A* – G (8-point scale) model.
Website address for further information: http://ccea.org.uk/regulation