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What is the old GCE O Level grade equivalent in terms of todays GCSE grades?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by kimwalsh, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. I agree with this. Has anyone ever given people who got an A at O'level, a GCSE paper to see how they would do? The content is different, the style of the questions is different.

  2. OP I would suggest you check with your ITT provider. I did the GTP and was told any pass at O Level was equivalent to C or above at GCSE. The board I took my O Levels with used a number system (I seem to recall 1 - 6 was a pass) and there was never any question that they were not suitable.
  3. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    As explained in my earlier post...Yes, I was given GCSE papers to sit...and did well.

  4. jazz2

    jazz2 New commenter

    When the secondary qualifications were 'O' Level and CSE, grades A-E at 'O' Level were technically passes, but nothing below a 'C' was considered acceptable.
    On my 'O' Level certificate, I have one subject I passed at grade 'D' so it is listed with all my other passed subjects above that grade, but I have never included it in my list of qualifications on applications. A 'D' in Science ought to be acceptable, but if it isn't accepted by
    the training provider, then there is no other option but to take the
    While the format of GCSE is different from 'O' Level, and that will impact on the ability of today's students to pass an 'O' Level paper, I agree with those who believe that the content and expectations of the old 'O' Level is still greater than the current GCSE.
    I think the comments about today's 'A' Level students taking papers from the 70s makes the distinction pretty clear - it's the ability to think independently that today's students now lack. It's a fault in the system, and contributes to the blame secondary schools place at the door of primary schools, and colleges place at the door of secondary ... and so on.
  5. Sorry, I realise that you did well but how did everyone else do?
    There are so many TV programmes where current students are given old exams but I have never seen mass publicity of the reverse.
  6. I'm afraid I think an A grade O level person would find a GCSE relatively easy!
    Some subjects, like humanities, give so many sources and resources I reckon I could easily get at least a grade C (ok, coursework excepted!) without even studying the subject. Apologies to humanities teachers but when Isat my O Levels in those subjects I had to KNOW the material, not comment on the picture!
  7. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    All the 'exam candidates' sat English Language and Maths and a selection of other papers.....no foreign languages (Damn! I was hoping for an A* in German!!!!) and no English Literature either (we all sat the papers with no revision, so wouldn't have read the set books). We sat the 'Higher' bandings of GCSE.
    Interestingly Maths had a 100% C and higher 'pass' rate. Even those who had got lower grades at O-level (Some had D,E or F at O-level...some had number grades, but I'm not fully certain how they convert...someone had a grade 6 at the 'old' O'level, taken a few years before mine - not CSE she hastened to inform us!). Everyone said the maths exam was shockingly easy (and as I used to teach maths I have to agree!)
    The 'toughest' papers were found to be Chemistry and Physics (Most people coped better with Biology). The 'easiest' were IT and Media Studies.
    It should be pointed out that a little over half of us had gone on to study at least to A-level.(Which was not as common as it is today). Also, we all volunteered for the study, so we we were well motivated and enjoyed taking the tests!

  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I must admit that up until a couple of years ago when teachers used to supervise exams I always used to take a peek at the spare papers. reckoned that if I enrolled myself for all those subjects that we didn't do when we were at school I could get at least a C grade in any of them without any need to attend a lesson. History was the easiest, the answers were all in the questions!
  9. Check with the provider - some will accept equivalencies. Might be more flexible.
  10. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    When I did O levels in 1970, the pass grades were 1-6, so a 1 and a 2 would equate to an A or A* at GCSE, a 3 and a 4 would be a B today and a 5 and a 6 would be a C.
    A CSE grade 1 at that time was equivalent to a grade 6 at O level.
    I know that my competence at subjects where I achieved a grade 3 at O level (my lowest grade) was far superior to that needed by pupils today to get a grade B.
    The issue for the OP is whether the change to categorising O levels by letters instaed of numbers involved grades 1-6 becoming grades A-F or grades A-C. If the former, grade D was a fail at O level: if the latter, it was a Pass and equivalent to a Grade B at GCSE.
  11. To apply for PGCE training I need the equivalent of Grade C GCSE in English. I got a Grade 6 'O' Level in English in 1972. I need documentary proof that this grade is equivalent to Grade C GCSE. Can anyone assist me?

    Wikipedia says it is equivalent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gcse#History_and_format - but this is not sufficient evidence!

    Chris Street
  12. Teddybea19263

    Teddybea19263 New commenter

    A gcse grade 1 was equiv to a n olevels grade c...
  13. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Last edited: May 5, 2018
  14. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Oops - zombie thread. No point replying.
    Lazycat likes this.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Quite amusing to see some of the names of posters on this from 6 to 9 years ago...Some still active, others... Not so.

    Wonder where they are now?o_O
    sabrinakat likes this.
  16. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    As was the marking, syllabus and ability to be entered for the examinations at all!

    O’ Levels were for the brighter children, and they were norm referenced even into that cohort, (possibly even negatively marked for spelling tidiness etc?) and worked to different syllabi. Direct comparisons are therefore mostly redundant, even more so for ex o’level students who get good marks taking GCSE today; they will have the benefits, not only of a couple of extra decades of additional learning, but may not suffer the same vagaries of marking.
  17. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

  18. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

  19. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    CSE grade seems odd - was worth no more than a basic pass at O Level i.e.a 6.
    The pdf link from the link confirms this - so the table is misleading.
  20. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    My memory may be failing, but I'm pretty sure the CSE Grade 1 was described as in post #37 at the time. It was. of course, a pretty different exam.

    IMHO comparisons are pretty vague & worthless.
    monicabilongame and colpee like this.

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