I have searched the web but I can't get my head around it still. I know that "grades" are used in the US system, but I've read that this will be the case in the UK in 2018 too.

In this case would the word be used in the same way it is used in the US?

Here's the link in case anyone's interested: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/844937/GCSE-results-day-2017-grades-what-are-new-grading-system

  • Your question is a bit unclear. Is it that you think that grade is currently used differently in American and British English? If that is the case, perhaps edit and some examples to show how you think its usage might differ, and identify a specific area of concern. Also share your research to date and the relevant part of your link in the body of the question. As it stands your question will almost certainly be closed as overly broad or unclear. – tmgr Sep 17 '18 at 11:41
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    Are you having trouble because the US education system has, as I understand it, 'grades' in 'grade school' whereas the British system has 'years', 'classes' and 'forms'? My understanding is that an American child can fail to perform well enough in one year to progress to the next 'grade' at the end of the year. In the British system, in contrast, pupils progress to the next 'year', 'class' or 'form' depending on age alone. If my understanding is correct there are two usage of the word 'grade' in the US system only one of which (the exam grade) is replicated in the UK. – BoldBen Sep 17 '18 at 14:00

The word grade is in used the same way in both an American English and British English

a number or letter that shows how good someone's work or performance is

  • Steve never studies, but he always gets good grades.
  • uk Carla got a grade A in German.

An alternative word used mainly in British English is mark

mainly uk

us usually grade

a judgment, expressed as a number or letter, about the quality of a piece of work done at school, college, or university:

  • What mark did you get in the biology exam?
  • Matilda's had very good marks in/for English throughout the year.
  • uk You scored full marks in the test - ten out of ten!

Grading is

the process of judging the quality of a product, substance, or organization, or the performance of an employee:

  • The Medical Association has created a system of grading for organs that are to be donated.

  • grading rules/system/criteria Intel's three-month employee grading process begins in January. ​ a rank or level of quality given to a product, substance, person, or organization:

  • The primary school received a 'good' grading.

See Grading in Education

Grading in education is the process of applying standardized measurements of varying levels of achievement in a course. Grades can be assigned as letters (for example A through F), as a range (for example 1 to 6), as a percentage of a total number of questions answered correctly, or as a number out of a possible total (for example out of 20 or 100).

England and Wales

In the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exam taken by secondary school students in England and Wales, grades generally range from 9 (highest) to 1 (lowest). However, in GCSE Science, Additional Science, Mathematics, Statistics, English Literature, English Language, and any Modern or Classical Foreign Language, there are two tiers (higher and foundation). In the higher tier, grades 9 to 4 can be achieved, while in the foundation tier, only grades 5 to 1 can be awarded.[7] Generally, a 4 or above would be considered a pass and a 3 or below would be considered a fail by most institutions: for Mathematics and English Language and English Literature, and possibly Science, this would require a resit.

If an examined candidate does not score highly enough to get a grade 1, then he/she will be 'Unclassified'. This is often abbreviated to a 'U' as a final result.

and Grading systems by country for further information

The Express.co.uk article is basically saying the traditional British system of awarding letters A - G in the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), are to be replçaced with numbers 1 - 9

Traditional A*-G grades have been replaced in three subjects by a numerical system that scores children on a scale from 1-9.

GCSE results day 2017 saw students pick up numbered results in maths, English language and English literature only.

New grades will be rolled out for other GCSE subjects over the next two years, starting with science in 2018.

From Wikipedia (last link in paragraph above - GCSE)

The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification, generally taken in a number of subjects by pupils in secondary education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each GCSE qualification is in a particular subject, and stands alone, but a suite of such qualifications (or their equivalents) are generally accepted as the record of achievement at the age of 16, in place of a leaving certificate or baccalaureate qualification in other territories.

Studies for GCSE examinations generally take place over a period of two or three academic years (depending upon the subject, school, and exam board), starting in Year 9 or Year 10 for the majority of students, with examinations being sat at the end of Year 11. The GCSE was introduced as a replacement for the former O-Level (GCE Ordinary Level) and CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education) qualifications.

From 2015, a large-scale programme of reform began, changing the marking criteria and syllabi for most subjects, as well as the format of qualifications, and the grading system.5

Under the new scheme, all GCSE subjects were revised between 2015 and 2018, and all new awards will be on the new scheme by summer 2020. The new qualifications are designed such that most exams will be taken at the end of a full 2-year course, with no interim modular assessment, coursework, or controlled assessment, except where necessary (such as in the arts). Some subjects will retain coursework on a non-assessed basis, with the completion of certain experiments in science subjects being assumed in examinations, and teacher reporting of spoken language participation for English GCSEs as a separate report.

Other changes include the move to a numerical grading system, to differentiate the new qualifications from the old-style letter-graded GCSEs, publication of core content requirements for all subjects, and an increase in longer, essay-style questions to challenge students more. Alongside this, a variety of low-uptake qualifications and qualifications with significant overlap will cease, with their content being removed from the GCSE options, or incorporated into similar qualifications.

GCSE examinations in English and mathematics were reformed with the 2015 syllabus publications, with these first examinations taking places in 2017. The remainder will be reformed with the 2016 and 2017 syllabus publications, leading to first awards in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

  • Thank you very much for your elaborate answer. Are the examples that aren't preceded by "uk" used in the UK and the US or in the US only? – RoseDavie Sep 17 '18 at 11:34
  • They're used in both countries, but grades is more common in the US. In the UK it would be more usual to say Steve never studies, but he always gets good marks. If you're happy with my answer and would like to "accept it officially", please feel free :) – bookmanu Sep 17 '18 at 11:41
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    You've overlooked the fact that "grade" is also used in the US, but not (to the best of my knowledge) in the UK, to mean the year of primary-secondary schooling: "first grade, second grade, ... twelfth grade". – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 17 '18 at 12:23

There is confusion here because there is no British or UK education system. There are separate systems in the four countries that make up the UK (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) and thus different terminology exists in each.

The system is broadly similar in the first three and the previous answer is correct as far as I know, as far as these are concerned. This is often referred to as the English Education system as England is much bigger than the other two and is (as far as I know) the only one used abroad. It should not be referred to as the British Education System, although an internet search reveals some quite prestigious organizations (such as the HMC) referring to the English system as the British system.

But Scotland has a significantly different system, and used, in the past, to use the word grade differently:

O-grades were exams sat at age 16 up to (1962-1977 approx) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-grade.

These were replaced by standard grades https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Grade. These have been replaced by a qualification that is not called a grade.

There were also Higher Grades taken at about 18, but these are now called just Highers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_(Scottish).

Confusingly the term grade was also used to how well you did, so you could say "She got an A grade in her O-grade" so it may be a good thing they are getting rid of all the exams called grade!

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