Grading and Admissions Data for England

Grading and Admissions Data for England (GRADE) is a joint open data initiative by Ofqual, Ofsted, the Department for Education (DfE), and UCAS. Its main objective is to provide accredited researchers with access to data to conduct independent research on the educational, assessment, and admission systems in England, and to facilitate internal analysis. 

It will allow researchers to conduct independent high-quality evaluation of the judgements made in awarding grades in 2020, ensuring that lessons are learned. More broadly, the GRADE data will enable research to enhance the quality of the assessment system and produce evidence to inform future education policy, particularly around the fairness of methods for measuring. 

Component datasets and linkage

Grading and Admissions Data for England contains: Ofqual data including qualifications, centres and grade boundaries data; Department for Education data such as exam results, and prior attainment; and UCAS data including applications and applicants' data.

Timeframe January 2017 - January 2021
Update Frequency Every two years
Coverage England only
Size ~4 million records
Grading and Admissions Data for England


Examples of research questions

  • How does the standardisation model introduced in summer 2020 stand up to scrutiny?
  • What was the impact of awarding approaches on students and schools and/or colleges?
  • What is the relationship between the 2020 grading data and other measures of attainment (validity related questions)?

This list is illustrative only and intended to demonstrate the research potential of the dataset. For research priorities, see the areas of research interest or ADR UK funding opportunity.

Core documentation

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User guide

A data sharing framework provides a high-level description of the datasets and sets out how to access the data. A more detailed user guide will be published soon.

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Data dictionary

Data specifications are available from Ofqual, UCAS, and DfE (NPD) on

Other supporting resources

Resource Description
Synthetic data A low-fidelity synthetic dataset with the same format and structure of the real data, but containing only made-up information based on simulated data, is available by request. Please email
Related project: The 2020 GCSE and A-level 'exam grades fiasco': A secondary data analysis of students' grades and Ofqual's algorithm

This project conducts secondary data analysis of the 2020 and 2021 GCSE and A-level exam grades. See 'School differences on whether and where students apply to university' under 'Published research using the data' for its related publication. 

Published research using the data

Accessing the data

Accredited researchers with an approved project can access the GRADE dataset via the ONS Secure Research Service. 

View further details and apply for access using the information on the ADR UK Data Catalogue.



Funding opportunity

ADR UK is inviting applications for funding to conduct policy-relevant research using ADR England flagship datasets, including GRADE. Research fellows will address priority research questions, generate insights and demonstrate the value of ADR England data. Find out more about this funding opportunity on the UKRI funding finder.

See the funding opportunity

Download the ADR England Flagship Datasets brochure

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