Grading and Admissions Data for England
Grading and Admissions Data for England (GRADE) is a linked, de-identified administrative dataset including data from Ofqual, the Department for Education (DfE), and UCAS. It allows accredited researchers to conduct independent research on the educational, assessment, and admission systems in England.
GRADE covers the period 2017-2022. This allows in-depth research and evaluation of grading arrangements in 2020, when exams were cancelled and alternative arrangements were put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. More broadly, the dataset enables 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 students’ attainment. GRADE also enables research into the impact of the pandemic on the education system.
Component datasets and linkage
Grading and Admissions Data for England contains: Ofqual data on GCSE and A-level students, including grade and mark in each qualification; National Pupil Database (NPD) by the Department for Education, with a broad range of students’ socio-demographic characteristics and prior schooling; and UCAS data including applications and applicants' data, such as parental occupation.
|Academic year 2016/2017 to 2021/2022
|Every two years
|Students in England taking GCSE and A levels
|~4 million records
Examples of research questions
- How do the alternative grading arrangements introduced during the pandemic stand up to scrutiny?
- What was are the factors influencing teachers’ judgements relating to different groups of students, schools, colleges and universities?
- What can we learn about the use of teacher-predicted grades for university admissions in normal times and during the pandemic?
Other supporting resources
|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 email@example.com.
Published research using the data
- Non-journal publications: Two research reports looking at the awarding of centre assessment grades for GCSEs, AS and A levels in summer 2020
- ADR UK is funding Research Fellows using GRADE for the following projects:
- Leckie, G., & Maragkou, K. (2023). Student Sociodemographic and School Type Differences in Teacher-Predicted vs. Achieved Grades for University Admission. Bristol Working Papers in Education Series. Working Paper: 04/2023. Article.
- Prior, L., & Leckie, G. (2023). An investigation of student intersectional sociodemographic and school variation in GCSE final grades in England in 2020. Bristol Working Papers in Education Series. Working Paper: 01/2023. Article.
- Prior, L., & Leckie, G. (2023). School differences on whether and where students apply to university. British Journal of Sociology of Education, Forthcoming.
- Magowan, L. (2023). Centre assessment grades in 2020: a natural experiment for investigating bias in teacher judgements. J Comput Soc Sc 6, 609–653 (2023). doi.org/10.1007/s42001-023-00206-x
Accessing the data
Accredited researchers with an approved project can access the GRADE dataset via the ONS Secure Research Service.
1. Apply to become an accredited researcher under the Digital Economy Act 2017
Complete the application form through the ONS Research Accreditation Service.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
2. Apply for an accredited research project
View the GRADE dataset on the ADR UK Data Catalogue
Submit an application to the Research Accreditation Service: Apply for an accredited research project – ONS.
3. Access the data securely
The options available to access this dataset are:
Safe Rooms – based in ONS offices in Titchfield and Newport, open Monday-Friday, 9.00-16.00
SafePod Network– a small, self-contained secure room with a single workstation
Assured Organisational Connectivity – the ability to access the ONS Secure Research Service from your office or home. Check what arrangements your institution already has or can put in place.
ADR UK Research Fellowships
ADR UK is funding policy-relevant research using ADR England flagship datasets. Research fellows will address priority research questions, generate insights and demonstrate the value of ADR England data. These datasets are held securely within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service or other trusted research environments.