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.

Timeframe Academic year 2016/2017 to 2021/2022
Update Frequency Every two years
Population Students in England taking GCSE and A levels
Coverage England only
Size ~4 million records
Grading and Admissions Data for England


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?

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 the 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. 

This documentation will be updated soon. Please contact with any questions. 

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Data dictionary

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

This documentation will be updated soon. Please contact with any questions. 

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

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. 

1. Apply to become an accredited researcher under the Digital Economy Act 2017

2. Apply for an accredited research project

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.

Learn more

Download the ADR England Flagship Datasets brochure