Size and scale of the system
The Scale of the Examination System in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
The public examination system is a vast and highly complex operation deploying some of the nation’s best educational expertise in an intensive period to produce results across a range of qualifications. In August 2012, we issued:
- 2,308,527 GCE results. This figure includes:
- 861,819 results for GCE A-level
- 1,350,345 results for GCE AS
- 6,636 results for Applied GCE double award A-level
- 32,447 results for the Applied GCE single award A-level
- 7,113 results for Applied GCE double award AS
- 50,167 results for the Applied GCE single award AS
- 5,638,240 GCSE results. This figure includes:
- 5,225,288 GCSE Full Courses
- 371,352 GCSE Short Courses
- 41,600 GCSE Double Award
- 28,572 results were issued for the Extended Project qualification.
- 24,452 results were issued for the Level 1 and Level 2 Project qualifications.
- 9,568 Diploma awards at Foundation, Higher, Progression and Advanced Level were made.
- 18,111 Principal Learning results. This figure includes:
- 2,292 Principal Learning at Level 3
- 14,320 Principal Learning at Level 2
- 1,499 Principal Learning at Level 1
- 74,691 results were issued for Entry Level Certificates.
- In 2012 over 15.4 million GCSE and A level examination scripts* were marked. Over 51,000 examiners were employed by exam boards with the majority involved in the marking and moderation of GCSEs, A levels, AS and other academic qualifications.
- Hundreds of staff are employed to process the results in a tight time-frame of seven weeks from the date of the last examination.
- In 2012, candidates entered for specifications spanning 36 GCSE subject areas and 47 GCE subject areas. In most subjects there is a choice of syllabus or specification and a choice of content.
The qualifications with the largest numbers of entries were GCSE Mathematics, with 675,789 entries, and GCSE English, with 669,534 entries.
*This relates to externally set and marked exam scripts and does not include internal assessment.