In its later years, O-Levels were graded on a scale from A to E, with a U (ungraded) grade below that.Before 1975, the grading scheme varied between examination boards, but typically there were "pass" grades of 1 to 6 and "fail" grades of 7 to 9.
Qualifications that are not reformed will cease to be available in England.
The science reforms, in particular, mean that single-award "science" and "additional science" options are no longer available, being replaced with a double award "combined science" option (graded on the scale 9-9 to 1-1 and equivalent to 2 GCSEs).
Alternatively, students can take separate qualifications in chemistry, biology, and physics.
Other removed qualifications include a variety of design technology subjects, which are reformed into a single "design and technology" subject with multiple options, and various catering and nutrition qualifications, which are folded into "food technology".
However the grades were not displayed on certificates.
The CSE was graded on a numerical scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest, and 5 being the lowest passing grade. The highest grade, 1, was considered equivalent to an O-Level C grade or above, and achievement of this grade often indicated that the student could have taken an O-Level course in the subject to achieve a higher qualification.
The youngest pupil to gain an A* grade was Thomas Barnes, who earned an A* in GCSE Mathematics at the age of 7.
Between 20, a variety of reforms were made to GCSE qualifications, including increasing modularity and a change to the administration of non-examination assessment.
State education in Scotland does not use GCSEs, instead its Scottish Qualifications Certificate operates National / Intermediate exams at the equivalent level, however, certain private schools in Scotland offer GCSEs, and the proportion of Scottish pupils taking GCSEs to facilitate admission to English universities is increasing.
Each GCSE qualification is in a particular subject, and stands alone, but a suite of such qualifications (or their equivalent) is generally accepted as the record of achievement at the age of 16, in place of a leaving certificate or baccalaureate qualification in other territories.