AQA GCSE Art & Design Grade Boundaries


Every year I seem to lose that useful bit of paper or image that has the AQA GCSE Art & Design grade boundaries on it. So I’m sticking them all in a blog post here. Useful for you and me.

Statement to Explain to Students Why their Grade Might Change

Your likely grade might change because:

  1. The moderator might come in and change the grades. He/She might move the whole cohort up or down.
  2. The exam board might change the grade boundaries. They may move them up or down.

Grade Changes Over Time

It’s interesting to see how they change over time. They don’t usually move by more than one number.

I am happy to reply to art teachers who comment below, but if you are a student wanting to know what grade you will get, I will not respond as it is your own teacher’s job to answer your questions. (I’ve had far too many and have just deleted then all.)

The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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  1. Hi my daughter today received a mark of 50 for her textiles gcse (art & design) which is confusing is this a grade 5?

    • If the grade boundaries are the same as 2019 a 50 will mean your daughter hasn’t quite reached a 5. She will get a 4. However, it’s possible the grade boundaries might change.

  2. Hi Sarah
    New teacher here and it’s my first year marking. I have a class of 6 Pupils and 9 pupils, for two different art subjects. Will the moderator we take the whole cohert down. Or do it one by one in a small class?

    • Hi Sarah, I’m guessing that if you enter the grades for both groups and get one ‘sample’ (list of students who will be moderated) that it would count as one cohort and be treated as such. If you get a separate sample for each class, it would be treated as separate cohorts. With groups that size I imagine all of them will be in the sample. For a definitive answer, why not contact your coursework adviser? If you ring or email your exam board, they will be able to tell you who that is.
      Moderators don’t change a single student’s mark but look to see if the cohort is in tolerance.

  3. My daughter was given a final grade 73 – do you think this is likely to be a grade 7 or do you think the grade boundaries might be more lenient in 2022?

  4. My Daughter has been given a grade 63 today from her art teacher for her GCSEs but was told previously her work was at the level of a 7 = A so she is currently upset with her B grade comparing to 2019 grade boundaries, so my question is do you think the grade boundaries will change this year at all due to Covid?

    • I can’t predict if the grade boundaries will go up or down. I did wonder if they would go down because of covid, but that will only happen if teachers across the country have marked as normal i.e. marked like they would in non covid times. I fear teachers will mark too generously because their students have produced little because of covid and the boundaries could go up. In the last 15 years I don’t believe they have ever moved by more than one mark, so your daughter will most likely get a 6. She may have been given a 7 as the teacher was seeing potential but then it didn’t get realised, or it may be that the final outcome wasn’t as good as the sketchbook. Who knows! Ask your school for some feedback.

  5. My daughter has an NEA for A Level Art. The maximum mark is 96 and her provisional mark is 82.
    What A Level grade does this equate to please ?

    • The A Level grade boundaries are different from above. Assuming your daughter is with the AQA exam board, an 82 is likely to be an A*. (Fantastic! Well Done!) Two things might change this. The moderator might come in and put all the marks of the whole cohort either up or down if he/she feels the school/college has been too mean or too generous. Or, the exam board could change the grade boundaries.


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