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Q: Coversion between UK and US education systems ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Coversion between UK and US education systems
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: adrian210656-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 30 Mar 2004 13:01 PST
Expires: 29 Apr 2004 14:01 PDT
Question ID: 322558
I am moving my son from the UK to the USA. How do I convert his GCSE
results into US high school diploma credits so that he can do his
final year in High School and graduate?

Request for Question Clarification by larre-ga on 30 Mar 2004 13:17 PST
Do you have a specific high school in mind? Procedures for this can
vary from school district to school district. I'll be glad to research
instructions by county, state, or school district, whichever is most


Clarification of Question by adrian210656-ga on 30 Mar 2004 22:15 PST
The school in question is the High School in Ashland Oregon. I have
spoken with them and they have no idea what GCSE's are let alone how
to convert them. There is some information on the US Education
Advisory Service and I see from their website that they quote

"Although there are no official equivalencies between the US and UK
education systems, most UK and US educators agree that a US high
school diploma (without AP courses) can be roughly compared to five
GCSE passes at grade C and above."

I need some specific examples if possible.

Request for Question Clarification by larre-ga on 30 Mar 2004 22:54 PST
Thank you. 

I have located several sources that define equivalency in terms of
GSCE achieved vs. U.S. high school graduation. Although not strictly
apples to apples, the comparisons should provide enough information to
enable Ashland High School to make a satisfactory determination.

I will post the answer shortly.


Request for Question Clarification by larre-ga on 31 Mar 2004 00:06 PST
I am awaiting several source verifications via email, which certainly
won't arrive during the night. I will continue as soon as received.

Subject: Re: Coversion between UK and US education systems
Answered By: larre-ga on 31 Mar 2004 13:32 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for asking.

Information and evaluation of transfer credit for secondary students
from the U.K. falls into three categories:

-- Print Publications
-- Educational Credential Evaluation Services
-- Information published on the Internet

Print Publications

The definitive resource is:

The Educational System of the United Kingdom: 
The Admission and Placement of Students from the U.K. and 
Study Abroad Opportunities. 
Alan Margolis (ed.); Sylvia Higashi and Richard Weaver (Workshop
Directors); 1991; 240pp; Item #5331. (PIER)
$75 nonmember/$50 AACRAO members

World Education Series
The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)

AACRAO also offers an online version of: Transfer Credit Practices to
its members only. See:


There are also three possibly useful "out of print" publications which
are available to non-members through Print on Demand services.

"Transfer Credit Practices of Designated Educational Institutions
(1994-96) $20 nonmember/$15 member; James Christensen (ed.); 1994;
176pp; Item #3008.

Describes transfer credit acceptance practices of selected
institutions within each state. See item #3013

Transfer Credit Practices of Designated Educational Institutions
(1996-98). $40 nonmember/$25 member; James Christensen (ed.); 1996;
Item #3009.

Describes transfer credit acceptance practices of selected
institutions within each state. See item #3013

Transfer Credit Practices of Selected US Colleges and Universities
Toward Grade 13 Courses Offered in the Canadian Province of Ontario.
$7; John Larsen; 1987; Item #7035.  

Analyzes the wide spectrum of responses to a survey of 233
universities on transfer credit practices for the controversial grade
13 issue."

Out of Print Publications

Education Credential Evaluation Services

The following services provide evaluation of foreign education
transcripts on an individual basis. Fees range from $50 to $200+.

Foreign Education Credential Service - "AACRAO's International
Education Services provides evaluations of education credentials from
all countries of the world assuring consistent treatment of those
educated outside the United States. The extensive archives of over 35
years of evaluating foreign credentials enables IES to accurately
research any educational credential in great depth."

Services are available to individuals, as well as institutions.

AACRAO Foreign Education Credential Service

Educational Records Evaluation Service - "A General Evaluation is a
certification of the highest equivalent US level of education you have
attained. This evaluation also:

-- gives the purpose for which the evaluation is requested,
-- identifies the status of the institution(s) you attended,
-- confirms the academic discipline in which you specialized,
-- states the type(s) of documents upon which the evaluation is based,
-- certifies the authenticity of your documents.

A Course List provides a list of the subjects you have taken with the
US equivalent course grade and semester units (for postsecondary
studies) or units of credit (for secondary studies) for each subject.
If requested for postsecondary studies, we also identify whether the
subject is lower division, upper division, or graduate level in US
institutions of higher education."

Educational Records Evaluation Service

Education Credential Evaluations, Inc. - ECE prepares evaluation
reports that identify the United States equivalent of education
completed in other countries.

Education Credential Evaluations, Inc.

Globe Language Services, Inc. - Globe's evaluations are accepted as
true and accurate by federal, state, and municipal agencies and
institutions of education throughout the United States. Our
experienced evaluators are members of the Association of International
Educators (NAFSA), the European Association of International Education
(EAIE), and the Association of International Credential Evaluators

Globe Language Services, Inc. - Evaluations

John Huart, President
Huart International, Inc.
3036 Dwight Avenue
Dayton, OH 45420
Course by course evaluation of transcript..... $85
General high school evaluation..... $50  

World Educational Services - Offering 7 day standard for International
Academic Credential Evaluation: "The WES evaluation is a document that
converts educational credentials from any country in the world into
their US equivalents by describing each certificate, diploma or degree
you have earned and stating its academic equivalency in the United

World Education Services

International Standards/Equivalency Information on the Internet


"General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), or the equivalent,
must have a minimum of six acceptable passes in appropriate subjects
to include English, Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Science, and
a language other than English (two advanced level passes are

Florida State International Students Admission Requirements


British System and Singapore: You must complete at least 5
IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O Levels, and at least 2 GCE A Levels to be considered
for admission. AS levels will also be considered. If you receive A, B
or C grades on your GCE A level examinations, UC Davis may consider
granting you transfer credit toward your Bachelor's degree. The exact
credit amount will be determined after you have been formally admitted
and provide your official certificate.

Foreign Education

Tips for British Education - U.C. Davis
"Make sure to list "GCE O Levels," "GCSE," "IGCSE," "HKCEE" or "SPM,"
the examination authority and the date received in the "Diploma/
Degree/Certificate and Date" column next to the appropriate school
(e.g., GCE O Levels, Edexel, 06/01).

Then do the same for your "GCE A Levels," "HKALE" or "STPM" next to
your high school of graduation."

Freshman Self-Reported Academic Record - U.C. Davis

"Read and follow the instructions for reporting your academic records. 

Do not consider any O Level, GCSE, IGCSE, HKCEE, SPM, GCE A Level,
HKALE, STPM or AS Level subjects ?honors level? on the application. We
are already very familiar with these curricula and will evaluate them

In the 10th grade column list O Level, GCSE, IGCSE, HKCEE or SPM
subjects in the appropriate subject areas. Next to each subject, enter
the title of your certificate. For example, you may enter, ?Math
HKCEE.? Enter the word ?none? in the ?first semester grade? column and
enter the O Level score in the ?second semester grade? column.

In the 11th grade column, indicate the courses in progress for GCE A
Levels, HKALE or STPM and AS Levels in the appropriate subject areas.
Next to each subject enter the title of your certificate. If you are
taking both A and AS levels please distinguish between them. For
example, you may enter ?Math GCE AS Level.? If you already know any AS
Level grades, then enter them in the ?second semester grade? column.
Enter the word ?none? in the ?first semester grade? column.

In the 12th grade column, you may list any predicted grades as part of
each subject title. Please clearly enter ?predicted? next to each
subject. For example, you may write ?Math GCE A/L predicted A?.
If you have already completed your GCE A Levels, HKALE, or STPM list
your final grades in the 12th grade column. Make sure to tell us what
you have been doing since you graduated."


British-Patterned Education

"(U.K., East and West Africa, Caribbean area, East Asia.)
Consideration for freshman admission requires at least five ordinary
level passes from one sitting at "credit" standard on the General
Certificate of Secondary Education, or a comparable maturity
certificate (GCE, CXC, SPM, HKCEE, IGCSE, WASC, EASC, etc.). The
Certificate must include a "credit" or "distinction" standard in
English. (Externally-issued, ordinary level examination
results/certificates must be received by the deadline for equal
consideration.) Students who are pursuing or who have completed
A-level studies will generally be awarded advanced standing ranging
between 6 and 10 credit hours for certain advanced or principal level
examinations completed with a grade of D or better. Three to five
credits may be awarded for certain Advanced Supplemental (A/S) exams
with an acceptable grade."

University of Michigan: Prospective Freshmen, International


High School Qualifications

Applicants with the GCE are asked to present one of the following two combinations:

(a.) two Advanced Level passes and three Ordinary Level/GCSE passes OR
(b.) three Advanced Level passes and one Ordinary Level/GCSE passes

High School Qualifications

US Department of Education 
National Center for Educational Statistics

From Newsletter #13

"In the United Kingdom (England), the General Certificate of Secondary
Education (GCSE) examinations are given to students at the end of Key
Stage 4 and are the principle means for assessing students? attainment
of the National Curriculum between the ages of 14 and 16. GSCEs are
offered in a wide variety of subjects, including the Key Stage 4
compulsory subjects: in English, mathematics, science, physical
education, design and technology, information communication
technology, and modern foreign languages. Although GCSEs are not
compulsory, an overwhelming majority of students take at least one
GCSE examination. Together, coursework and examination results are
graded on an eight-point scale."

Newsletter #13 - 2001
Review of Assessment Activities 
Page 7 (of 19) - (245K Adobe .pdf document - Requires Acrobat Reader)

See also this Chart -- Classifications of Countries' Education Systems

US Department of Education 
Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and 
Other G-8 Countries: 2002
Classifications of Countries' Educational Systems Chart
Pages 108-111  (858K Adobe .pdf document - Requires Acrobat Reader)

The National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Academic Credentials

The US National Standards body is the National Council on the
Evaluation of Foreign Academic Credentials. From the website:

"The National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Academic
Credentials (CEC) is to assist in the admission and placement of
holders of these credentials in US educational institutions. Its main
purpose is to review, modify and approve comparability and placement
recommendations drafted for publications used by the US academic
community. The Council also helps establish priorities, research
guidelines and review procedures for international admissions

"CEC Recommendations:

The recommendations approved by the Council identify the level or
stage of education represented by an educational credential and thus
the appropriate admission decision and placement of the holder of the
credential in US educational institutions. Council recommendations are
not directives, nor do they make judgments about the quality of
programs and schools. Quality indicators may be provided by the author
of the text. The effective use of recommendations depends on careful
review of the supporting text in the publication and consideration of
individual institutional policies and practices."

Contact information for members is available on the web page.

The National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Academic Credentials

Search Strategy

I spoke with our local high school admissions office, as well as
several other regional high schools. In absence of IB (international
Baccalaureate)  credentials, each school requires a certified
credential evaluation, at the parent/guardian's expense. I also
corresponded via e-mail, seeking access to open publication of
standards evaluation online. No luck with that avenue.

I used the following Google Search Terms:

GCSE admissions
cec standards foreign student credentials
cec standards foreign
"country highlight" ines
"admission requirements" GCSE equivalent
"transfer students" "high school" international "from U.K."
high school enrollment procedures gcse

I hope you find this information useful. Should you have any questions
about the material or links provided, please, feel free to ask for

adrian210656-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks that is really useful. I will start to dig around in the
references you quoted. Best wishes

Subject: Re: Coversion between UK and US education systems
From: albanaich10-ga on 04 Apr 2004 14:20 PDT

You may wish to visit this site.

There are number of schools in the USA operating the IGCSE program and
you will probably find they can provide the your school in Oregon with
appropriate assesements.

It's generally considered that the UK education system is superior to
the US and it is not uncommon for good GCSE student to be a year or
more advanced than their US contempories.


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