Graded Exams
  A Definitive Guide to Graded Examinations across the Performing Arts

Government recognition


The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is the regulator of qualifications in England. Many Awarding Organisations offering graded exams are recognised by Ofqual and its partners in Wales and Northern Ireland. These Awarding Organisations are committed to submitting annual statements to the regulator confirming their compliance with Ofqual’s General Conditions of Recognition. Ofqual evaluates these returns and ensures that Awarding Organisations carry out their roles correctly through formal audits and, where relevant, comparability studies of assessment standards.

Further, graded exams are included in Levels 1 to 4 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) as shown in the table below.

  Qualifications  RQF
Grades 1 to 3 in Music, Dance and Drama
Level 1
Grades 4 to 5 Music, Dance and Drama
Vocational Grades-Intermediate Foundation in Dance
Level 2
Grades 6 to 8 in Music, Dance and Drama
Vocational Grades-Intermediate and Advanced Foundation in Dance

Level 3
Vocational Grades-Advanced 1 and 2 in Dance
Level 4


On recognition to the RQF, qualifications regulated by Ofqual are given two Level references on the Register of Regulated Qualifications in England. The first Level refers to their placement within the RQF and the second to an appropriate EQF Level.
There are clear stages people move through in education and training that are common to many countries, and Awarding Organisations generally liaise with authorities around the world in order to promote the currency of their qualifications.