Points score (or tariff points)

This is a system that allows the grades achieved in a range of qualifications to be given one simple score. The system was developed by UCAS and a number of universities make offers to applicants in terms of total points score rather than individual grades. The average final points score obtained by the pupils in the upper sixth gives a reasonably good idea of the school’s overall exam results. It is not perfect, of course, as some schools simply enter their pupils for ever more exams and indifferent results will still raise the score. General studies results are often but not always excluded.

The main qualifications score points as follows –

    • AS-level                60 points for grade A, 50 for grade B,  40 for C, 30 for D and 20 points for grade E.
    •  A-level                 120 points for grade A, 100 for grade B,  80 for C, 60 for D and 40 points for grade E.
    • Highers                 72 points for grade A, 60 for grade B and 48 points for grade C.
    • Advanced higher. 120 points for grade A, 100 for grade B and 80 points for grade C.
    •  IB                          768 for 45 IB points, 512 for 34 IB points and 280 points for 24 IB points (this will change from 2010).

Thus a student passing three A-levels with grade B and an AS-level with grade C will have a final points score of 340. A Scottish student with four Advanced Highers grade C and one Higher grade B will have 380 points. Any pupils gaining the maximum IB points has an unbelievable score of 768 points – from 2010 that will only be 720 points but still equivalent to six A grades at A-level.

The average final points score for a school is not always easy to discover because, unbelievably, the central statistics use a slightly different scoring system to that developed by UCAS. Not the only example in education of more information resulting in less clarity.