GCE Ordinary Level
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The O Level (Ordinary Level; official title: General Certificate of Education: Ordinary Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the
General Certificate of Education The General Certificate of Education (GCE) is a subject-specific family of academic qualifications that awarding bodies in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land bo ...
. It was introduced in place of the
School Certificate The School Certificate was a qualification issued by the Board of Studies, New South Wales, typically at the end of Year 10. The successful completion of the School Certificate was a requirement for completion of the Higher School Certificate (New ...
in 1951 as part of an educational reform alongside the more in-depth and academically rigorous
A-level#REDIRECT A-Level The A Level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the ...
(official title of qualification: General Certificate of Education – Advanced Level) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Those three jurisdictions replaced O Levels gradually with
General Certificate of Secondary Education The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders ...
/ GCSE (fully by 1988) and
International General Certificate of Secondary Education The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on ...
(IGCSE) exams over time. The Scottish equivalent was the
O-grade The Ordinary Grade (commonly known as the "O-Grade") of the Scottish Certificate of Education is a now-discontinued qualification which was studied for as part of the Scottish secondary education system. It could be considered broadly equivalent to ...
(replaced by the
Standard Grade Standard Grades were Scotland's educational qualifications for students aged around 14 to 16 years. Introduced in 1986, the Grades were replaced in 2013 with the Scottish Qualifications Authority The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA; : '' ...
). The Alternative Ordinary Level (AO Level), was formerly available in most subject areas. Sometimes incorrectly known as the Advanced Ordinary Level, the AO Level syllabus and examination both assumed a higher degree of maturity on the part of candidates, and employed teaching methods more commonly associated with A Level study. The AO Level was discontinued, with final qualifications awarded in 1988. The O Level qualification is still awarded by CIE
Cambridge International Examinations Cambridge Assessment International Education (informally known as Cambridge International or simply Cambridge and formerly known as CIE, Cambridge International Examinations) is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations an ...
, the international counterpart of the British examination Board OCR (Oxford, Cambridge & Royal Society of Arts), in select locations, instead of or alongside the
International General Certificate of Secondary Education The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on ...
qualifications. Both CIE and OCR have Cambridge Assessment as their parent organisation. The Cambridge O Level has already been phased out, however, and is no longer available in certain administrative regions.


Current usage


Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, the O Level qualification is offered, with examinations conducted by
Cambridge International Examinations Cambridge Assessment International Education (informally known as Cambridge International or simply Cambridge and formerly known as CIE, Cambridge International Examinations) is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations an ...
(CIE) under the board of
British Council The British Council is a British organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities. It works in over 100 countries: promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language (and the Welsh la ...
. O Level qualification has become a replacement for the matriculation qualification (SSC) offered by the Government boards of education. However, due to the high costs associated with O Level qualifications, their reach is limited to middle to elite class families.


Brunei

In
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Aus ...

Brunei
, the O Level qualification is offered, with examinations conducted by
Cambridge International Examinations Cambridge Assessment International Education (informally known as Cambridge International or simply Cambridge and formerly known as CIE, Cambridge International Examinations) is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations an ...
(CIE). A number of subjects, including English Language, Bahasa Melayu (Malay language), Malay Literature, Islamic Religious Knowledge, Ulum al-Quran, Hafaz al-Quran, Tafsir al-Quran (Asas), History, Geography, Pure sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology), Arabic, Art and Design, offer exam papers and syllabuses unique to Brunei. Additionally, the Mathematics (Syllabus D) subject previously offered an exam paper and a syllabus unique to Brunei, but this has since been retired and the regular syllabus used worldwide is offered. This is equivalent to secondary education now.


India

In
India India, officially the Republic of India (: ), is a country in . It is the by area, the country, and the most populous in the world. Bounded by the on the south, the on the southwest, and the on the southeast, it shares land borders wit ...

India
,
Cambridge International Examinations Cambridge Assessment International Education (informally known as Cambridge International or simply Cambridge and formerly known as CIE, Cambridge International Examinations) is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations an ...
(CIE) GCE Ordinary Level qualifications are offered at private and international schools as an alternative to the conventional Indian School Certificate (ISC).


Malaysia

In
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are geographically south of C ...

Malaysia
, the O Level qualification is offered as the ''
Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national examination taken by all Education in Malaysia#Secondary education, fifth-form secondary school students in Malaysia. It is the equivalent to the General ...
'' (''SPM'', Malaysian Education Certificate), with examinations conducted by the Malaysian Examination Syndicate (''Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia''). The examinations were formerly conducted by the
University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior Behavio ...
(UCLES), which still advises the national examination board on standards. The English Language subject was previously offered with an exam paper and a syllabus unique to Malaysia, but this Malaysia-specific qualification has since expired, and the regular English Language exam paper and syllabus used worldwide is now used within the country. The English paper is separately graded by the national examination board and UCLES, and both grades are displayed on the result slip.


Mauritius

In
Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: Maurice, link=no ; mfe, label=, Moris ]), officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an in the about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent, east of . It includes the main isla ...

Mauritius
, the O Level qualification is awarded as part of the School Certificate (Mauritius), School Certificate, which is awarded upon successful completion of Form V in
secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (ages 11 to 14) and upper secondary education (ages 14 to 18) ...
. The O Level examinations are jointly conducted by the
Mauritius Examinations SyndicateThe Mauritius Examinations Syndicate is the examinations board responsible for administering school exams in Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: Maurice ; mfe, Moris oʁis, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian ...
and the
University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior Behavio ...
(UCLES). The
International General Certificate of Secondary Education The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on ...
from
Edexcel Edexcel (also known since 2013 as Pearson Edexcel) is a British multinational education and examination body formed in 1996 and wholly owned by Pearson plc since 2005. It is the only privately owned examination board in the United Kingdom. Its ...
is also offered as an equivalent alternative qualification, for which exam registration may be done through the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate. A number of subjects, including English Language, English Language (Syllabus B), History, Mathematics (Syllabus A), Mathematics (Syllabus D), offer exam papers and syllabuses unique to Mauritius. Additionally, the subject of Art and Design, the offering of which is restricted to a limited geographic region, is available in Mauritius.


Pakistan

The GCE O Level qualification is offered in Pakistan by the CIE and conducted by the
British Council The British Council is a British organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities. It works in over 100 countries: promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language (and the Welsh la ...
. Due to the high costs associated with O Level Schooling, it is mostly opted by privileged citizens.


Seychelles

In
Seychelles Seychelles (; ), officially the Republic of Seychelles (french: link=no, République des Seychelles; Creole: ''La Repiblik Sesel''), is an archipelagic island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country ...

Seychelles
, the O Level qualification is offered, with examinations conducted by
Cambridge International Examinations Cambridge Assessment International Education (informally known as Cambridge International or simply Cambridge and formerly known as CIE, Cambridge International Examinations) is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations an ...
(CIE). Some subjects are unique to Seychelles or have a format, curriculum, or syllabus that is unique to Seychelles.


Singapore

In
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
, the
O Level The O Level (Ordinary Level; official title: General Certificate of Education: Ordinary Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), office ...
qualification is offered jointly by
Cambridge International Examinations Cambridge Assessment International Education (informally known as Cambridge International or simply Cambridge and formerly known as CIE, Cambridge International Examinations) is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations an ...
(CIE) and the
Singapore Ministry of Education Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...
. The examinations are mainly conducted by CIE, with select subject examinations conducted by the Singapore Ministry of Education, including select
mother tongue A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period hypothesis, critical per ...
subjects, such as Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, and humanities subject of Social Studies. A number of subjects previously offered exam papers and syllabuses unique to Singapore, but these have since been retired or planned to be phased out. After taking O-levels, some Singapore students go on to
GCE Advanced Level#REDIRECT GCE Advanced Level The A Level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualificationA school leaving qualification is an academic qualificat ...
exams, which are also marked by
Cambridge International Examinations Cambridge Assessment International Education (informally known as Cambridge International or simply Cambridge and formerly known as CIE, Cambridge International Examinations) is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations an ...
. In 2024, the O levels as well as the N levels will be phased out for a new local examination.


Sri Lanka

The GCE Ordinary Level qualification is offered by the British council of Sri Lanka School (BCS). Before, this qualification was jointly offered by Cambridge International Examinations and the
Ministry of Education An education ministry is a national or subnational government agency politically responsible for education. Various other names are commonly used to identify such agencies, such as Ministry of Education, Department of Education, and Ministry of Publ ...
in Sri Lanka.


Zimbabwe

The GCE Ordinary Level qualification is offered by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC). Before, this qualification was jointly offered by Cambridge International Examinations and the
Ministry of Education An education ministry is a national or subnational government agency politically responsible for education. Various other names are commonly used to identify such agencies, such as Ministry of Education, Department of Education, and Ministry of Publ ...
in Zimbabwe.


Former usage


Caribbean

The O Level qualification was previously awarded in the Caribbean. However, many Caribbean countries have now switched to awarding Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) qualifications based on successful completion of examinations administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).


Hong Kong

The O Level qualification was previously awarded in Hong Kong, along with the Hong Kong version of the
A Level#REDIRECT A-Level The A Level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the ...
qualification. However, this was replaced with the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) which was then replaced with the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE). The HKCEE was previously benchmarked against the O Levels for comparable subjects, but with the introduction of the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) qualification the Hong Kong equivalent qualification was then benchmarked against the IGCSE.


United Kingdom

The GCE O Level qualification originated in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, where it was awarded as the secondary school-leaving qualification. It was primarily an examinations-based qualification, with a grading system that changed over the years. In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, the O Level qualifications were replaced in 1988 with the
General Certificate of Secondary Education The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders ...
(GCSE) and the
International General Certificate of Secondary Education The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on ...
(IGCSE).


See also

* GCE Ordinary Level (International) (O-Level) **
GCE Ordinary Level (United Kingdom) The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level, also called the O-level or O level, was a subject-based academic qualification. Introduced in 1951 as a replacement for the 16+ School Certificate (SC), the O-level would act as a pathw ...
** Ordinary Level (Sri Lanka) ** Cambridge International Ordinary Level (Singapore) ** Cambridge International O-Level subjects * Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) ** Certificate of Secondary Education (United Kingdom)(CSE) *
General Certificate of Secondary Education The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders ...
(GCSE), which replaced the O Levels and CSE **
International General Certificate of Secondary Education The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on ...
(IGCSE), which is offered with or instead of O Levels internationally *
General Certificate of Education The General Certificate of Education (GCE) is a subject-specific family of academic qualifications that awarding bodies in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land bo ...
(GCE), which comprises O Levels and A-levels * School certificate (SC), predecessor to the GCE O-Level and CSE qualifications **
School Certificate (United Kingdom) The United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use ...
** School Certificate, School Certificate (Australia) ** School Certificate (New Zealand)


References

{{Education in England Educational qualifications in England Secondary school qualifications Secondary education in England Secondary education in Wales Secondary education in Northern Ireland Educational qualifications in Wales Educational qualifications in Northern Ireland