The CELTA Grading System Unravelled

There are four possible grades you can be awarded at the end of your CELTA Course,

  • two “above standard” grades – Pass A & Pass B
  • one “to standard” grade – Pass
  • one “not to standard” grade – Fail

The fail grade is rarely awarded but that’s not because the course is easy, instead because the application process ensures candidates who are likely to struggle are not accepted on a course.

So what do the grades really mean?

Pass A

An A grade tells any employer in the know that the holder has proven he/she:

  • is capable of planning a lesson effectively with very little guidance,
  • can analyse target language thoroughly
  • is able to select suitable resources and tasks to help his/her learners develop their language and language skills.

It also suggests that he/she:

  • can deliver effective language and language skills lessons successfully
  • has shown a very good awareness of learners
  • can reflect on his/her own key strengths and weaknesses and consistently use these reflections to develop their teaching.

Pass B

A B grade tells any employer in the know that the holder has proven he/she:

  • is capable of planning a lesson effectively with some guidance,
  • can analyse target language well
  • is able to select suitable resources and tasks to help his/her learners develop their language and language skills.

It also suggests that he/she:

  • can deliver effective language and language skills lessons successfully
  • has shown a good awareness of learners
  • can reflect on his/her own key strengths and weaknesses and generally use these reflections to develop their teaching.

Pass

A straight Pass tells any employer in the know that the holder has proven he/she:

  • is capable of planning a lesson effectively with guidance
  • is able to select suitable resources and tasks to help his/her learners develop their language and language skills.

It also suggests that he/she:

  • can deliver effective language and language skills lessons with a degree of success
  • has shown some awareness of learners
  • can reflect on some key strengths and weaknesses and generally use these reflections to develop their teaching

Fail

Fail is awarded to a candidate who has failed 2 or more written assignments and/or has not matched all of the Pass criteria.  Before a candidate can be “awarded” a fail grade he/she will have had a fail warning letter and will have been explicity told exactly which criteria he/she is failing in and will have been advised of which areas to work on to avoid a fail grade.

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How many lessons do I have to pass to pass the course?

There are no fixed number of lessons that one has to have “passed” in order to pass the course.  It goes without saying, if you have passed all teaching practice and written assignments you can assume you have passed the course.  If you have been graded as not to standard in one lesson, don’t worry this doesn’t mean you will fail, it just means that you have not met the pass criteria for that particular lesson.  Make sure you take note of the points to work on given to you by your tutor and ensure you do this in later lessons.

You will have progress reports during the course so you should be in no doubt as to whether you are progressing well or not.  Towards the end of the course your tutor may also indicate whether an above standard grade is possible for you to achieve.

Sidebar

In all my years of teaching, I have never once been asked which grade I got!  (Between me and you, I got a straight Pass 😉 ).  Interestingly, candidates from North America have stated that if they can’t get an ‘A’ they would rather “just” pass because a ‘B’ doesn’t look good.   I keep meaning to pass this feeedback on to Cambridge but have not managed to as yet…. What do you think?

Please don’t get hung up on grades, in my experience, those who are aiming to get an A or B tend to struggle becuase they are not concentrating on the relevant things pointed out by their tutor.  Just enjoy the course and let your tutor worry about what grade you should receive!

Have you already done CELTA?  What grade did you get?

 

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Author: Emma Jones

A CELTA Tutor based in Munich and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

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