CELTA Grading – not to standard

Worried about receiving a not to standard grade?

Have you taught a CELTA teaching practice lesson and the grade was not to standard (NTS)? Are you concerned as to what this might mean? Let me put your mind at ease.

In the record of assessed teaching practice above, the candidate has been to standard (TS) in all lessons except for the last one they taught. As you can see the candidate still has three lessons left (2 x 40, 1 x 60 mins). Being given an NTS grade in this lesson doesn’t have to be a problem and doesn’t need to affect the candidate’s final grade.

What should the candidate do?

The natural reaction to an NTS grade is to get upset and/or angry. My advice is to keep calm and give yourself time to process the feedback from the tutor. Once the initial shock has passed and it is possible to understand the reasons why it was graded NTS, you can think about how to improve in the next lesson.

To avoid another NTS grade, the most important thing is to make sure the points to work on mentioned by the tutor in their feedback are improved on. The tutor will have pointed out the weaker areas in their written feedback, highlighting why the lesson was graded NTS. If the candidate is unsure what is meant by any of it, they must make sure they seek guidance and clarification before the next lesson.

How many NTS grades can I have and still pass the course?

There is no number stipulated by Cambridge but by the end of the course you have to have proven that you are capable in all the criteria as laid out in the CELTA 5 Candidate Record Booklet. If you are in danger of failing the course you will be given a written warning and your tutor will speak to you and let you know what exactly you need to do in order to pass the course. Obviously, if you still cannot get it right in your final lesson(s), the chances are that you will fail the course as you will not have shown that you are capable in the criteria mentioned above. But let’s not be pessimistic here, as long as you can react positively to feedback there is nothing to worry about.

Have you had an NTS lesson? What did you do?


Author: Emma Jones

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

5 thoughts on “CELTA Grading – not to standard”

  1. I have carried out 7 teaching practices, scoring to standard or above on all of them. Im nervous about ny last TP. Is it possible to fail the CELTA if you have at or above standard on all your other teaching practices but fail your last one? I have passed all assignments.


  2. Is it possible to pass teaching practices 1 – 7 at or above standard, fail TP 8 and still pass the CELTA? I have scored to good/strong standard on 5 of my TPS and above standard in 2. If I fail my last TP will I still pass/ I have passed all my papers


    1. Hope this response hasn’t t come too late! I think you can be fairly sure that if you’ve done well in your first 7 TPs, you’ll be ok in your last one! Good luck although you may well be fully qualified by now!


  3. I have passed to standard first 7 TPs and got Not To Standard at my last TP8. Is it still a pass?


    1. Hi Mary, I’m sorry we didn’t answer sooner but we were mid CELTA course ourselves. I assume you got the answer to your question and assume you passed?


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