The booklet Graded Exams: The Definitive Guide is produced by CDMT in association with twenty Awarding Organisations offering graded examinations in the arts. It is also supported by an accompanying website Graded Exams.

The booklet and website describe the history, distinctiveness and purpose of graded examinations, particularly how they contribute to the development of performing artists of all ages and ability - encompassing dance, music, drama and musical theatre - across the world.

It draws on the research and academic practices of twenty Awarding Organisations, all of which are committed and passionate about promoting progressive mastery in a range of performance disciplines. These organisations offer rigorous assessments, based on the well-known internationally acknowledged benchmarks that form ‘the Grades’.

Today, graded examinations are available in over ninety countries and attract more than a million candidates annually. We hope that you enjoy this booklet which explores why the Grades have become one of the world’s most popular assessments in the performing arts.

An electronic copy is available here.


CDMT works with its validated members who offer grades in dance and musical theatre, and collaborative bodies who offer grades in music and drama, to:

  • provide an authoritative source of information for government agencies when dealing with issues of recognition, regulation and accreditation across the performing arts
  • promote the benefits of graded examinations to the public and raise their status within the UK and internationally
  • ensure the continued integrity of assessment methods and the reliability of standards across all disciplines.

There are several routes into dance teaching, depending on the sector in which you intend to work. These are outlined below.

Most CDET member awarding organisations offer graded examinations, primarily in dance and musical theatre.