No single approach: Ofqual's calculated grades plan for technical awards

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
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The complexity of the range of vocational and technical qualifications means that a single approach to awarding grades this summer is "not appropriate”, the exams watchdog has said.

Ofqual has confirmed that students due to finish vocational or technical qualifications this summer will be awarded a calculated result. These will draw on a range of evidence, depending on the structure of the qualification.

Different approaches are to be used across different categories of qualification, with further details expected to be announced after Easter.

Ofqual is currently drawing up a list of qualifications that will be able to be awarded in this way, but has confirmed that it will include “many” BTEC Nationals, Cambridge Technicals, and UAL Diplomas.

Also included will be general qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Pre-U and Core Maths qualifications.

Ofqual has said that as well as confirming after Easter the different approaches across each category of qualification, it will also outline those areas where it will be consulting further.

It comes after Ofqual confirmed that teachers will decide year 11 students’ grades for both GCSEs and A levels, basing their judgements on a range of evidence such as class work, book work, assignments, mock exams, non-exam assessment, and other records of student performance.

It is part of the exam watchdog's response to the cancellation of all public examinations in light of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

A statement from Ofqual said:Calculated results will draw on a range of evidence, depending on the structure of the qualification. They may be based in part on teacher, trainer or tutor judgements of the result each learner would most likely have achieved had they been able to complete their assessments in summer 2020.

“Any centre assessment grade will be based on a range of evidence held by the school, college or training provider. Depending on the structure of the qualification, centres may be asked to provide a centre assessment grade for the whole qualification, or for uncompleted modules or units.”

Ofqual added: “We are discussing the process for generating calculated results with awarding organisations, who will provide detailed information to their centres in the coming days and weeks.”

Sally Collier, the chief regulator, said: “The wide range of young people and adults taking vocational, technical or other general qualifications to progress to further or higher education can be reassured that they will not be disadvantaged against their peers taking GCSEs or A levels – and that results will be issued fairly and in time for them to move on as planned.”

Duncan Baldwin, deputy director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said the Ofqual guidance provided “some clarity”.

He added: “This is a more complex challenge than with A levels and GCSEs because of the range of different vocational and technical qualifications. However, we are confident that the system of calculated grades outlined by Ofqual will provide fairness and consistency, and will allow students to progress to the next stage of their lives. We know this is a very difficult situation for these young people but we would reassure them that everything possible is being done to ensure that they are not disadvantaged in any way.”


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