The statistical standardisation approach used in A levels and GCSEs was not used in most vocational and technical qualifications, including BTECs.

These are extraordinary times for young people who have recently taken exams and we want to reassure learners who have taken vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) after yesterday’s decision to revert to centre assessment grades (CAGs) for GCSEs and A levels. Our priority has always been to ensure that no student is disadvantaged, that results issued this year are robust and reliable, and that as many students as possible get their results this summer.

It is vital that people understand that the statistical standardisation approach – the grading algorithm – used in A levels and GCSEs was not used in most VTQs, including BTECs.

VTQs are structured differently to A levels and GCSEs, and so the approach to awarding results has been different. Many VTQs were able to use evidence of work completed during the course and use this as a basis for calculating results. Indeed, for many qualifications, learners had taken adapted assessments and so there was no calculation process needed at all. For those qualifications that did use calculation, not all used CAGs. Where they did, it was often at unit level – so the CAGs did not weigh so heavily in arriving at the final result. 

That’s why we have seen little divergence between the results that schools and colleges thought learners would get, and the results that have been issued. We haven’t seen the same downward moderation of results following statistical standardisation.

In BTECs, for example, students complete modular units and are assessed at regular stages during their course of study. This summer, Pearson was able to use those banked unit grades and CAGs for units that hadn’t been completed - and all but a fraction of unit-level CAGs were accepted - after quality assurance checks - to generate the final overall qualification-level grade.

For the very small number of unit-level CAGs that were adjusted down (about 0.5%), Pearson will be reviewing those results with centres on a case-by-case basis, following the same principles as those announced for A levels.  

A small proportion of qualifications did use a statistical standardisation approach similar the one used for A levels, and those awarding organisations are reviewing their approach in light of what was been decided about GCSEs and A levels yesterday.  As a result, we are starting to see them re-running their awarding processes, to ensure that learners are not disadvantaged when compared to their peers taking GCSEs and A levels. We think that a small proportion of Level 3 VTQ results that were issued last week will be regraded upwards as a result.

There are a small proportion of results at Level 2 and below which are due for issue this Thursday that will need to be recalculated. It is possible that they may not be available until a few days later than expected and any awarding organisations in this position will provide information as soon as possible about when this will be.

The overwhelming majority of VTQ learners have now received the results they expected last week. Some awarding organisations did notify us of late results and we understand the anxiety this causes every single learner who is still waiting. We are monitoring this very closely and can confirm that all the awarding organisations are working as fast as they can with schools and colleges to resolve the remaining issues so that learners are not being disadvantaged when it comes to applications to higher education.

If learners have questions about vocational and technical qualifications, they should speak to their centre in the first instance, who may wish to contact the relevant awarding organisation.

Limited statistical standardisation used in grading these qualifications 

The statistical standardisation approach that was used for A levels was not generally used for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs), many of which took into account work that learners had already completed in the course of their study. A separate regulatory framework, designed to provide the flexibility needed to cater for the diversity of the landscape of vocational and technical qualifications, covered other qualifications including BTEC, International Baccalaureate and many thousands of others.

Under the framework for VTQs, each awarding organisation has been responsible for developing its own model for issuing results in line with a set of principles. The framework allows awarding organisations, where necessary, to prioritise the issue of sufficiently valid and reliable results over the maintenance of standards. Ofqual developed and implemented this framework in close collaboration with awarding organisations and the wider sector.   Although calculated results have been issued for many VTQs, in only a very few cases has the same kind of statistical standardisation process of Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) been used – in other words, we think there are few qualifications where the cohort has received entirely algorithmically determined grades. Instead, awarding organisations have devised approaches which maximised the use of the most trusted evidence and applied a robust form of quality assurance (often involving collection of additional evidence to support teacher judgements).

In many cases where CAGs formed part of the awarding approach, they were issued at unit level (and not at qualification level) and this was generally not the only piece of evidence used – many VTQs are modular in nature and so students will have “banked” results from units they had already taken. The use of banked results helps deliver results that best reflect each learner’s level of knowledge, skills and understanding. So CAGs have not, in most cases, weighed so heavily in VTQ qualification-level results. Feedback from the sector so far is that VTQ results have been largely stable and consistent with centres’ expectations. A move away from a statistical standardisation approach towards using CAGs alone would have limited impact as it would not change the results for the vast majority of VTQ learners.

For the small number of qualifications that have used a statistical standardisation approach similar to the Ofqual model for A levels and GCSEs, we have asked awarding organisations to review their approach. This is likely to mean a small proportion of VTQ results will be reissued.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page