Coronavirus: Schools will grade BTECs, says Ofqual

Schools will calculate pupils’ grades for the majority of BTECs and other vocational qualifications this year, but a full list of those in scope will not be ready until after Easter.

In a briefing this morning, Ofqual said qualifications such as BTEC nationals, Cambridge technicals, UAL diplomas and functional skills will be graded in a similar way as A-levels and GCSEs this summer, following the cancellation of exams.

The regulator confirmed last week that schools would be asked to grade GCSE and A-level pupils and provide a “rank order” of pupils within each grade for moderation purposes.

Today, Ofqual said the same approach would apply to vocational and technical qualifications, but only in “some instances”.

According to the body, the approach will not be “appropriate” for all vocational and technical qualifications, such as those designed to support progression straight into employment and signal occupational competence.

The regulator said that like GCSEs and A-levels, results for VTQs could be based in part on schools’ judgments of what grade each learner would “most likely” have achieved had they been able to complete their assessments in summer 2020.

They must “draw appropriately” on a “range of other evidence” held by the school and the awarding organisation offering the qualification.

Evidence which “might be useful” in the estimations includes “actual achievement data for candidates – exams or internal assessments which have (or haven’t been through moderation, centre risk profiles” and “historic data on centre outcomes”.

Ofqual said any estimation should have three elements: professional judgment and evidence from teachers and component results from assessments already moderated by awarding bodies, quality assurance such as comparison to historic centre outcomes and evaluation of the algorithm for calculating grades, and a check to see if there appears to be a reasonable profile of grades, similar to previous years.

Pupils who do not feel their result reflects their ability will be able to complete an assessment once their provider reopens.