Students taking the reformed applied general qualifications, including BTECs and Cambridge Technicals, will be given extra opportunities to resit their exams after a change in policy.
In January, the Department for Education announced that students due to complete key stage 5 qualifications this summer would be allowed an additional resit opportunity in June 2018. This was on top of the single resit opportunity already permitted, meaning that exam boards would then use the best result from the three sittings to calculate a student's final grade.
This additional resit opportunity was initially available only to students completing their qualifications this summer. But now the Education and Skills Funding Agency has said the chance for an extra resit will continue to be offered beyond the summer for the new-style applied general qualifications.
In March, Ofqual wrote to awarding bodies to encourage them to continue with any “safety net” arrangements they had put in place for students taking the new-style qualifications. The old-format applied generals, which can still be taken, do not include a compulsory external assessment, and are therefore not affected by this rule change.
Consultation on the future of applied generals
Deepa Jethwa, policy officer at the Sixth Form Colleges Association, welcomed the news. “The change in policy will provide students undertaking the new, more demanding, applied general qualifications with the best possible chance to successfully complete their qualification,” she said.
Later this year, the DfE will consult on the old-format applied general qualifications and the timescales and process for their withdrawal.
This consultation will sit alongside the first stage of consultation on the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below, which will set out the principles, scope and broad process of the review. There will then be a second stage consultation in 2019, setting out the proposed criteria that will determine qualifications’ suitability for public funding.