BTEC exam board Pearson says it is concerned about the "comparatively higher outcomes" of A-level and GCSE students following the government's U-turn on grading and will review BTEC results in light of this.
As a result, it has asked colleges and schools not to issue level 1 and 2 results in these qualifications tomorrow, as these will be reviewed and might be regraded. Yesterday, Pearson announced that only a small proportion of BTECs would be regraded.
But in a letter sent to affected centres this afternoon, Cindy Rampersaud, senior vice-president for BTECs and apprenticeships at Pearson, writes that following Ofqual’s announcement that A-level and GCSE students are to receive centre-assessment grades, Pearson had “reviewed the impact on BTEC students and taken on board feedback from teachers, schools and colleges”.
The letter says: “Following our review and your feedback, we have decided to apply Ofqual’s principles for students receiving BTECs this summer."
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“This means we will now be regrading all the following BTECs – BTEC level 3 nationals (2010 QCF and 2016 RQF), BTEC level 1/2 tech awards, BTEC level 2 technicals and BTEC level 1/2 firsts.
“BTEC qualification results have been generally with teacher and learner expectations, but we have become concerned about unfairness in relation to what are now significantly higher outcomes for GCSE and A levels”.
BTECs: 'Unfairness' in relation to A levels and GCSEs
In her letter, Ms Rampersaud explains that centre-assessment grades had generally been accepted for coursework and grades for examined units had been calculated using historical performance data with a view of maintaining overall outcomes over time. “Our review will remove these calculated grades and apply consistency across teacher-assessed internal grades and examined grades that students were unable to sit.”
She adds that she appreciates that this will cause additional uncertainty for students. “We are sorry about this,” she says.
In a statement published on its website, Pearson said no student who had already been issued with results last week would get a lower grade as a result of the review process.
Ms Rampersaud asked schools and colleges not to issue any BTEC level 1 and 2 results tomorrow, “as these will be reviewed and where appropriate regarded". However, Tes understands some college may still issue BTEC results.
Ofqual said: "Monday’s decision to move away from the algorithmic approach used for GCSEs and A levels has led to those few awarding organisations that used similar approaches to reconsider their awarding decisions and place greater weight on the most trusted evidence available. Those that used qualification-level centre-assessment grades will be able to recalculate results and issue them on time."
Association of Colleges chief executive David Hughes said: “BTEC students deserve equal footing with A Levels and GCSEs. The public perception was that using CAG grades for some exams and not for BTEC students was unfair. We had asked Pearson to look at a small number of results which looked unfair and they were happy to do that. An overall review can address those results and check that no student has been treated unfairly.
"The timing is worrying, because thousands of students were due to get their results in the morning and others have already got results which we know will not go down, but which might improve. So it is vital for students that this is sorted in days rather than weeks so that students have the chance to celebrate and to plan their next steps. It is a stressful time and this delay will extend the uncertainties.
"Those students wanting to move onto further or higher education will be most worried about losing out on places. We are in close communication with DfE, Ofqual and Pearson to particularly make sure that BTEC students applying for universities can still be treated fairly."
Mr Hughes added: "For those who would have received their level 1 and 2 BTECs tomorrow we urge them to speak to their local college who will do everything in their power to support them to progress and get on with the learning and training they’re so keen to begin.”