Some students will be issued a revised grade for their BTEC Tech Awards in light of the late changing of grade boundaries, Pearson has announced.
In a statement published on its website, the exam board admits that some students taking the level 2 qualifications would have been likely to achieve a higher grade under the new grade boundaries if they had been presented with an opportunity to resit.
It also acknowledges that it should have been clearer at the start of the teaching year that grade standards were subject to change, in order to help better guide teacher and student choices throughout the year, and apologises “unreservedly for this and for the concern this has caused students, teachers and parents”.
On Friday, letters were sent out which detailed changes to BTEC Tech Awards grade boundaries. The changes – which involved boundaries rising and will mean that students could receive a grade below what they had expected – were highly criticised by teachers.
Absolutely disgusted that Pearson have released a letter stating massive changes on a grade boundary for BTEC Tech PA (10% more needed for Merit+) however wish students success after cheating them out of grades! @PearsonSchools this is appalling. So much confusion for staff to! pic.twitter.com/lncqivbjMN— Toby Fox (@FoxyTeachingEd) August 17, 2019
In its statement published today, Pearson acknowledges that "some students would have been likely to achieve a higher grade if they had been presented with the opportunity to resit". It adds: "As a result, we are issuing this group of students with a revised grade, to ensure that no one is disadvantaged. We will be in touch with those schools and colleges to let them know that they will receive the updated result tomorrow."
Fears for BTEC students
The statement also adds: “We're also hearing concerns that the changes to the grade table might impact students' progression to college or sixth form. As most colleges and sixth forms request a pass, we believe it unlikely that any students' progression will be affected in this way. To be sure, we are writing today to all colleges to inform them about the changes that we've made so that they can take into account students' performance on the individual units when making their decisions.”
Responding to calls for the old grade boundaries to stay in place for this 2018-19 cohort and only be put in place from September, the statement states: “We have, of course, considered the alternative – not making any changes until September for the second cohort. While some might think this would be a preferred option, this would have put us at risk of a breach of our regulatory conditions and, more importantly, this would be the wrong thing to do. It would undermine the value of the qualification, and students across different cohorts would have been treated entirely differently for the same work. It has been possible for us to address this before we issue any grades for these new qualifications in their first year of certification – and this is what we have done."