BTec results caught up in exams mishap

It has been reported that students taking BTec vocational qualifications have been caught up in the exam crisis that has affected A-level and GCSE results in England.

Although the Department for Education and Ofqual have stated on several occasions that BTecs would not be disrupted, schools have reported frustration with erratic grading, clerical errors and delayed results by the exam board Pearson, which administers BTecs as an equivalent to A-levels.

There is also two stories being told, with Pearson insisting that only 0.5 per cent of the BTec level 3 grades awarded were lowered by its internal process, while schools claim that  they have seen many more cases of students getting downgraded results.

Students are also waiting for an outcome to be announced, with students receiving A-level and GCSE results told that their school-assessed grades would replace those awarded by Ofqual. As of yet, thousands of students taking BTecs do not know how their cases will be handled.

Plympton Academy said one of its students taking an engineering BTec was awarded distinctions in all four internally-assessed units. But the course’s single external unit was given a U or fail grade by Pearson, and the student was awarded a U overall rather than the expected top mark of a starred distinction (D*).

According to Paul McCormack, assistant principal for curriculum and standards at the Plymouth-based academy, 39 per cent of BTec results at Plympton Academy were downgraded from the assessed grades, more than the 31 per cent of A-level grades at the school. As a result the school’s engineering BTec results have dropped by a grade and a quarter in progress since 2019.

Ofqual has said in a statement: “A small proportion of [vocational 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 has been decided about GCSEs and A-levels yesterday.”

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