Ofqual: Small number of level 2 results will be delayed this Thursday

Exams regulator Ofqual has warned the results of a small number of level 2 qualifications due for release this week may be delayed. 

In a statement on the grading of vocational and technical qualifications released this afternoon, Ofqual says a small proportion of vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) were put through a grading algorithm, similar to the approach taken for A-levels and GCSEs. 

So, following the government’s announcement yesterday that centre-assessment grades (CAGs) could be used to decide A-level, GCSE and VTQ results, Ofqual said: “A small proportion of results at level 2 and below which are due for issue this Thursday will need to be recalculated.  

“It is possible that they may not be available until a few days later than expected and any awarding organisations in this position will provide information as soon as possible about when this will be.” 

Furthermore, Ofqual said it is starting to see awarding bodies re-run awarding processes to ensure VTQ learners are not disadvantages compared to GCSE and A-level students. 

“We think that a small proportion of level 3 VTQ results that were issued last week will be regraded upwards as a result,” the statement reads. 

The update was given, the watchdog says, “to reassure learners who have taken vocational and technical qualifications, after yesterday’s decision”. 

It is “vital” people understand, the statement continues, the grading algorithm used to decide A-levels and GCSEs was not used in most VTQs, including BTECs, as VTQs are structured differently. 

Many VTQs, Ofqual said, were able to use work completed during the course as a basis for calculating results and for other qualifications, learners had taken adapted assessments so there was no calculation process.  

For those qualifications which did use calculation, not all used CAGS and where they did, this was often at the level of modular units, so CAGS “did not weigh so heavily in arriving at the final result”.  

“That’s why we have seen little divergence between the results that schools and colleges thought learners would get, and the results that have been issued. We haven’t seen the same downward moderation of results following statistical standardisation,” the statement added. 

The statement also confirms that 0.5 per cent of BTEC grades given out by awarding body Pearson were adjusted down from the CAGs, after education secretary Gavin Williamson said it was two per cent and Pearson publicly corrected him. 

Ofqual also said it has been notified some students are receiving their results late, adding: “We are monitoring this very closely and can confirm that all the awarding organisations are working as fast as they can with schools and colleges to resolve the remaining issues so that learners are not being disadvantaged when it comes to applications to higher education.” 

This comes after Pearson said some BTEC results had suffered delays, and it was looking into it “urgently” to “provide any outstanding results as soon as we can”.  

Awaiting your BTEC and/or vocational results? 

If you are an individual or institution still waiting for your BTEC or any other vocational results, that you expected to receive on Thursday 13 August, contact FE Week. We’re keen to hear from individuals and institutions about your situation and the impact it has had. Email: news@feweek.co.uk 


Ofqual’s full statement

These are extraordinary times for young people who have recently taken exams and we want to reassure learners who have taken vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) after yesterday’s decision to revert to centre assessment grades (CAGs) for GCSEs and A levels. Our priority has always been to ensure that no student is disadvantaged, that results issued this year are robust and reliable, and that as many students as possible get their results this summer.

It is vital that people understand that the statistical standardisation approach – the grading algorithm – used in A levels and GCSEs was not used in most VTQs, including BTECs.

VTQs are structured differently to A levels and GCSEs, and so the approach to awarding results has been different. Many VTQs were able to use evidence of work completed during the course and use this as a basis for calculating results. Indeed, for many qualifications, learners had taken adapted assessments and so there was no calculation process needed at all. For those qualifications that did use calculation, not all used CAGs. Where they did, it was often at unit level – so the CAGs did not weigh so heavily in arriving at the final result. 

That’s why we have seen little divergence between the results that schools and colleges thought learners would get, and the results that have been issued. We haven’t seen the same downward moderation of results following statistical standardisation.

In BTECs, for example, students complete modular units and are assessed at regular stages during their course of study. This summer, Pearson was able to use those banked unit grades and CAGs for units that hadn’t been completed – and all but a fraction of unit-level CAGs were accepted – after quality assurance checks – to generate the final overall qualification-level grade.

For the very small number of unit-level CAGs that were adjusted down (about 0.5%), Pearson will be reviewing those results with centres on a case-by-case basis, following the same principles as those announced for A levels.  

A small proportion of 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 was been decided about GCSEs and A levels yesterday.  As a result, we are starting to see them re-running their awarding processes, to ensure that learners are not disadvantaged when compared to their peers taking GCSEs and A levels. We think that a small proportion of Level 3 VTQ results that were issued last week will be regraded upwards as a result.

There are a small proportion of results at Level 2 and below which are due for issue this Thursday that will need to be recalculated. It is possible that they may not be available until a few days later than expected and any awarding organisations in this position will provide information as soon as possible about when this will be.

The overwhelming majority of VTQ learners have now received the results they expected last week. Some awarding organisations did notify us of late results and we understand the anxiety this causes every single learner who is still waiting. We are monitoring this very closely and can confirm that all the awarding organisations are working as fast as they can with schools and colleges to resolve the remaining issues so that learners are not being disadvantaged when it comes to applications to higher education.

If learners have questions about vocational and technical qualifications, they should speak to their centre in the first instance, who may wish to contact the relevant awarding organisation. There is further information about the grading of vocational and technical qualifications on our website.