Two per cent of BTEC results were downgraded, says Williamson

UPDATE: Pearson has now said only 0.5 per cent of BTEC results have been downgraded

Two per cent of BTEC results were downgraded from the teacher-assessed grades, the education secretary said this morning. 

Gavin Williamson told the BBC Breakfast programme the BTEC awarding body Pearson are going to be reviewing all of those grades, and the Department for Education was working with the company to ensure no further delay with the release of BTEC results. 

“We will expect there to be a consistency across the board,” the embattled minister said, after he U-turned yesterday on allowing A-level and GCSE to use the grades awarded to them by their colleges if it is higher than the grades calculated for them by exam boards.

A few hours after that announcement was made, Williamson confirmed to journalists the government was looking at how BTEC learners could also use their centre-assessed grades. 

It was revealed last week that 40 per cent of A-level grades were downgraded from their centre-assessed grades, leading to an outcry from students who had lost university places due to their calculated grades and to England following Scotland and Northern Ireland in allowing students to use grades awarded by teachers. 

Asked why there was a delay in allowing BTEC learners to use centre-assessed grades, Williamson said “We are working with Pearson to make sure that there isn’t any further delay,” but there were not the same issues with making the allowance for BTECs as there were with A-levels.

After it was announced BTEC learners could use their centre-assessed grades, Pearson told FE Week BTECs are structured “very differently” to A-levels, comprising modular units and regular assessments. 

This year, colleges were asked to submit all grades to Pearson for internal assessment, as well as any grades for units which had not been completed, which were accepted “with very little change”. 

These grades formed part of the evidence, along with the previously completed assessments, to award final results to learners. 

And for the “very small number of grades” that were adjusted, Pearson said they will be reviewing them “on a case by case basis”. 

The awarding body was approached for a response to Williamson’s comments.

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 you situation and the impact it has had. Email: news@feweek.co.uk