Pearson announces eleventh-hour grading U-turn on BTECs – telling colleges NOT to issue results tomorrow

Colleges have been told not to issue BTEC results tomorrow after an eleventh hour grading U-turn from Pearson.

The company, which is the custodian of BTECs, told colleges at 4.30pm today the qualifications will be regraded to “apply consistency across teacher assessed internal grades” following the U-turn for GCSEs and A-levels.

While CAGs for internal units, such as coursework, are generally accepted, Pearson had subsequently calculated the grades for the examined units using historical performance data to “maintain overall outcomes over time”.

It has left leaders frantically reopening results envelopes to amend the details that will be given to pupils tomorrow morning, and leaving thousands of youngsters with missing results.

Ofqual said Pearson “initially did not think there would need to be significant changes” but has now “decided to revise its arrangements”.

They said this would “ensure that students’ qualification-level results better reflect the unit-level results that students have already secured through internally-assessed units”.

A spokesperson for the regulator added: “Everyone is working as quickly as possible to confirm results as soon as possible, recognising the impact that delays are having on schools, colleges and students.”

Pearson has asked schools not to issue level 1 and 2 BTECs tomorrow as they are now being regraded, along with the level 3 nationals.

In a letter to colleges, Cindy Rampersaud, senior vice president, said: “We appreciate this will cause additional uncertainty for students and we are sorry about this.

“Our priority is to ensure fair outcomes for BTEC students in relation to A levels and GCSEs and that no BTEC student is disadvantaged.”

She added they will “work urgently … to reissue these grades”.

Association of Colleges chief executive David Hughes said they had asked Pearson to look at a “small number of results which looked unfair”.

He added that BTEC students “deserve equal footing with A-levels and GCSEs,”  as there has been a “perception that using CAG grades for some exams and not for BTEC students was unfair”.

But he expressed concern with the timing, as thousands of students were due to get their results tomorrow, while others have already received theirs.

“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.”

Students who want to move onto further or higher education will be the “most worried,” Hughes continued, and the AoC are communicating with the DfE, Ofqual and Pearson to “make sure BTEC students applying for universities can still be treated fairly”.


LETTER IN FULL

Dear Colleague,

Following Ofqual’s announcement that A Level and GCSE students are to receive Centre Assessment Grades, we have reviewed the impact on BTEC students and taken on board feedback from teachers, schools and colleges. Following our review and your feedback we have decided to apply Ofqual’s principles for students receiving BTECs this summer.

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 consistent 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.

Although we generally accepted Centre Assessment Grades for internal (i.e. coursework) units, we subsequently calculated the grades for the examined units 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.

We will work urgently with you to reissue these grades and will update you as soon as we possibly can. We want to reassure students that no grades will go down as part of this review.

We appreciate this will cause additional uncertainty for students and we are sorry about this. Our priority is to ensure fair outcomes for BTEC students in relation to A Levels and GCSEs and that no BTEC student is disadvantaged.

Therefore, we ask schools and colleges not to issue any BTEC L1 and L2 results tomorrow as these will be reviewed and where appropriate, regraded.

We will share more information as soon as we can. Please contact us if you have any questions. We thank you in advance for your understanding and patience.

Best wishes,

Cindy Rampersaud
Senior Vice-President
BTEC & Apprenticeships