Pearson corrects education secretary on BTEC downgrades, saying only 0.5 per cent of results were moderated down

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The awarding body for BTECs has corrected education secretary Gavin Williamson after he said two per cent of results for the vocational qualification were moderated down. 

Williamson, who is already under fire after U-turning on allowing GCSE, A-level and vocational students to use centre-assessed grades, told BBC Breakfast this morning: “Two per cent of results of BTEC were moderated down from the teacher assessment.” 

Yet Pearson, which has been moderating BTEC results submitted by colleges, has said the two per cent figures refers to results which were moderated upwards or downwards, and only 0.5 per cent were downgraded – meaning three times as many results were upgraded as downgraded. 

“We can confirm we have accepted the overwhelming majority of level 3 submitted grades and that where adjustments were made, this was on the basis of strong statistical evidence both upwards and downwards,” a spokesperson said. 

Exam regulator Ofqual is currently working on allowing BTEC learners to use centre-assessed grades for their final results, after it was announced yesterday A-level and GCSE students could use those instead of their calculated grades.

But there are increasing concerns a small number of learners are yet to receive their results, with Pearson saying the delay has been down to some colleges and schools submitting student information after their deadlines. 

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 after assessments were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

The awarding body said centres’ missing deadlines was “understandable” given the pressures and workload schools and colleges have faced from dealing with the new system for deciding results, and they “understand the frustration this must have caused” learners. 

“We are working closely with the students and colleges involved to look into this urgently,” the spokesperson continued, “and provide any outstanding results as soon as we can”. 

The universities admission service UCAS has indicated that, where applicable, university places for affected learners will be held until the university receives their result. Pearson has said it will contact universities or UCAS for students if necessary. 

Anyone who has been impacted has been asked to send a direct message on Twitter to the @BTECstudents or @Edexcelstudents account. 

The Department for Education was approached for comment.

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:

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  1. Arch West

    Remarkably gentle on Pearson – do they advertise much with FE Week? Suggest for a bit of balance you contact those colleges who are still waiting for results. The delay is NOT because of late submissions and the colleges involved can provide evidence of this.