T Level results: A third achieve top grades but digital proves toughest subject

The first ever cohort of T Level students are receiving their results today

The first ever cohort of T Level students are receiving their results today

More than a third of students have achieved top grades in the first ever set of T Level results – but digital has proven to be the most difficult subject.

Overall, 34.6 per cent of the 1,029 T Level students receiving results today were awarded a Distinction or Distinction*. The overall pass rate was 92.2 per cent.

The 482 students on the education and childcare pathway performed the best as 40.2 per cent achieved top grades and a 93.4 per cent pass rate. The proportion of the 207 students on the design, surveying and planning for construction T Level scoring top grades was 35.8 per cent as 93.7 per cent passed.

But only 25.9 per cent of the 340 students on the digital production, design and development T Level got top grades as 89.7 per cent passed.

T Level results in full

Today’s data shows that 10 per cent of digital students did not complete the full T Level and only partially achieved. A “partial achievement” means they completed at least one component of the course – core, occupational specialism or industry placement – but didn’t achieve all three.

In construction, 5.3 per cent of students only partially achieved and in education and childcare, that figure wa 6.4 per cent.

Sector leaders suspected that digital would prove to be the toughest subject to achieve in especially for students in rural areas, largely because of the challenge of finding employers to take them on for the mandatory 45-day work placement.

This cohort of T Level students were allowed to spend up to 40 per cent of their placement hours remotely after the Department for Education temporarily watered down the policy to reflect the impact of Covid-19. Today’s data shows that 94 per cent of all T Level students completed an industry placement.

T Levels are the government’s flagship new post-16 qualifications, designed to be the technical equivalent to A-levels.

The two-year courses launched for the first time in September 2020 in three subjects: education and childcare; design, surveying and planning for construction; and digital production, design and development.

They have been delivered by 44 colleges and schools.

The first T Level students received a one-off grading adjustment to reflect the impact of Covid, the government said yesterday. Awarding organisations were asked to be “generous” in their awards in line with the approach being taken for A-levels in the first year that exams have been sat since the pandemic.

The DfE previously said that around 1,300 students began the qualifications two years ago, but today’s shows that only 1,029 have received results. FE Week has asked the DfE to confirm whether this means that a fifth dropped out.

Education secretary James Cleverly said: “Today is a really exciting time for our pioneering T Level students, as the first ever group to take this qualification will pick up their results. I have no doubt they will be the first of many and embark on successful careers.”

Two awarding organisations were chosen to design and award the first three T Levels: NCFE took on education and childcare, while Pearson was responsible for digital and construction.

Zac Aldridge, director of qualifications and assessment at NCFE, said: “This is a hugely important day that signifies years of hard work from across the sector and government to strengthen the options available to young people and tackle the widening skills gap.

“We’ve seen first-hand just how much students – and employers – can gain from T Levels, and we’re incredibly proud of this first cohort as they receive their results, particularly given the challenges posed by the pandemic. A huge congratulations, too, to the teachers, providers and businesses for their hard work in bringing these qualifications to life.”

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