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  1. BTEC & A-level qualifications: An Update • David MacKay • 27 November 2013

  2. Content of presentation • GCSE reforms • A level reforms • 16-19 vocational qualification reforms • Drivers: 16-19 study programmes, funding and accountability measures Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  3. 1 GCSE reforms Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  4. GCSE review – timetable for GCSE subjects • First teaching 2015/first results 2017 • English language, English literature and mathematics First teaching 2016/first results 2018 • The sciences, history, geography and languages • Other subjects? – Ofqual consultation in the New Year to establish principles for determining which other subjects should be allowed as GCSEs Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  5. Changes to be made to GCSEs • A fully linear structure, with all assessment at the end of the course and content not divided into modules • Exams as the default method of assessment, except where they cannot provide valid assessment of the skills required. Non-exam assessment on a subject-by-subject basis • Tiering to be used only in exceptional cases. It will be decided on a subject-by-subject basis • A new 1–9 grading scale, with 9 being the top level • DfE consulted on content for named phase 1/2 subjects in the summer – revised content and assessment objectives now published https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gcse-subject-content-and-assessment-objectives Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  6. The new grading system and the GCSE standard • The new qualifications will be significantly different and the new grading scale will make this clear • Currently there is a “bunching” of grades as most students are awarded grades B, C and D. Adding in an extra grade will improve the spread of grades in this area and provide better discrimination • Having 9 grades will avoid the risk of people mapping new grades to old grades • Consultation proposals will be out for consultation in December on how the new GCSE standard should be set Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  7. Arrangements for the 2015 subjects • English language: • untiered • fully assessed by an external exam • as now, a speaking assessment that will be reported separately. • English literature: • untiered • assessed by external exam only; • Mathematics: • Tiered with an improved overlapping tiers model – foundation tier covering grades 1-5 and higher tier covering grades 4-9 • assessed by external exam only, as now. Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  8. 2 A level reforms Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  9. A level developments: decisions made autumn 2012 • A levels to be linear • AS levels to be linear, stand-alone and at the same level as at present • The content of the AS could be a subset of the A level content to allow coteachability with the A level • No common elements of assessment – i.e. scores on the AS assessments will not contribute to the A level • Removal of the January series from 2014 onwards Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  10. Further developments since autumn 2012: the Smith Review Professor Mark Smith of the University of Lancaster was invited to independently review the inter-awarding body proposals for each subject and, following some additional work, submitted his report including an outline of all of the changes needed to the subject criteria for each of the subjects under review DfE and Ofqual announced the timeline for development of each subject: Subjects for phase 1 (first teaching from September 2015): art and design; biology; business studies; chemistry; computer science; economics; English language; English literature; English language and literature; geography; history; physics; psychology; and sociology. Subjects for phase 2 (first teaching from September 2016): mathematics; further mathematics; languages + other subjects to be confirmed Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  11. Phase 1 consultation There are two consultations currently under way: • DfE is consulting on the content proposals. https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1934&external=no&menu=1 • Launch date: 25 October 2013 • Closing date: 20 December 2013 • Ofqual is consulting on the technical issues relating to structure and assessment http://comment.ofqual.gov.uk/a-level-regulatory-requirements-october-2013/ • Launch date: 25 October 2013 • Closing date: 17 January 2014 Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  12. Specific proposals in the DfE consultations - Content • AS content generally nested in the A level content • AS/A level content updated • Computing now ‘Computer Science’ – computational thinking skills • English Literature – A level requires study of a minimum of 8 texts: at least 3 pre-1900 works (1 Shakespeare play); a post-2000 work; unseen text – AS 4 texts, one pre-1900 • Geography – ‘coursework’ added; new annex of quantitative skills • History – A level students to study topics from a chronological range of at least 200 years (including one 100-year period); 20% British • Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology – mathematical requirements revised with exemplifications; appendix of requirements for working scientifically Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  13. Assessment proposals in the Ofqual consultation Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  14. Ofqual proposals – question types • “Taken together, assessments should include questions or tasks which allow learners to: • (a) provide extended responses • (b) demonstrate their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and/or understanding from across a full course of study for that qualification, •  and that learners are appropriately rewarded for doing so.” • “An ‘extended response’ is evidence generated by a Learner which is of sufficient length to allow that Learner to demonstrate the ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning which is coherent, relevant, comprehensive and logically structured.” Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  15. Specific proposals in the Ofqual consultation - standard • “The grading standard of the new A levels and AS qualifications will not be different from that of the current versions and despite the changes, we are proposing A levels and AS qualifications will remain substantially the same qualifications as at present. The exam boards that are already recognised to award A levels and AS qualifications will therefore continue to be recognised to award the new versions of the qualifications.” • “There will no longer be a need for [A level] assessments to be at different levels of demand. All A level assessments must therefore be at the same level of demand – the level of demand of the assessments now taken by A level students at the end of the course” Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  16. A Level Content Advisory Board (ALCAB)The ALCAB will seek to advise and inform Ofqual of the views of Russell Group institutions, and others within the Higher Education Sector, on the content of A levels. The guidance from this group will focus on the subjects categorised by the Russell Group as facilitating for entry to leading universities. Its first task will be to review Maths, Further Maths and LanguagesIt will contribute to the Ofqual annual review of A levels. Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  17. 3 16-19 vocational qualification reforms Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  18. New categories of vocational qualifications • There will be two categories of vocational qualifications for 16-19 year olds: • Technical Level • Applied General • “Technical Level Qualifications are for students wishing to specialise in a technical occupation or occupational group. They will equip a student with specialist knowledge and skills, enabling entry to employment or an Apprenticeship in that occupational group or progression to a related further or higher education course. In some cases they can provide a ‘licence to practise’ or exemption from professional exams.” Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  19. “Applied General Qualifications are for students wishing to continue their general education at advanced level through applied learning. They equip a student with transferable knowledge and skills. They will fulfil entry requirements for a range of higher education courses, either by meeting entry requirements in their own right or being accepted alongside other qualifications at the same level. They may also enable entry to employment or an Apprenticeship.” Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  20. Characteristics that level 3 vocational qualifications must demonstrate Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  21. E: External assessment • Ofqual definition of external assessment: • “A form of independent assessment in which question papers, assignments and tasks are set by the awarding organisation, taken under specified conditions (including details of supervision and duration) and marked by the awarding organisation.” • DfE expects, as a minimum, for both Technical Level and Applied General Qualifications: • “all knowledge and understanding to be subject to external assessment (for Applied General Qualifications this should make up the majority of the qualification’s content) • all internal assessments of skills-based content to be subject to external moderation.” Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  22. BTEC Nationals – first teaching 2014 for 2016 Performance Tables • We have submitted 187 QCF BTEC Nationals (including some WBL) for the first list of approved qualifications – confirmation due 2nd week of December • All QCF Certificates(150 GLH) have been submitted as ‘Applied General’ qualifications because they are fewer than 300 GLH. • All QCF Sub-Diplomas, Diplomas, 90-credit Diplomas and Extended Diplomas have been submitted as ‘Technical Levels’ Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  23. Review of BTEC Nationals – for first teaching 2016 for 2018 Performance Tables • Being reviewed to meet all 9 criteria for 2018 Performance Tables • Revised qualifications will be on the NQF • External Sector Advisory Group set up for each subject – employer, HE, professional body and teacher representation • Employers to be involved in setting assignments • Pearson World Class Qualification methodology being used • demanding, rigorous, inclusive, empowering • benchmarked against high performing jurisdictions • signed off by panel of experts from around the world • First teaching September 2016 Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  24. 4 Drivers: 16-19 study programmes, funding and accountability proposals Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  25. 16-19 Study Programmes (Sept 2013 on) • All students will take: • an A level or ‘substantial’ vocational qualification which is recognised by employers and HE • Work experience where appropriate • GCSE Mathematics and English if not already achieved at grade C Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  26. 16-19 funding • The new funding system for 16-18 year olds being introduced from August 2013 is based on a standard sum per student rather than an amount per qualification • The Education Funding Agency (EFA) expects that the average for full time student programmes will be 600 hours, and has set the funding rate on this basis • The national funding rate for 2013/14 is £4000 per student Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  27. 16-19 accountability measures proposals A DfE consultation on proposals for accountability measures for courses to be reported in performance tables in 2016 ran from 12 Sept 2013 to 20 Nov 2013. Proposals are for those taking level 2 as well as level 3. Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  28. Level 2 qualifications – DfE statement • “We expect the majority of students studying at level 2 will either be retaking qualifications like GCSE mathematics and English or will be taking substantial vocational qualifications. • Level 2 substantial vocational qualifications are large qualifications which provide the knowledge and skills necessary to enter a particular trade or skilled occupation e.g. plumbing. • We plan to establish an approved list of level 2 substantial vocational qualifications that will be recognised within performance tables. • We propose that this list will apply to students starting level 2 courses in September 2015.” Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  29. Accountability measures proposals • Five Top Line performance measures at level 3: • A level/applied general: a progress measure showing the progress of similar students nationally who, according to their results at Key Stage 4, were of the same level of ability (min standards set) • Tech level/level 2: a combined attainment and completion measure comparing a provider's attainment in each subject to the national average performance in that subject with non-completion shown as a failure (minimum standards to be set) • All quals: absolute attainment measures showing the average level of attainment at level 3 • All quals: destination measures showing where students have gone after leaving an institution • All quals: completion measures showing how many students who start a course are retained until the end of the course Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13

  30. Accountability measures proposals – additional measures at level 3 • AAB in 2 or 3 facilitating subjects at A level • A Tech Bacc measure • An approved L3 Technical Level qualification • Core mathematics (an approved L3 maths qual) • The Extended Project Qualification • Closing the Gap measures (attainment by those in receipt of pupil premium) • Attainment of an approved level 3 mathematics qualification Qualifications reform update – 27.11.13