Regulated qualifications are classified into 19 qualification types with an associated ‘level’, which is indicative of the level of demand. The table below shows the current levels for each type of qualification and the relationship between them. Level 3 is at about the same level of demand, but not necessarily the same size, as an A level, and Level 2 is at about the same level of demand as a GCSE at grade C or above. On 1 October 2015, Ofqual withdrew the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) requirements. This means that from that date, the QCF type has ceased to exist. However, for administrative reasons, awarding organisations could still use the QCF type on the system for new qualifications when no other type was appropriate, until our new system was introduced in summer 2016.
There has been a considerable change in the last year in which qualifications are taught in schools following the Wolf Report (March 2011). 6 Any qualification on the Section 96 funding list could count towards the measures included in 2013 school performance tables. For the 2014 performance tables (course taught from September 2012), whilst a large number of qualifications are still funded, only a small number of non-GCSEs or A levels can contribute to the measures within the performance tables. This would have created changes within the school system with more focus on those qualifications contributing to the performance tables.
July 2011 - June 2012 July 2012 - June 2013 CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (QCF) 184,050 177,450 OCR Level 2 National First Award in ICT 144,400 149,650 Pearson BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Applied Science (QCF) 31,500 99,000 Pearson BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Sport (QCF) 21,550 68,550 ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 1) 41,600 67,300 OCR Level 2 National Award in ICT 81,950 63,100 Pearson Edexcel Functional Skills qualification in Mathematics at Level 1 46,400 56,400 Cambridge ESOL Level 1 Certificate in English (IELTS 5.5-6.5) 40,850 55,450 ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 2) 30,450 49,500 Pearson BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Sport (QCF) 18,750 47,800 Sports Leaders UK Level 1 Award in Sports Leadership (QCF) 55,650 47,700 Pearson BTEC Level 1 Award in WorkSkills (QCF) 27,650 46,500 City & Guilds Functional Skills qualification in mathematics at level 1 33,150 45,250 CIEH Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace (QCF) 44,600 43,250 Pearson Edexcel Functional Skills qualification in Mathematics at Level 2 38,750 42,900 ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance
There were increases of 11% in the Western HSC Trusts, 8% in the Belfast HSC Trust, 5% in the Northern HSC Trust and 3% in the South Eastern HSC Trust between quarter ending 31 March 2016 and 30 June2016. Over the same period there was a decrease of 22% in the Southern HSC Trust. In general we should be careful in drawing conclusions from these findings as the relatively small numbers involved can lead to what seem to be large quarter on quarter percentage changes.
Considering this trend over the last five years (see table 7 in the appendix), it can be seen that certificate numbers issued for level 4 and level 5 qualifications reached their maximum value in the 12 months to April – June 2011 and 12 months to January – March 2011, respectively. Since then the numbers of certificates issued have been fairly stable. The number of certificates issued for level 7 qualifications has been increasing up to 12 months to quarter end Q3 2012 but this is now declining. The number of certificates issued for level 6 and level 8 qualifications continues to increase, although the numbers are small for level 8 qualifications.
Regulated qualifications are classified into 19 qualification types with an associated ‘level’, which is indicative of the level of demand. The table below shows the current levels for each type of qualification and the relationship between them. Level 3 is at about the same level of demand, but not necessarily the same size, as an A level, and Level 2 is at about the same level of demand as a GCSE at grade C or above. On 1 October 2015, Ofqual withdrew the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) requirements. This means that from that date, the QCF type has ceased to exist. However, for administrative reasons, awarding organisations can still use the QCF type on the system for new qualifications when no other type is appropriate, until our new system is introduced this summer.
Both reports raise fundamental questions concerning grading in TVET contexts. Yet, on reflection, it is not unreasonable to ask why this issue should even be up for debate. After all, the idea of grading is not new. Learners have been graded in all sorts of educational contexts, all over the world, for decades and decades. Should we not already know what good practice in grading vocational and technical assessments looks like?
Proficiency continuum. The acquisition of competence within a domain can be understood as a trajectory of learning, from relative novice to relative expert. This introduces the idea of a proficiency continuum, with: the competence of the relative novice at one end; the competence of the relative expert at the other; and a variety of distinguishable levels of competence in between. Grades can be understood as sets of proficiency bands, arranged hierarchically to represent positions along the
The proportion of 16-18 year olds NET fell by 2.2 percentage points to 17.0% in April-June 2013, compared to 19.1% in April-June 2012. There has been a steady decline in the April-June NET figures from 2003 to 2010, then a two year period of stagnation, followed by this year’s drop. This decrease is statistically significant and is the lowest April-June rate since consistent records began in 2000.
carried out on functional skills qualifications, making sure they remain relevant to employers and ensuring they are a reliable way of signalling achievement in numeracy and literacy. Taken in the round, this represents a significant programme of change. Although only five weeks into my current role, it is apparent to me that we need to configure ourselves, collectively, to meet these challenges. Our intent is to work closely with all interested parties to establish an appropriate and coherent regulatory system for the reformed vocational qualification landscape.
Although this research was supported by very useful conversations with AO colleagues, the most important caveat to bear in mind is that it was essentially a desk-based exercise, based upon the representation of measurement standards and grading practices within qualification documents. What remains far from clear is how these representations are appropriated and used by assessors, and moderators, when judging candidates’ performances. There might well be significant differences between how grading is presumed to be practised – as recorded in qualification documents – and how it is actually practised. Such differences might either be to the detriment of assessment accuracy, or, conceivably, to its benefit. The possibility of significant differences between documented and actual practices seems all the more likely for qualifications that took on some of the trappings of CBA, largely to comply with social-political-regulatory requirements or expectations, without radically changing well-established assessment procedures. Even assuming no differences between documented and actual practices, it would still remain unclear exactly how documentary representations are appropriated and used by assessors and moderators; in particular, the nature and level of (professional, pedagogic, or assessment) expertise that is required in order to ensure the effectiveness of any particular grading approach (see Johnson, 2008, for insights at this level of grain size). In short, the present report represents just a first step in a programme of work that will be necessary to understand in more depth what good practice in grading VTQs looks like.
• As highlighted above, the command verb that is used to articulate a particular AC is also used in each of its grading descriptors, from Pass to Distinction. In other words, differentiation between grades tends not to be articulated via command verbs that are presumed to embody qualitatively different degrees of challenge.
commenced. Imagine, for instance, two 21-year-old carpentry apprentices, who both ‘cashed in’ for a Merit after two years of work-based learning. One had started the apprenticeship with academic A levels, but with no experience of carpentry. The other had started after already having completed a two year diploma in carpentry. At the end of their apprenticeships, were they both equally meritorious, and both equally worthy of selection for a carpentry job? This is a rhetorical question, intended to unpick unstated assumptions regarding the meaning and utility of grading. However, exactly this situation arises in relation to the Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), perhaps raising questions of fairness concerning the integration of APL and grading (Williams and Bateman, 2003).
The review identifies constructive work already underway that will contribute to improving adult vocationalqualifications, and identifies much that works in the current system. It also clarifies areas where we need to go further and faster to connect vocationalqualifications to the skills needs of industry. Taking the steps set out in this report will give employers the space to lead the design, the development and the delivery of the adult vocationalqualifications that England needs, supporting growth and boosting competitiveness, and helping individuals into rewarding careers. Achieving this means putting employers and individuals first and having an effective feedback loop showing the impact of adult vocationalqualifications. The effect of these changes is summarised in the key difference table, Section 7. The recommendations break down the barriers to the most effective use of the skills system. A number of the characteristics of the QCF and NOS should be revised or reformed. Awarding organisations and training providers should be held to account for providing vocationalqualifications that deliver relevant, reliable skills. Data collected and available on qualifications databases should
These estimates are from a ‘highest qualification’ specification, and therefore represent the total returns to all qualifications acquired up to the highest level achieved, measured relative to individuals with no qualifications. However, the LFS only reports the age of acquisition once for the individual’s highest qualification, whatever that is. The authors therefore could not include highest academic qualification and highest vocational qualification separately in their estimated equation, as they had done in their main specifications discussed above, but only highest qualification, regardless of type. The estimated returns to any vocational qualification indicated to be an individual’s highest qualification will therefore be the sum of the returns to all qualifications held, including any academic qualifications ranked below the individual’s vocational qualification classed as their highest qualification. Also this equation was estimated on the full sample, rather than only on a sample of low-qualified individuals, so there will be individuals in the sample with the full range of otherqualifications. In the highest qualification variable in the LFS, holding GCSEs is actually ranked below all vocational Level 2 qualifications. Thus, if an individual holds both GCSEs and a vocational Level 2 qualification, the latter will be classified as their highest qualification, and the estimated ‘highest qualification’ returns to the vocational qualification will include the returns to the GCSEs. This could explain the apparently high estimated returns to vocational Level 2 qualifications in this specification. An examination of LFS data for 2008 reveals that, among all individuals recorded with NVQ2 as their highest qualification, 54% also hold GCSEs at grade C or above, and 23% hold 5 or more GCSEs at grade C or above. Furthermore, the holding of GCSEs amongst those with NVQ2 recorded as their highest qualification is more prevalent amongst the under 25s than amongst those aged 25 and above, so that the under-25s vocational returns will be more contaminated by GCSEs, which could explain the higher estimated returns amongst the under 25s noted above. Again in the 2008 LFS, 72% of the under 25s with NVQ2 recorded as their highest qualification also hold GCSEs at grade C or above, compared to 49% of those aged 25 and above (36% and 19% respectively for 5 or more GCSEs at grade C or above).