Feltham and Heston MP Seema Malhotra has written to the head of BTEC-awarding body Pearson to seek urgent clarity about BTEC grades amid concerns from schools that they do not have the necessary data to correct the grades and have not announced how they will be getting it.
Analysis from local schools affected has suggested that there have been some inexplicable results proposed.
In one example, a student who had received two distinctions and a merit in three modules over Year 12 and Year 13 and had a consistent level of engagement and achievement was allocated a “near pass” (8/32) for her Unit 3 externally assessed exam which she had not sat due to the cancellation of exams. Her expected distinction was downgraded to Merit.
The MP called on Pearson to make clear what methodology is being used, because Pearson has not asked for all the Centre Assessed Grades from BTEC units from schools.
She said told the Herald: ”Schools have explained to me that for the units that were internally assessed and externally moderated prior to lockdown, that Pearson asked for and will have the CAGs on record. However for units which students were due to re-sit, or where further units were to be completed including by examination in spring/summer 2020, no Centre Assessed Grades had been requested by Pearson. One school has said that in the absence of CAGs, Pearson appear to have awarded the lowest possible mark in the mark range for all pupils.”
“This is yet more unbelievable chaos which the Government should have been across a long time ago. It’s a real worry for many local students and their teachers, who will not yet know if they have got the grades have earnt, and face getting a grade calculated without any transparency.”
The statement by Ofqual on Monday 18th August regarding BTECs suggested that Pearson was using CAGs for units that hadn’t been completed, but this is being challenged by local schools.
With the Ofqual statement saying that Pearson will be reviewing results that were adjusted down with centres on a case-by-case basis, the MP has asked for clarity about how and when is this due to happen, and what evidence will be used for the review.
Malhotra said, “Our young people who have worked so hard for their results, and who have had their education and lives disrupted through no fault of their own deserve better than this. After the u-turn on appeal fees and on grading for GCSEs and A-Levels, concerns about BTech grades need to be addressed urgently and transparently.”
Earlier this week, the MP appeared on Newsnight to discuss Labour’s response to the Government’s announcement that A-Level students would receive their Centre-Assessed Grades, where she also called for fair and equitable treatment for BTEC students.
Her full letter to Pearson can be read below.