BTEC courses are an increasingly popular pathway into university, with students typically studying vocational topics such as Health and Social Care, Childcare or Media Studies. In the UAE, the most popular BTEC options are Business, Performing Arts and Sport. Coursework makes up a significant element of the final grade, however exams are a component of each student’s final result. Many of these exams were cancelled when the Covid19 related school closures were announced.
Cindy Rampersaud, vice-president of Pearson BTEC and Apprenticeship, wrote to schools to explain the decision. She told them that,
“We appreciate this will cause additional uncertainty for students and we are sorry about this. Our priority is to ensure fair outcomes for BTEC students in relation to A-levels and GCSEs and that no BTEC student is disadvantaged”.
She went on to say that they would “would urgently…to reissue these grades”.
The BTEC announcement comes just hours before the release of GCSE results around the world. There is expected to be a significant increase in GCSE results as students receive their teacher assessed grades, rather than those calculated using the now much maligned OFQUAL algorithm. This u turn was announced earlier in the week, along with a similar announcement for A Level results.
Exams around the world were cancelled or postponed as a result of the Covid19 pandemic. For British and IB curriculum exam results, there have been a number of changes of policy as to how results would be calculated. Initially, it was agreed that teacher-assessment would form the basis for calculating results, however in a move designed to prevent teachers from over-optimistically inflating grades, both the IB organisation and OFQUAL, the UK exam regulator, created an algorithm to moderate results. In both cases the algorithm proved highly unpopular with teachers, parents and students and has now been withdrawn in favour of teacher assessed grades or grades based upon coursework.
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