Centre Assessment Grades announcement– impact on VTQs
18 August 2020
You will have seen a statement from the Ofqual Chair, Roger Taylor, released a short while ago stating that centre assessment grades (CAGs) will apply to GCSE and A level results in England, overriding grades that have been determined using a statistical model.
What does this mean for VTQs?
The statistical standardisation approach that was used for A levels was not generally used for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs), many of which took into account work that learners had already completed in the course of their study. A separate regulatory framework, designed to provide the flexibility needed to cater for the diversity of the landscape of vocational and technical qualifications, covered other qualifications including BTEC, International Baccalaureate and many thousands of others.
Under the framework for VTQs, each awarding organisation has been responsible for developing its own model for issuing results in line with a set of principles. The framework has allowed us, where necessary, to prioritise the issue of sufficiently valid and reliable results over the maintenance of standards. The framework was developed by Ofqual and implemented in close collaboration with the wider sector.
Although calculated results have been issued for many VTQs, in only a very few cases has the same kind of statistical standardisation process of Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) been used – in other words, Ofqual think there are few qualifications where the cohort has received entirely algorithmically determined grades. Instead, the sector has devised approaches which maximised the use of the most trusted evidence and applied a robust form of quality assurance (often involving collection of additional evidence to support teacher judgements).
In many cases where CAGs formed part of the awarding approach, they were issued at unit level (and not at qualification level) and this was generally not the only piece of evidence used – many VTQs are modular in nature and so students will have “banked” results from units they had already taken. The use of banked results helps deliver results that best reflect each learner’s level of knowledge, skills and understanding. So CAGs have not, in most cases, weighed so heavily in VTQ qualification-level results. Feedback from the sector so far is that VTQ results have been largely stable and consistent with centres’ expectations. A move away from a statistical standardisation approach towards using CAGs alone is expected to have limited impact as it will not change the results for the vast majority of VTQ learners.
For the small number of qualifications that have used a statistical standardisation approach similar to the GQ model, that results in entirely algorithmically determined results, Ofqual has asked that the approach be reviewed in light of decisions today on GCSEs and A levels.
Ofqual recognise that changes in approach will mean a small proportion of VTQ results will need to be reissued. We do not expect this to be the case for any AIM Qualifications.