City of Leicester College hosted our first Leicester/shire BTEC network meeting on 8 October. Stacy Venables, the BTEC Regional Quality Manager gave an excellent presentation on the changes that have been made to the Next Generation BTECs and how they affect quality assurance arrangements. Stacy was able to respond to issues and concerns suggesting practical ways forward. Key points from the presentation are shown below. As a result of this meeting, those that attended suggested the presentation be repeated later this term so that more colleagues could attend. The next Leicester/shire BTEC Network meeting will be held on Thursday 28th November between 1600 and 1800. The venue is to be confirmed. It will include a presentation and question and answer from Stacy, plus an opportunity for subject specific networking. If you are interested in the network, please contact Elise James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Points of BTEC Presentation
Key Points of BTEC Presentation
- The recent announcement from Michael Gove regarding only results from first exam may apply to BTECs in certain subjects. Awaiting confirmation, but centres be aware
- Next Generation BTECs are designed as Level 2 qualifications, with Level 1 as 'fall back'. There is anecdotal evidence that these qualifications are more challenging than QCF BTECs as they have incorporated standards from GCSEs that are in development. Recruitment policies should take account of this.
- New BTECs have moved from Learning Outcomes to Learning Aims. This is more than a cosmetic change. Learning Aims need to be addressed holistically. This has implications for assignment writing and assessment generally
- Centres delivering Next Generation and QCF BTECs will need to operate two separate quality assurance systems. Lead IVs will need to register for both types of BTEC. Centres can have different Lead IVs for each type of BTEC.
- Next Generation BTECs - Lead IVs will need to download materials from OSCA that they complete first. This will take between 2 and 3 hours. They will then use the materials for a standardisation exercise with their team. This will take another 2-3 hours. Lead IVs must then confirm that this has been undertaken. If this is not confirmed, a Standards Verifier will not be allocated and certification will be blocked. Quality Nominees can monitor that Lead IVs have confirmed that standardisation has taken place
- An assessment plan now needs to be produced for each cohort of Next Generation learners. The assessment plan will need to be sent to the Standards Verifier when requested. The Standards Verifier will use this to set out the sampling plan
- There will be more external sampling by the Standards Verifier. For centres delivering the Award qualification, it could be that all internally assessed units are sampled. Only completed units are sampled. This has implications for assessment planning
- New IV templates are available for both QCF and Next Generation
- The approach to external assessment varies by qualification. Currently resits are only limited by the availability of the external assessment, however, this may change. Centres should look for notification as it may be that only the results of learners first sitting will count towards school performance. Later improvements will still count for the learner. Past papers, mark schemes are available for paper based external assessment. There are senior examiners reports on performance available. There are no national statistics available for the first year. However, it was found that where year 9 learners were a significant percentage of those taking the exam, the overall results were poor. Where learners were taking the exam towards the end of year 10 or into year 11, exam results reflected achievement in internal units. Science external assessments are seen as being particularly difficult. This is because Science content had to reflect the changing Programme of Study. This change is not yet reflected in GCSEs.
- Useful notes regarding internal assessment. 'Assessment guidance' is actually compulsory. Where the term 'should' is used, centres should effectively replace with 'must'
- Validity, authenticity and sufficiency are key aspects of assessment. It is the responsibility of the assessor to identify where evidence has been plagiarised. There is a plagiarism podcast on the BTEC website for centres. Stacy pointed out that part of her role is to investigate malpractice. Recently a significant number of Level 3 learners were not certificated because of copying from websites. She stressed again that it is the assessors responsibility to identify plagiarism
- There was significant discussion regarding the requirement to differentiate between formative and summative assessment and how this should be recorded. It was stressed that learners should (ie must) only have one formative assessment opportunity
- Centres should develop a policy regarding resubmission. Learners should not be allowed a resubmission for all assignments for all units. There has to be a rationale
- The approach to formative and summative assessment and resubmissions will be considered good practice for QCF BTECs during this academic year and compulsory for 2014/15
- Assessment records must be held for at least three years. This includes tracking documentation, assignment briefs, IV records, witness testimonies. Essentially anything produced by assessors and IVs. Evidence produced by learners can be returned to learners once certificates have been issued. Centres should extract from portfolios the evidence they must retain. Pearson can ask to see evidence for any learner during the three year period