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Btec students begin receiving revised grades


By PA News

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Students have begun receiving their Btec grades after exam board Pearson delayed their publication.

Results of the vocational qualifications were held back to give the board more time to recalculate the grades after A-levels and GCSEs were based on teacher estimates.

Hundreds of thousands of Btec students were told just hours before results day that they would not be receiving them on time.

Pearson later said the regrading was needed to “address concerns about unfairness in relation to A-levels and GCSEs and ensure no Btec student is disadvantaged”.

We know this has caused frustration and additional uncertainty for students and we are truly sorry. No grades will go down as part of this review
Pearson

Around 200,000 level one and two entries were due to receive their results last Thursday, while 250,000 level three grades have already been awarded but were part of the reassessment.

Results will now be given on a rolling basis over the week, with the priority going to level three results which may be used for applying to university.

A Pearson spokesman said: “We know this has caused frustration and additional uncertainty for students and we are truly sorry. No grades will go down as part of this review.”

Jenny Cameron, who teaches level three Btec performing arts, said “almost all” of her students’ original results had been two grades lower than they should have been.

She said this put many of her students in a difficult position as they waited to discover whether they could go on to university or drama school.

The 45-year-old told the PA news agency on Tuesday: “They are overjoyed today and got the results they should have two weeks ago … because Pearson actually looked at them as individuals and not data.”

Ms Cameron’s level three BTEC performing arts students in Cheltenham received their new results today. (Jenny Cameron/PA)
Ms Cameron’s level three BTEC performing arts students in Cheltenham received their new results today. (Jenny Cameron/PA)

Ms Cameron is the director at Stagedoor Learning, a branch of Virtual Learning UK which works with students both online and in a theatre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

She added: “The students have been treated really shoddily … it’s been two weeks of unnecessary stress and worry for my students, as well as me.

“It was just bewildering what (Pearson) did … it didn’t make sense at all.”

Pupils will receive results for level one and two qualifications, similar to entry-level and GCSE, from Thursday.

Pearson’s senior vice-president for Btec and apprenticeships Cindy Rampersaud said all eligible results will be available by Friday.

The exam board also said students on the first half of a two-year course will have their calculated grades for external assessments reviewed.

Kieran Cody, a Year 12 student at a technical college in north-east London, was initially given a U in mathematics for engineering and a near-pass in his other subjects.

“It feels like I’ve been treated like crap,” he said.

There were calls for Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to resign after the A-level algorithm controversy (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
There were calls for Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to resign after the A-level algorithm controversy (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

However, the 17-year-old later said he was “ecstatic” after the grades were reviewed and he received merits.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said Education Secretary Gavin Williamson “must put things right” for next year’s exams.

It was an entirely avoidable state of affairs, and the weaknesses of the system are now fully exposed
Kevin Courtney, National Education Union

He said: “It is right that Pearson recognised the oncoming chaos and played their part in rectifying the situation, but students and their families will not forget this results season in a hurry.

“It was an entirely avoidable state of affairs, and the weaknesses of the system are now fully exposed.”

Mr Courtney called for changes for 2021’s exams, including a reduction in the amount assessed as pupils have missed months of school, and creating a national system of centre-assessed grades in case of further outbreaks of Covid-19.

After an algorithm system saw tens of thousands of A-level students given lower marks than expected, pupils held multiple protests with many calling for Mr Williamson’s resignation.

The Government was later forced to make a U-turn and give students their teacher-predicted grades.

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