BTEC results on hold: Exam board halts grades at last minute

Students expecting their BTEC results in the morning will be left disappointed after a last-minute decision to delay their release.

With less than 24 hours to go until results day, exam board Pearson has asked schools and colleges not to publish level one and two results for vocational courses.

The board wants more time to recalculate grades following the fiasco over A-level results.

BTEC students were not included in the original government U-turn to award grades based on teacher assessments, rather than by a computer algorithm after exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Students who were given their BTEC results last week will also have their results reconsidered.

A spokesman for Pearson said: “Following Ofqual’s announcement that A-level and GCSE students are to receive centre-assessed grades, we will be applying the same principles for students receiving BTEC results this summer.

“We will be regrading BTECs to address concerns about unfairness in relation to A-levels and GCSEs and ensure no BTEC student is disadvantaged.

“We know this could cause additional uncertainty for students and we are sorry about this.”

The delay comes after education unions and the Labour Party called on the government to provide clarity on why BTEC students had been left out of Monday’s grading U-turn.

Another exam board – OCR – is also recalculating results, affecting the Cambridge National grades, which will instead be issued next week.

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said it is “vital” the issue is sorted out within days, rather than weeks, as those wanting to move on to further or higher education “will be most worried about losing out on places”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson appeared to blame Ofqual for the fiasco, suggesting Ofqual “didn’t deliver” the system the government had been “reassured” would be in place following the U-turn on grades.

But the Department of Education then said it had “full confidence” in Ofqual and its leadership.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green said: “This latest chaos is totally unacceptable.

“For some young people to find out less than a day in advance that they will not be receiving their grades tomorrow is utterly disgraceful.

“This repeated chaos is simply no way to run a country. The government must urgently set a clear deadline for every young person to receive their grades.”

Shadow attorney general Lord Falconer of Thoroton said Ofqual’s controversial exam results algorithm was unlawful.

In a joint letter with Ms Green to Mr Williamson and Ofqual’s chief regulator Sally Collier, Lord Falconer argued that ministers and Ofqual would have been aware of at least three breaches of the law in the standardisation formula used for A-levels and GCSE results.

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