Ofqual finds evidence of grade inflation in old style BTECs

Ofqual has published research with evidence of grade inflation of internal assessment in some ‘older style’ Applied General qualifications and is urging exam boards to strengthen their controls.

The research shows that over time, there has been a significant increase in the number of students securing the top grades in some qualifications, which has not been matched by students’ prior attainment or their subsequent degree or employment outcomes.

As such, Ofqual is calling on awarding organisations to act on the findings of the report to address the risk of grade inflation in these legacy qualifications.

Ofqual believes there is a need for awarding organisations to consider how best to strengthen their controls around internal assessment across a wide range of technical and vocational qualifications.

Phil Beach, Executive Director for Vocational and Technical Qualifications, said: "As the regulator, our primary role is to maintain the integrity of standards in qualifications, and wherever we find evidence that this may be threatened, it’s important that we step in. This research shows that there are unwarranted increases in results in some of the ‘older style’ Applied General qualifications, and this has the potential to undermine public confidence and devalue the achievements of students. Although the Department for Education has indicated its intention to review these qualifications, we must take appropriate steps to manage the potential for grade inflation while they remain in use.

"We are therefore calling on awarding organisations to strengthen their controls on internal assessment in any qualification where there are potential risks to standards. We will also be considering whether additional bespoke guidance or additional regulatory requirements are required to ensure qualification standards are maintained."

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