Matt Dilley, Business and Economics Subject Advisor
This blog was originally published in March 2022. It has now been updated for the new Cambridge Nationals Enterprise and Marketing specification, J837.
Colleagues working in education will be aware of the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and we know you need to monitor and support the progress and outcomes of students, particularly the most disadvantaged and SEND students. In this blog I will explore one particular strand of the EIF and explain how changes to internal assessment could further support your students and evidence the intent of your curriculum.
“the provider has the same academic, technical or vocational ambitions for almost all learners. Where this is not practical – for example, for some learners with high levels of SEND – its curriculum is designed to be ambitious and to meet their needs” (OFSTED EIF 2021)
My opening question is to ask, “Does having the same ambitions for all learners mean that they must all be assessed using the same methods?”
One of the advantages in a vocational subject is the flexibility that’s offered. By understanding the allowable changes, you may be able to make adjustments that can give some students access to outcomes that might not have been previously possible.
In this blog we’ll look at our two main vocational qualifications:
All the information discussed here is available in the specification and on the set assignments.
On page 52-53 of the specification document, it is stated:
It is your responsibility to choose the best method of assessing a student in relation to their individual circumstances. The methods chosen must be:
It does mean that unless the format of the work is specifically stated by us (for example the presentation) you could use an individualised approach, allowing your learners to produce work/evidence in a format that most suits their needs.
Examples of evidence types are given below; however you should read the specification to see all the options that you have.
“The teacher/assessor and student should plan observations together but it is the teacher’s/assessor’s responsibility to record the observation properly (for example observing a student undertaking a practical task). Find more information in the Teacher Observation Records section below.”
“Questioning the student is normally an ongoing part of the formative assessment process and may, in some circumstances, provide evidence to support achievement of the criteria.”
Some questions to ask yourself before considering what type of evidence may be:
Please note, if verbal work is to be considered as evidence, a detailed witness statement will be needed. You could also provide a recording of the conversation, although this isn’t an explicit requirement.
Providing some form of flexible assessment is perfectly acceptable under the guidance for Enterprise and Marketing. If you intend to do this, please be clear on what evidence needs to be given to your moderator, for example a witness statement, so that the evidence can be moderated accurately.
Do remember that Enterprise and Marketing uses set assignment briefs. You can’t change any element of the context or information given: this guidance is designed to support you in looking at the evidence which is produced by students.
Our Cambridge Technicals have flexibility incorporated into their design with model assignments being used. These differ from set assignments as they can be modified in certain ways. It means that the context of a coursework unit can be changed as well as the tasks.
Choosing to do this could mean you pick a local business that students are aware of and may have some knowledge about. Or you could choose a nationally relevant business which again could support students in their assessment. By adding a personalised approach, you may improve the opportunity for better outcomes by your students.
Remember if you did choose to adapt a model assignment you would need to ensure that you don’t change any assessment criteria and that the business you chose allows learners to meet the criteria in their work. We have an assignment checking service if you are unsure about a brief you have designed.
As well as the context, you may edit the type of evidence students produce. This is only restricted if it is stated in the assessment criteria or assignment brief where you will find the word “must” is used when explaining about the evidence to be produced. You can choose which structure and format of work would best suit the needs of your learners and personalise their assessment work.
Page 33 of the centre handbook also states that:
“Finally, you don’t have to set the same assignment for every learner in the cohort. If a learner has work experience where they can generate evidence towards some or all of a unit you can work with the employer to tailor an assignment and enable that to happen. You can also cover more than one unit in an assignment.”
The final advice to consider is that the whole cohort doesn’t need to complete the same assignment. Within a year group you may have one assessor with specific experience of a business, so briefs could be tailored to this. Or you could split up a group so that in a class differing assignments are completed for differing learners’ needs.
There are many ways to adapt vocational assessment to meet the needs of your learners, and knowing what is permitted is vital when considering this. If you plan carefully to meet individual assessment needs, you may see the evidence provided is a more accurate reflection of a student’s ability when compared to a one size fits all approach..
If you have questions you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @OCR_BusEcon. You can also sign up for email updates to receive information about resources and support.
Matt joined OCR in April 2020 as part of the Business and Economics advisory team. He has a degree in Accountancy with a focus on Financial Accounting. His work experience includes commercial banking and 12 years as a teacher of Business Studies and Economics where he was a faculty lead. Outside of work Matt is a keen cyclist and supports the mighty Aston Villa.