Andy Barrott, Head of Research and Technical Standards, Assessment Directorate, OCR
We are committed to making sure our Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals students are not disadvantaged (or advantaged) compared to GCSEs, AS and A Levels so I wanted to explain how these qualifications will be awarded this year.
In September, Ofqual set out their plans for awarding GCSE, AS and A Levels in 2023 and confirmed the grading approach in their exam results blog in July. These qualifications will return to a normal, pre-pandemic, approach to standards, with added protection in 2023. This means the profile of results will look similar to 2019.
Also in July, Ofqual provided an update on the range of approaches awarding organisations have taken for vocational and technical qualifications to make sure no students are disadvantaged.
So, what does this mean for OCR’s Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals? Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals have a very different structure from GCSEs and A Levels because they have units which can be taken throughout the course (see our blog for details). This means many Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals students started the 2022/23 academic year having completed some units.
For units completed in 2021/22, we introduced adaptations on a range of units and allowed students to complete internal assessments from home. Together, this package of adaptations enabled students to perform at their best for the units they took.
This year, students who are certificating will have completed live assessments but they may also have assessed grades for moderated units where assessment from 2021/22 was reduced. This reduction in assessment was introduced for most qualifications as part of the package of support and allowed students to take one or, in some Cambridge Technicals larger qualifications, two fewer moderated unit assessments.
With this support in place, the units themselves will be awarded in 2022/23 as in a normal exam year. Where students have used the reduction in assessment, we will calculate a grade for the unit assessment which was not taken. We will do this by averaging the grades achieved in their other internal units.
This then allows us to return to a pre-pandemic standard at qualification level in 2023 whilst also providing additional support for students.
For specific details of how each qualification will be graded and when results will be issued and how, take a look at the following blogs:
If you have any questions, you can email us email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @ocrexams. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Andy is the Head of Research and Technical Standards for OCR, which provides technical support for standards setting in General and Vocational qualifications. He has worked in various roles within the Assessment Directorate over the past 15 years.