On 6 August, Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) published the outcome of their joint consultation on adaptations to be made to assessments in 2021/22 for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) such as Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals.
We’re pleased that the consultation outcome confirmed the proposed adaptations for Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals that we communicated on 16 July 2021. The adaptations can be found below, updated to reflect the detail from the consultation decisions.
Adaptations are available to all students regardless of which year they complete their qualification, however, the adaptations can only be used in the academic year 2021/22. It is expected that all units planned for 2022/23 are completed as normal, without any adaptations.
Reminder: Unit level teacher assessed grades from 2020/21
For students who were part way through the course in 2020/21, the units planned to be taken before 31 August 2021 are included in the unit level teacher assessed grade (TAG) process for summer 2021. Unit teacher assessed grades can be submitted between 27 September to 8 October 2021.
Unit level teacher assessed grades (TAGs) are an arrangement from 2020/21 and are not available for the units planned for 2021/22 or beyond.
With the approval of the DfE, we are allowing the number of assessments of moderated units to be reduced where disruption to teaching and learning has been so great that it is necessary.
Schools and colleges are best placed to decide if they need to use this adaptation. Where possible, it is best for your students to take all assessments to support their wider learning and progression. However, these adaptations are there if you need them and can apply to all students due to complete assessments during 2021/22.
You will not be permitted to use a reduction in assessment after 2021/22. It is expected all units planned for 2022/23 are completed as normal. During the 2021/22 academic year, you will be required to tell us which unit assessment(s) will not be taken by your students in Year 10 or Year 12 (Year 11 or Year 13 in Northern Ireland). We will ask for this information during 2021/22, even if they are certificating in 2022/23 or beyond.
If you’re teaching a course with optional and mandatory units, we ask you to prioritise the assessment of mandatory units. Any reduction in the assessment of moderated mandatory units, including if you’re teaching a course with only mandatory units, should be as a last resort where all other options to complete them have been exhausted.
Students certificating in 2021/22 must take assessments this year. This is because for both Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals, we will determine the qualification-level result for students taking account of the reduction. You will not provide teacher assessed grades for these units. We recommend you aim to bank assessments (take/submit assessments) as soon as you can for all of your students, regardless of when they certificate.
We will ask you to confirm during 2021/22 if you need to use this adaptation. We will provide further details on this process as soon as they are available.
We’ll continue to assess knowledge and understanding in the examined units for which there is no option to reduce the assessment.
The adaptation means that, if required, the number of assessments due to be taken in 2021/22 can be reduced by one optional moderated unit, or, where circumstances require it, one mandatory moderated unit:
For students certificating in 2021/22, the reduction in the number of assessments taken can only include mandatory moderated assessment where a qualification only has mandatory units or the student does not have any optional moderated assessments left to take.
We've produced guidance on how the reduction of the assessment of an optional or mandatory moderated unit works for each Cambridge Nationals qualification for students certifying in 2021/22.
For students certificating beyond 2021/22, the reduction in assessment of units due to be taken in 2021/22 can only include mandatory moderated assessment where a qualification only has mandatory units. Where the qualification has optional and mandatory units, we expect this group of students will take all mandatory assessments.
The adaptation means that, if required, the number of assessments due to be taken in 2021/22 can be reduced by one or more optional moderated unit, or, where circumstances require it, one or more mandatory moderated unit(s), depending on the guided learning hours (GLH) for the qualification and the unit:
This adaptation is available if the impact of the disruption caused by the pandemic means you require it. However, we recommend you and the student consider which units the student may rely on for progression (into higher education for example) when deciding if this adaptation should be used and for which unit(s). All content for units due to be taken during 2021/22 must be taught.
We've produced guidance on how the reduction of the assessment of optional or mandatory moderated units works for each 2016 and 2012 qualification for students certifying in 2021/22.
For students certificating beyond 2021/22, the reduction in the number of assessments due to be taken in 2021/22 can only include mandatory moderated assessment where a qualification only has mandatory units. Where the qualification has optional and mandatory units we expect this group of students will take all mandatory assessments.
 Please note - there will be no reduced assessment for some Cambridge Technicals qualifications due to their size. You can see these exceptions here for 2016 and 2012 suites.
While we hope these reductions support your delivery in these challenging times, continued teaching of all the content is vital for your students’ wider learning and progression. We will ask schools and colleges to provide confirmation of this.
Our aim is to ensure the disruption you and your students have faced is considered. Alongside the reduction in the number of assessments of optional or mandatory moderated unit assessments to be taken, we’ve put in place a package of measures, so your students are not disadvantaged. We’ve summarised our measures here:
We hope this information gives you the clarity you need about the measures we’re putting in place to support you and your students.
If you have any questions about what you have read here, please get in touch by calling us on 01223 553998 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.