BTEC students will finally begin receiving their results from today, after the exam board delayed the release of marks for almost 500,000 pupils last week to ensure they weren’t unfairly penalised compared to those taking A-levels and GCSEs.
Grading for the vocational qualifications was delayed to give exam board Pearson more time to recalculate the grades after A-level and GCSE results switched from being based on an algorithm to teacher estimates.
This left 200,000 BTEC students facing another week of waiting for their grades – as well as another 250,000 who received ‘downgraded’ marks the week before for their A-level equivalent exams.
Last week, Pearson said the regrading was needed to ‘address concerns about unfairness in relation to A-levels and GCSEs and ensure no BTEC student is disadvantaged.’
Cindy Rampersaud, senior vice-president for BTEC and Apprenticeships at the company, has now revealed that all eligible results will be available by Friday.
Pearson previously apologised to pupils following its decision to pull the results despite previously being aware of problems with the algorithm.
Exam board Pearson pulled its BTEC results less than 24 hours before releasing them, sparking a fresh round of results chaos for nearly half a million pupils (stock)
Students awaiting grades for university entry are being prioritised and will receive their results from today onwards, the exam board said, and all the remaining results will be available by Friday next week.
A spokeswoman for Pearson said: ‘We know this has caused frustration and additional uncertainty for students and we are truly sorry.
‘No grades will go down as part of this review.
‘We believe this will result in the fairest outcomes for the 2020 cohort of BTEC learners, and ensure they are not disadvantaged in relation to their peers who have taken A-level and GCSE qualifications.
‘We have now written to colleges to confirm that all eligible results will be available by August 28.
‘Thank you to all the schools and colleges who have been working so collaboratively with us to support their students at this time.’
The parent of one BTEC student said the decision to withhold final grades left his son feeling like a ‘second-class student’.
Caleb Taylor, 19, is still waiting for the results of his level three BTEC in computing and business.
His father, Richard, said last week that he was unable to enrol at his college in Gwent for next year without knowing his final grades.
He said: ‘I think it’s a disgrace. He feels like he is a second-class student, and Btecs are seen as less important than A-levels because they have been sorted out last.
Pearson, the provider of BTECs, told schools and colleges not to publish level 1 and 2 results in the vocational qualifications to give them time to re-grade them in line with A-levels and GCSEs – which are being graded via teacher assessments (stock)
‘Technical qualifications shouldn’t be seen as less than. My son is really anxious because he doesn’t know what he will be doing next year.
‘He plans to go to university but it is a good thing he didn’t want to go this year because he would have missed out on his space.
‘There has just been no communication, we just don’t know what is going on.’
A UCAS spokesman said: ‘The vast majority of students applying this year with BTECs have secured their place at University, with 45,000 students already placed with their first choice university.
‘Approximately 5,800 students were not placed at their original firm choice university and we expect some of those students will, when revised grades are issued, meet the conditions of their original firm offer.
‘UCAS will work closely with Pearson to process these results to ensure they can make decisions as soon as possible.’
The 11th hour move last week attracted fierce criticism and came despite Pearson being warned a week before about a ‘systemic issue’ with grading, it was claimed.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the situation was ‘frustrating’.
He added: ‘We hope that no student misses out on the university place they had their heart set on as a result of this delay.
‘Pearson is doing the right thing in reviewing BTEC grades, but it is a pity that it wasn’t quicker off the mark.
People took part in a protest outside Downing Street in London on August 21 over the government’s handling of exam results after A-level and GCSE exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak
‘We are pleased there is now the reassurance of knowing when the results will be available, and that students will soon be able to move on to the next stage of their lives.’
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last week after the delay was announced: ‘We’d been talking to Pearson ever since the results came out last Thursday and we knew there were lots and lots of problems, lots of students not getting the results they really should have got, lots of colleges saying to us that actually this just doesn’t look right, and we were saying to Pearson ‘is this just isolated cases or is it a more systemic issue’?
‘I think what they’ve realised is that both the level three results last week, but perhaps more importantly for the results that were due today, that this was a system issue and they really needed to do a thorough review.’
Mr Hughes added: ‘This is a decision that is kind of the result of lots and lots of poor decisions over many weeks.
‘One thing we’ve got to do I think in the fullness of time is a full review, independent review, open and transparent into what went wrong, not to blame people, but really to understand what’s happened, because confidence in the system has been completely blown.
‘Ofqual wanted integrity in the system to be at the heart of all this, and I think that’s the last thing that’s been achieved. So the decision by Pearson last night, really late in the day, 11th hour, almost the 12th, hour was probably the right decision, just a shame it came so late.
‘But sometimes it is better to make the right decision rather than carry on and get very, very unfair outcomes for students.’
Alex Dyer, CEO and Founder of Tutor House, told MailOnline: ‘This delay means that they will not be able to go to Sixth Form, College or apprenticeships as they have to wait for their grades, which could be a few weeks, whilst those who studied GCSE’s are moving on with their lives.
‘The government are ignoring the poorer students as well as the less regarded qualifications.’