The Department for Education (DfE) describe Tech level qualifications as follows:
Tech levels are rigorous advanced (Level 3) technical qualifications on a par with A Levels and recognised by employers. They are for students aged 16 plus who want to specialise in a specific industry or prepare for a particular job. They cover jobs and careers where employers recruit people at this level or where a level 3 qualification is needed before students can progress to a related higher education course. Tech levels give students an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and skills to help them get an apprenticeship or job, for example in engineering, IT, accounting or professional cookery, or progress to a higher level qualification. In some cases, a tech level qualification is a ‘licence to practise’ or can exempt someone holding the qualification from a professional exam. Tech levels are recognised by trade or professional bodies or at least five employers. Alternatively, the qualification may be accepted by a national licensed professional registration scheme.
Qualifications are graded D*/D/M/P.
Optional units are graded Pass/Fail.
Mandatory units are graded Distinction/Merit/Pass/Fail.
Grades of the mandatory units - two practical examinations and one synoptic assessment contribute to the overall grade of the qualification.
Full details of how the grade is calculated are published in each qualification specification, available by searching the VTCT website at www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-centre/.
As noted in Education Context, to be classified as a Tech level qualification the qualification in question must meet certain criteria. This includes:
- A minimum of 30% external assessment
- A minimum of 40% mandatory core content
- An element of synoptic assessment
- There is a single resit opportunity
The above is the minimum requirements set out by the Department for Education. However, the application of this may differ by awarding organisation, therefore if providers require full assessment detail they should review the specification of the individual qualification they are interested in.