1st4sport ACTIVTECHs Applied Generals (reformed)

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The QIP covers all 1st4sport Applied General qualifications that meet the full requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) and contribute towards performance measures from 2018.
Countries
  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
Purpose

The Department for Education (DfE) describe Applied General qualifications as follows:

Applied General qualifications are rigorous, advanced (Level 3) qualifications that allow 16 to 19 year old students to develop transferable knowledge and skills. They are for students who want to continue their education through applied learning. Applied General qualifications allow entry to a range of higher education courses, either by meeting the entry requirements in their own right or being accepted alongside and adding value to other qualifications at Level 3 such as A levels. Higher education institutions, such as universities, have pledged support for all approved applied general qualifications listed.

Education context

Some vocational qualifications offered at Level 3 have been reformed as a result of changes to school performance tables. Vocational qualifications must meet the criteria set by the Department for Education (DfE) in order to count towards school performance tables. These reforms mean that 91% of the Level 3 qualifications that previously counted towards school performance tables were removed from performance tables in 2016.

For accountability purposes, vocational qualifications are now classified as:

  • Applied General qualifications: the purpose of these qualifications is to provide a broader vocational education. They ‘are designed for students wanting to continue their education through applied learning.’ These qualifications must meet a number of criteria, including endorsement by at least three universities and colleges.
  • Tech Level qualifications: the purpose of these qualifications is to lead to a ‘recognised occupation’. Examples provided by the DfE include engineering, accounting, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and IT. These qualifications must meet a number of criteria, including the endorsement of five employers registered at Companies House.

The reform to vocational qualifications is being conducted in two stages: an interim stage and full stage. Each of these stages introduced new criteria for vocational qualifications to meet in order to count towards school performance tables.

The first teaching of the qualifications reformed on an interim basis was from 2014 and these counted towards school performance tables in 2016. However, only qualifications that meet the full criteria count towards performance tables from 2018. Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the performance tables, if the qualifications are approved for teaching by the Secretary of State under Section 96.

Read Section 96

The characteristics that must be met by Applied General qualifications as detailed in the DfE criteria are as follows:

 

Interim Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2016 performance tables)

Full Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2018 performance tables)

A. Declared Purpose

X

X

B. Size

X

X

C. Recognition

X

X

D. Synoptic Assessment

 

X

E. External Assessment

 

X

F. Grading

 

X

G. Employer involvement (Tech Level Qualifications only)

 

X

H. Progression

 

X

I. Proven Track Record

 

X

 

These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Size: Applied General qualifications must require at least 150 guided learning hours (GLH). Tech Level qualifications must require at least 300 GLH.
  • Appropriate content: a qualification specification must state the specific content that students need to pass to achieve the qualification. Mandatory content and the associated contribution to the overall grade must make up at least:
    • 60% of an Applied General
    • 40% of a Tech Level
  • Appropriate assessment: Applied General qualifications must include at least 40% external assessment. Tech Levels must include 30% external assessment. Students will be given one opportunity to resit.
  • Synoptic assessment.
  • Grading: all vocational qualifications must be graded using three grading points or more, such as Distinction/Merit/Pass.

Further information about Applied General qualifications, and the range of qualifications that meet these requirements, can be found on the DfE website.

Read more information on the DfE website


Regulation of Applied General and Tech Level qualifications

The regulation of Applied General and Tech Level qualifications delivered in England is the responsibility of Ofqual.

The regulatory approach undertaken for Applied General and Tech Level qualifications differs to A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification-level criteria for Applied Generals, as there are for GCSEs, AS and A levels currently. 'Applied Generals' is a category introduced by the Department for Education for accountability purposes rather than a specific type of regulated qualification. To be included in the Applied General category, qualifications have to demonstrate particular features outlined in the table above.

Applied General qualifications must comply with Ofqual’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.

Awarding organisation
  • 1st4sport Qualifications
Qualification codes
601/7671/4 (1st4sport Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Physical Activities)
601/7690/8 (1st4sport Level 3 Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence)
Structure

The specifications are modular in structure. Learners have to pass each unit to achieve the qualification.

  • The Diploma in Sport and Physical Activities is 750 GLH and consists of eight mandatory units.
  • The Diploma in Sports Performance & Excellence is 720 GLH and consists of eight mandatory units.

All qualifications have been assigned a Total Qualification Time (TQT). This is the total amount of time that it could reasonably be expected for a learner to achieve and demonstrate the outcomes of the qualifications to an acceptable standard. TQT comprises guided learning hours (supervised time) and independent study time.

Subject areas
  • Sport and physical activity
  • Sports performance and excellence
Levels
  • Level 3

Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.

Grading

Overall, these qualifications are graded: Pass, Merit, Distinction.

Individual units are graded Pass, Merit, Distinction. Individual unit grades all contribute to the calculation of the learner’s overall qualification grade.

Learners who achieve all of the assessment criteria and are awarded a Pass in all units, will achieve the qualification at Pass grade.

Learners will be awarded a Merit or Distinction grade if they achieve all of the assessment criteria listed for each unit, in addition to the grade criteria listed against the Merit and Distinction bands.

Assessment

As noted in Education Context, to be classified as an Applied General qualification, the qualification in question must meet certain criteria. This includes:

  • A minimum of 40% external assessment
  • A minimum of 60% mandatory core content
  • An element of synoptic assessment
  • There is a single resit opportunity

These are the minimum requirements set out by the Department for Education. However, the application of this may differ by awarding organisation; if providers require full assessment detail they should review the specification of the individual qualification they are interested in.

For more detailed assessment information, providers should review the specification of the individual qualification they are interested in on the 1st4sport website.

Visit the 1st4sport website

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Physical Activities: 41.6% of the total GLH for this qualification is externally assessed.

Level 3 Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence: 42.5% of the total GLH for this qualification is externally assessed.

Resit arrangements

Reformed Applied General qualifications only allow one resit opportunity per unit. The resit must be a new task or assignment, different to the original assessment.

Guided/notional learning hours
1st4sport Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Physical Activities (1120 TQT): 750 hours
1st4sport Level 3 Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence (960 TQT): 720 hours
UCAS Tariff points

1st4sport Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Physical Activities

Grade Points
D 96
M 64
P 32

1st4sport Level 3 Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence

Grade Points
D 96
M 64
P 32
Key issues for UK HE admissions

Applied General qualifications are advanced (Level 3) qualifications, mainly taken by 16-19 year old students who want to develop transferable knowledge and skills.

The popularity of Applied Generals has risen over recent years. The entry rate for applicants holding at least one BTEC (either alone or in combination with A levels) was 6.0 per cent in 2016, up from 5.8 per cent in 2015.

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Applied General qualifications that meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to their predecessors and likely to result in learners developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains up to date.
  • The fully-reformed qualifications include both external and synoptic assessment, as well as changes to resit processes. These changes are likely to result in fewer learners passing the qualification. Equally, it is likely that grade distributions will change. In light of this, HEPs may wish to review their entry requirements, offer making and decision-making strategies in relation to these qualifications.
  • The fully-reformed and interim-reformed qualifications will be delivered by schools and colleges at the same time (see ‘Education context’). Therefore, HEPs may wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications.
  • The dual running of the qualification may result in applicants declaring the incorrect version within their application. UCAS will be working to support applicants and advisers in this area.
  • A larger mandatory core means that HEPs who require certain levels of achievement in particular units or ask for specific units to satisfy subject knowledge requirements should familiarise themselves with the new content specifications to ensure that these requirements are still valid. It should be noted that not all learners will be able choose their optional units and these may be prescribed by the school or college, therefore HEPs should be cautious if requiring achievement in optional modules as part of their entry requirements, offer making and decision-making strategies.
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Internal assessments can be completed at any point during the learner's time on the programme.

External assessments must be completed and submitted to 1st4sport Qualifications within preset assessment windows, typically in February-March, April-May, and June (resits only).

Results are issued to centres within 25 working days after the end of the assessment period.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Sep 2016 (First teaching starts from 1 September 2016)
Qualification dates notes

These qualifications are due for review before 30 September 2019.

Reporting and certification information

The results of 1st4sport qualifications are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification. HE providers will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.

Read the full list of results available through ABL

Progression information

Applied General qualifications differ in size; some may meet the entry requirements for higher education in their own right and some may need to be offered in conjunction with other Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A levels). In addition, some higher education courses may require specific levels of achievement in particular units or ask for additional qualifications to satisfy subject knowledge requirements.