Active IQ Tech levels (interim-reformed)

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The QIP covers all Active IQ Tech level (interim-reformed) qualifications that do not meet the full requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) and do not contribute towards performance measures for 2018.

These qualifications meet the interim-reformed requirements for 2017 performance tables.

Countries
  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
Purpose

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.

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 be classified as:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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. Only qualifications that meet the full criteria count towards performance tables from 2018. The qualifications listed in this QIP are classified as Tech level qualifications however do not meet the full criteria to count towards performance tables from 2018 in respect of content, assessment and grading. 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 2017 Active IQ Tech levels meet the interim requirements set by the DfE and therefore may be offered in schools and colleges alongside the 2018 fully reformed versions:

 

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 (Technical Level Qualifications only)

 

X

H. Progression

 

X

I. Proven Track Record

 

X

 

As noted in the table above, the 2016/17 and 2018 versions of Tech level qualifications are fundamentally different.

For more information on the specific changes to 2018 Tech levels, please refer to a reformed QIP. Please also see ‘Key issues for UK HE admissions’ for some additional considerations when assessing these qualifications.

Further information about Tech level qualifications, and the range of qualifications that meet the 2018 requirements, can be found on the DfE website.


Regulation of Tech level and Applied General qualifications

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

The regulatory approach undertaken for Tech level and Applied General qualifications differs to A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification-level criteria for Tech levels, 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 Tech level category, qualifications have to demonstrate particular features outlined in the table above.

Tech levels must comply with Ofqual’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualification.

Awarding organisation
  • Active IQ
Qualification codes
601/0348/6 (Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Health and Fitness)
600/4941/8 (Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training)
Structure

Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Health and Fitness

Learners must achieve 90 credits to gain this qualification, a minimum of 50 credits must be at Level 3 or above.

Learners must achieve all four units from Mandatory Group A (14 credits).

Learners must then achieve a minimum of ten credits from groups B, C, or D.

Learners must choose either Group E or F. For Group E, learners must complete all four units (28 credits), and for Group F, learners must complete all six units (38 credits).

The remaining 28-38 credits can come from a number of optional units, including groups B, C, D, E, or F.

The full description of the Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Health and Fitness can be found in the qualification guidance document.

Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training

The qualification comprises ten mandatory units. This exceeds the required 40% minimum for Tech Levels.

The units were developed in collaboration with the fitness industry, and are shared across a number of AOs.

Further information and a link to the specification can be found in the qualification guidance document.

Subject areas
  • Sports sciences and the active leisure industry

Both qualifications cover the following mandatory areas:

  • Anatomy and physiology for exercise and health
  • Health, safety, and welfare in a fitness environment
  • Principles of exercise, fitness, and health
  • Planning and instructing exercise sessions
  • Applying the principles of nutrition
  • Programming and delivering personal training
  • Planning and instructing exercise with referred clients

The Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Health and Fitness has an number of optional units, including:

  • Studio cycling
  • Instructing circuits
  • Fitness instructing for adolescents
  • Delivering physical activities for children under five
  • Instructing kettlebells
  • Instructing Pilates
  • Fitness instructing for pre and post-natal clients
  • Working with communities
  • Business skills
  • Activity leadership
  • Sports massage
  • Teaching yoga
  • Fitness instructing for older adults
Levels
  • Level 3

These are Level 3 qualification regulated to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).¹

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


¹ The QCF was a credit-based transfer system which recognised qualifications and units by awarding credits. It has now been withdrawn for all new qualifications and has been replaced by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). The RQF is the new system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual, indexing them by level and size.

Grading

Once all components are achieved, a Pass is awarded.

Assessment

Mandatory assessments for both qualifications

  • Anatomy and physiology for exercise – an externally set theory paper consisting of multiple choice questions.
  • Know how to support clients who take part in exercise and physical activity – an externally set, internally marked client interview, and an externally set, internally marked worksheet. (Know how to support clients).
  • Health, safety, and welfare in a fitness environment – an externally set, internally marked worksheet (Health, safety, and welfare in a fitness environment).
  • Principles of exercise, fitness, and health – an externally set theory paper consisting of multiple choice questions.
  • Anatomy and physiology for exercise and health – an external theory paper consisting of multiple choice questions.
  • Applying the principles of nutrition to a physical activity programme:
    • an external theory paper consisting of multiple choice questions
    • an externally set, internally marked case study

Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training only

  • Planning gym-based exercise:
    • an externally set, internally marked worksheet or professional discussion, ('Planning gym-based exercise')
    • an externally set, internally marked client interview (see unit 2 and 5 client interview guidance)
    • PAR-Q
    • an externally set, internally marked programme card
    • four externally set, internally marked session plans
  • Instructing gym-based exercise:
    • a formative observed session
    • a summative observed session
    • an externally set, internally marked session self-evaluation
  • Programming personal training with clients – an externally set, internally marked case study
  • Delivering personal training sessions:
    • a summative observed session
    • an externally set, internally marked session self-evaluation

For detailed assessment and unit information, please view the qualification specification on the Active IQ website.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Once all components are achieved, a Pass is awarded.

There are mandatory units for the Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training and mandatory and optional units with a minimum number of credits needed for the Diploma in health and Fitness. This is covered in more detail in the 'Structure' section.

Resit arrangements

There are no constraints on resits for individual units, or the qualification as a whole.

Guided/notional learning hours
Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Health and Fitness: 596 hours
Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training: 345 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

For comparison, an A level is 360 GLH.

UCAS Tariff points

Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Health and Fitness

Grade Points
P 48

Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training

Grade Points
P 32
Key issues for UK HE admissions

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

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Tech level qualifications that do not meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • Applicants holding interim-reformed Tech level qualifications may not have had experience of external or synoptic assessment.
  • The 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.
  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to the reformed versions 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. HEPs may also wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications, and any differences should be clearly articulated.

Tech levels are designed to support progression to employment, an apprenticeship, or to higher education.

Progression to higher education is generally within the vocational area of the Tech level, and may be to a foundation degree.

The exact curriculum studied may depend on the choice of optional units taken.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

The assessments take place on demand.

When the qualification is complete, the centre will submit a certification claim. Once quality assurance has taken place, successful learners will receive their qualification certificates. There are no fixed time frames.

Qualification dates notes

These qualifications are current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of Active IQ Tech levels (interim-reformed) 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.

View the results available through ABL.

Progression information

Tech level qualifications differ in size; some may meet the entry requirements for higher education in their own right in a related area and some may need to be offered in conjunction with other Level 3 qualifications, for instance 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.

These qualifications offer progression to higher education, an apprenticeship, or employment.

Progression to HE will probably be in the vocational area of the qualification, and may be to a foundation degree or a Higher National qualification (HNC/HND).

Tech level qualifications are supported by at least five employers from the job sector the qualification is related to. All students have to take part in meaningful activity involving employers in the course of their study. Examples are work placements, taking part in projects, or some of the course being taught by someone who works in the industry.