OCR Cambridge Technicals Applied Generals (interim-reformed)

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The QIP covers all OCR Cambridge Technical Applied General (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 2016 and 2017 performance tables.

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

Level 3 Cambridge Technicals were introduced in September 2012 as replacements for the Level 3 OCR Nationals. The first cohort completed their qualifications in June / July 2014 and would have applied to HE for September 2014 entry.

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:

  • 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. Only qualifications that meet the full criteria count towards performance tables from 2018. The qualifications listed in this QIP are classified as Applied General 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 2016 OCR Cambridge Technical Applied Generals 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 and 2018 versions of Applied General qualifications are fundamentally different.

For more information on the specific changes to 2018 Applied Generals, 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 Applied General qualifications, and the range of qualifications that meet the 2018 requirements, can be found on the DfE website.  

Visit 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, as outlined in the table above.

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

Awarding organisation
  • OCR
Qualification codes
600/6094/3 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Art and Design (QCF) (180 GLH))
600/4226/6 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Business (QCF) (180 GLH))
600/4228/X (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in IT (QCF) (180 GLH))
601/0111/8 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Performing Arts (QCF) (180 GLH))
600/6140/6 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Sport (QCF) (180 GLH))
600/4608/9 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Business (QCF) (360 GLH))
600/4612/0 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (360 GLH))
600/4623/5 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in IT (QCF) (360 GLH))
601/0249/4 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (360 GLH))
600/6143/1 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Sport (QCF) (360 GLH))
600/4235/7 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Business (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/4236/9 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (540 GLH))
601/0250/0 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/6142/X (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Sport (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/4229/1 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Business (QCF) (720 GLH))
600/4230/8 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (720 GLH))
601/0247/0 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (720 GLH))
600/6141/8 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Sport (QCF) (720 GLH))
600/4232/1 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Business (QCF) (1080 GLH))
601/0248/2 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (1080 GLH)
600/6144/3 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Sport (QCF) (1080 GLH))
Structure

There are five different sizes of qualification in the family:

  • Certificate: 180 hours
  • Introductory Diploma: 360 hours
  • Subsidiary Diploma: 540 hours
  • Diploma: 720 hours
  • Extended Diploma: 1,080 hours

Not all subjects have qualifications at each size.

The specifications are modular in structure and are made up of a series of units. Each unit has a credit value based on its size. One credit is equal to learning outcomes achievable in 10 hours of learning. The rules of combination for each qualification size specify the minimum number of units to be achieved through mandatory and optional units. 

For more detailed information on the units/structure of an OCR Cambridge Technical, you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in on the OCR website.

Visit the OCR website

Subject areas
  • Art and design
  • Business
  • Health and social care
  • Information technology
  • Media
  • Performing arts
  • Sport
Levels
  • Level 3

These are Level 3 qualifications 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 replaced by the RQF. The RQF is the new system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual, indexing them by level and size.

Grading

The overall qualifications are graded as follows:

  • Certificate: P, M, D, D*
  • Introductory Diploma: P, M, D, D*
  • Subsidiary Diploma: PP, MP, MM, DM, DD, D*D, D*D*
  • Diploma: PP, MP, MM, DM, DD, D*D, D*D*
  • Extended Diploma: PPP, MPP, MMP, MMM, DMM, DDM, DDD, D*DD, D*D*D, D*D*D*

Individual units are graded P, M, D. The grades for each unit attract points, which are added together to identify the final overarching qualification grade.

Assessment

All units are centre-assessed and externally moderated by OCR. Assessment of units is by centre-set assignments. Assessment of all units can take place at a time to suit learners and centres. There are no timetabled exams required.

Tutors and assessors may draw on real work-based opportunities for the content of each assessment.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Learners who achieve the minimum eligible credit value specified by the rules of combination for a qualification will achieve the qualification at Pass grade. The credit values for each qualification size are:

  • Certificate: 30
  • Introductory Diploma: 60
  • Subsidiary Diploma: 90
  • Diploma: 120
  • Extended Diploma: 180

Learners will be awarded Merit and Distinction grades above this level by the aggregation of points gained through the successful achievement of individual units.

 For each Level 3 credit students will achieve the following number of points:

Pass Merit Distinction
7 8 9

For example, a unit with a credit value of 10, a student achieving Merit will achieve 80 points (8 x 10).

The grade ranges for each qualification are as follows:

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate

210-229 Pass P

230-249 Merit M

250-259 Distinction D

260 and above Distinction* D*

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

420-459 Pass P

460-499 Merit M

500-519 Distinction D

520 and above Distinction* D*

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma

630-659 PP

660-689 MP

690-719 MM

720-749 DM

750-769 DD

770-789 D*D

790 and above D*D*

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma

840-879 PP

880-919 MP

920-959 MM

960-999 DM

1,000-1,029 DD

1,030-1,059 D*D

1,060 and above D*D*

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

1,260-1,299 PPP

1,300-1,339 MPP

1,340-1,379 MMP

1,380-1,419 MMM

1,420-1,459 DMM

1,460-1,499 DDM

1,500-1,529 DDD

1,530-1,559 D*DD

1,560-1,589 D*D*D

1,590 and above D*D*D*

For specific unit information, you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in on the OCR website.

Visit the OCR website

Resit arrangements

The units are internally assessed and students may resit elements of assessment to improve their level of achievement prior to submission to OCR.

OCR automatically calculates the qualification grade for learners when unit grades are submitted.

Guided/notional learning hours
Certificate: 180 hours
Introductory Diploma: 360 hours
Subsidiary Diploma: 540 hours
Diploma: 720 hours
Extended Diploma: 1080 hours
UCAS Tariff points

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Grade Points
D* 28
D 24
M 16
P 8

OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

OCR Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma

Grade Points
D*D* 84
D*D 78
DD 72
DM 60
MM 48
MP 36
PP 24

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma

Grade Points
D*D* 112
D*D 104
DD 96
DM 80
MM 64
MP 48
PP 32

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

Grade Points
D*D*D* 168
D*D*D 160
D*DD 152
DDD 144
DDM 128
DMM 112
MMM 96
MMP 80
MPP 64
PPP 48
Key issues for UK HE admissions

The first cohort of students with Cambridge Technicals completed their qualifications in June / July 2014, and will have applied to higher education for September 2014 entry. 

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

Applicants holding unreformed Applied General qualifications may not have had experience of external or synoptic assessment.

The popularity of Applied Generals has risen over recent years. The entry rate for the combined BTEC only and A level and BTEC groups 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 do not meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • 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.
  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to the fully-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.
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Students are assessed throughout their programme of learning and may submit units for qualification award at any point.

Results are provided on a rolling basis. Students submitting units for calculation of their qualification grade by the deadline for the summer will receive results in July.

Qualification dates notes

These qualifications are current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

Read the full list of results available through ABL

Results will be made available by OCR through its website after first results are issued in August and then annually.

Progression information

OCR Cambridge Technical 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.