OCR Cambridge Technicals Applied Generals (reformed)

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The QIP covers all OCR Cambridge Technical 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 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. 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 (Technical 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 must 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 must have at least 40% external assessment. Tech Levels must have 30% external assessment. Students will also 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, 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
601/7698/2 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Business (180 GLH))
601/7258/7 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Digital Media (180 GLH))
601/4593/6 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Engineering Principles (180 GLH))
601/7059/1 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Health and Social Care (180 GLH))
601/7097/9 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in IT (180 GLH))
603/0394/3 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Laboratory Skills (180 GLH))
601/7684/2 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Performing Arts (180 GLH))
601/7093/1 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity (180 GLH))
601/7699/4 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Business (360 GLH))
601/7259/9 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Digital Media (360 GLH))
601/4594/8 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Engineering (360 GLH))
601/7060/8 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Health and Social Care (360 GLH))
601/7098/0 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in IT (360 GLH))
601/7458/4 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Laboratory Skills (360 GLH))
601/7685/4 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Performing Arts (360 GLH))
601/7094/3 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate in Sport and Physical Activity (360 GLH))
601/7700/7 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Foundation Diploma in Business (540 GLH))
601/7061/X (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Foundation Diploma in Health and Social Care (540 GLH))
601/7460/2 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Foundation Diploma in Laboratory Skills (540 GLH))
601/7686/6 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Foundation Diploma in Performing Arts (540 GLH))
601/7701/9 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Business (720 GLH))
601/7062/1 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Health and Social Care (720 GLH))
601/7461/4 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Laboratory Skills (720 GLH))
603/0299/9 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Business (1080 GLH))
603/0381/5 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (1080 GLH))
600/4233/3 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (1080 GLH))
603/0695/6 (OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Laboratory Skills (1080 GLH))
Structure

There are five different sizes of OCR Cambridge Technicals that meet the full requirements set by the DfE and contribute towards performance measures from 2018:

  • Certificate: 180 GLH
  • Extended Certificate: 360 GLH
  • Foundation Diploma: 540 GLH
  • Diploma: 720 GLH
  • Extended Diploma: 1080 GLH

Not all subjects have qualifications at each size.

The specifications are modular in structure and are made up of a series of units. 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
  • Business
  • Health and social care
  • Information technology
  • Media
  • Performing arts
  • Sport
  • Engineering
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

The overall qualifications are graded as follows:

  • Certificate: P, M, D, D*
  • Extended Certificate: P, M, D, D*
  • Foundation 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

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

Units are either centrally assessed and externally moderated by OCR, or externally assessed.

However, the application of this may differ by awarding body, therefore if you require full assessment detail you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

All OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications have a minimum of 40% external assessment, with some qualifications and unit combinations exceeding this requirement.

For specific grade ranges and 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

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

Guided/notional learning hours
Certificate: 180 hours
Extended Certificate: 360 hours
Foundation 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 Extended Certificate

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

OCR Cambridge Technical Foundation 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

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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 to choose their optional units as they 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

External assessments are available twice a year, in January and June.

UCAS applicants will have their results sent directly to UCAS on the same day as A level students.

Qualification dates notes

These qualifcations are current.

Reporting and certification information

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

View the 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, 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.