Pearson BTEC National Applied Generals (reformed)

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The QIP covers all Pearson BTEC National 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 (Wales now has a separate approval process and so it may be that not all BTEC Nationals are approved for use in Wales)
  • International
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 outlined in the table above.

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

Awarding organisation
  • Pearson (Edexcel)
Qualification codes
601/9042/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Applied Law (180 GLH))
601/7434/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Applied Science (180 GLH))
603/0448/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Art and Design (180 GLH))
603/0446/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Computing (180 GLH))
601/7193/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Health and Social Care (180 GLH))
601/7574/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Information Technology (180 GLH))
601/7231/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Performing Arts (180 GLH))
603/0458/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Sport (180 GLH))
601/7155/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Business (180 GLH))
601/7413/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (180 GLH))
601/9043/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Law (360 GLH))
601/7436/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science (360 GLH))
601/7228/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Art and Design (360 GLH))
601/7341/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Computing (360 GLH))
601/7467/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Creative Digital Media Production (360 GLH))
601/7584/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Engineering (360 GLH))
601/7197/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Health and Social Care (360 GLH))
601/7575/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Information Technology (360 GLH))
601/7233/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Performing Arts (360 GLH))
601/7218/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Sport (360 GLH))
601/7414/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (360 GLH))
601/7159/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Business (360 GLH))
601/7438/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Applied Science (510 GLH))
601/7230/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (510 GLH))
601/7343/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Computing (510 GLH))
603/0301/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (510 GLH))
603/0251/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Forensic Investigation (510 GLH))
601/7199/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Health and Social Care (510 GLH))
601/7576/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Information Technology (510 GLH))
601/7235/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Performing Arts (510 GLH))
601/7468/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production (510 GLH))
601/7161/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Business (510 GLH))
601/7220/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Sport (540 GLH))
601/7591/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Engineering (540 GLH))
601/7435/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Applied Science (720 GLH))
603/0447/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Art and Design (720 GLH))
601/7157/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Business (720 GLH))
603/0445/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Computing (720 GLH))
601/7528/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (720 GLH))
601/7194/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Health and Social Care (720 GLH))
603/0455/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Information Technology (720 GLH))
601/7232/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Performing Arts (720 GLH))
603/0460/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Sport (720 GLH))
601/7421/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science (720 GLH))
601/7437/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science (1080 GLH))
601/7229/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Art and Design (1080 GLH))
601/7342/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Computing (1080 GLH))
601/7469/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production (1080 GLH))
603/0303/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (1080 GLH))
601/7198/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (1080 GLH))
603/0454/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Information Technology (1080 GLH))
603/0459/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport (1080 GLH))
601/7422/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science (1080 GLH))
601/7234/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (1080 GLH))
601/7160/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Business (1080 GLH))
Structure

There are five different sizes of Pearson BTEC National qualifications:

  • Certificate
  • Extended Certificate
  • Foundation Diploma
  • Diploma
  • Extended Diploma

Not all subjects have qualifications at each size.

The specifications are modular in structure and are made up of a series of units, categorised by their guided learning hours (GLH).

For more detailed information on the units/structure of a Pearson BTEC National, you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in on the Pearson website.

Visit the Pearson website

Subject areas
  • Animal Management
  • Applied law
  • Applied science
  • Art and design
  • Business
  • Play in early education and childcare
  • Computing
  • Construction and the built environment
  • Creative media production
  • Equine
  • Engineering
  • Health and social care
  • Information technology
  • Music technology
  • Performing arts
  • Sport
  • Sport and exercise science(s)

Also available:

  • Animal management with science
  • Forensic & criminal investigation

Additional information:

  • Applied science includes: biomedical science, analytical & forensic science, physical science.
  • Art & design includes: photography, graphics, 3D design & crafts, fashion design & production.
  • Business includes: enterprise & entrepreneurship.
  • Computing includes: computing for creative industries, computer science, computer systems & network support, business information systems.
  • Construction & the built environment includes: building services engineering, civil engineering.
  • Creative digital media production includes: film & television production, film & television visual effects; sound production; interactive publishing, digital games design & development.
  • Engineering includes: aeronautical engineering; computer engineering, electrical & electronic engineering, manufacturing engineering, mechanical engineering.
  • Health & social care includes health studies.
  • Music technology includes: digital music production, sound engineering.
  • Performing arts includes: acting, dance, musical theatre.
  • Sport includes fitness services.
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: P, M, 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

For BTEC Nationals, units are designated as internally, externally or synoptically assessed. Internally assessed units are 60–90 GLH and externally assessed units are 90-120 GLH.

Externally-assessed units are set and marked by Pearson, and at least a part of the assessment is carried out under supervised conditions.

External assessments may include:

  • written exams
  • tasks involving an additional activity (e.g. research or an investigation) prior to the supervised part of the assessment
  • tasks carried out under supervision over a number of sessions (students have no access to their materials between sessions)

Internally-assessed units are assessed by teachers. They are contextualised using realistic, work-related scenarios, and may be provided by local employers. These units usually involve assignments, but may be exams. They may be in the form of:

  • written reports/business proposals,
  • presentations
  • solving and explaining a mathematical problem
  • reporting on the findings of a practical investigation

Each unit in a qualification has specified assessment and grading criteria. Assessment and grading are subject to external verification.

For more detailed assessment information, you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in on the Pearson website.

Visit the Pearson website

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

All BTEC National qualifications have a minimum of 40% external assessment.

For specific grade ranges and unit information, you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in on the Pearson website.

Visit the Pearson 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 notes

Certificate: 180 GLH

Extended Certificate: 360 GLH

Foundation Diploma: 510 or 540 GLH (depending on the subject)

Diploma: 720 GLH

Extended Diploma: 1080 GLH

UCAS Tariff points

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate (first teaching from September 2016)

Grade Points
D* 28
D 24
M 16
P 8

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate (first teaching from September 2016)

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma (first teaching from September 2016)

Grade Points
D* 84
D 72
M 48
P 24

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (first teaching from September 2016)

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

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016)

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.

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 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 December/January and May/June.

Most students will be taking at least one external assessment in the summer series of the second year of their programme. Therefore, HEPs will receive the vast majority of results for students taking these BTEC Nationals in August, at around the same time as they receive A level results.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Sep 2016
Qualification dates notes

These are current qualifications.

Reporting and certification information

The results of Pearson BTEC National qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL

Progression information

Pearson BTEC National 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.