Pearson BTEC National (QCF) Applied Generals (interim-reformed)

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The QIP covers all Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals (QCF), incl. 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.

This QIP also includes information on qualifications which do not form part of the DfE performance tables, and are not interim-reformed.

Countries
  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
  • International
Purpose

BTEC Nationals are vocational qualifications designed to develop skills, knowledge and understanding in a sector area as preparation for employment, higher education, higher apprenticeship or other training. 

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. 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 Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals (QCF) 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


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


Note: For information on the BTEC Nationals in Children’s Play, Learning and Development (CPLD) which are on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and have different titles and assessment from other BTEC Nationals see the Pearson website.

From September 2014, the BTEC National Certificate and Diploma in CPLD (Early Years Educator) will carry ‘licence to practise’ status.

Awarding organisation
  • Pearson (Edexcel)
Qualification codes
500/8237/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Agriculture (QCF) (180 GLH) * - qualifications marked with * are not interim reformed)
500/8380/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Animal Management (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
600/6413/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Aviation Operations (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
501/1217/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Blacksmithing and Metalworking (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/8263/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Countryside Management (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/7845/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Creative Media Production (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/8286/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Fish Management (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
501/0344/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Floristry (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/9450/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Forestry and Arboriculture (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/9316/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Health and Social Care (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/9433/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Horse Management (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/8350/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Horticulture (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/8195/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Hospitality (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
501/0300/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Land-based Technology (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/7870/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Music Technology (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/7102/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Production Arts (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/7840/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Public Services (QCF) (180 GLH) *)
500/8197/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Hospitality (QCF) (360 GLH) *)
500/7872/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Music Technology (QCF) (360 GLH) *)
500/7862/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (360 GLH) *)
601/1096/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Hospitality (QCF) (540 GLH) *)
600/6683/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Music Technology (QCF) (540 GLH) *)
600/3891/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (540 GLH) *)
500/8196/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Hospitality (QCF) (720 GLH) *)
500/9939/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science (QCF) (720 GLH) *)
500/7867/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (720 GLH) *)
500/7801/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (1080 GLH) *)
500/7713/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Applied Law (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/6726/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Applied Science (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/7333/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Art and Design (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/6748/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Business (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/7138/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/8156/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Engineering (QCF) (180 GLH))
600/0319/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Environmental Sustainability (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/9148/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in IT (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/7718/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Music (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/6920/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Performing Arts (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/7714/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Personal and Business Finance (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/6753/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Sport (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/6679/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/9787/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Travel and Tourism (QCF) (180 GLH))
500/6725/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Applied Science (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/7144/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Art and Design (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/6750/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Business (QCF) (360 GLH))
600/0321/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Environmental Sustainability (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/9317/4 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/9147/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in IT (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/7844/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Music (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/6919/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/7712/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Personal and Business Finance (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/6751/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Sport (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/6765/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF) (360 GLH))
500/6245/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF) (360 GLH))
600/5849/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Applied Science (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/3889/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Business (QCF) (540 GLH))
601/0501/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/6178/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/3887/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in IT (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/6682/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Music (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/3953/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/3931/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Sport (QCF) (540 GLH))
600/3930/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF) (540 GLH))
500/6673/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/6747/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Business (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/6246/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF) (720 GLH))
600/0324/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Environmental Sustainability (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/9465/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/7871/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Music (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/6873/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/6755/2 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/6766/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF) (720 GLH))
500/6720/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (QCF) (1080 GLH))
500/6746/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business (QCF) (1080 GLH))
601/0502/1 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF) (1080 GLH))
600/0320/0 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Environmental Sustainability (QCF) (1080 GLH))
500/9501/8 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF) (1080 GLH))
500/7717/X (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music (QCF) (1080 GLH))
500/6872/6 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF) (1080 GLH))
500/6764/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (QCF) (1080 GLH))
500/6801/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF) (1080 GLH))
Structure

There are five different sizes of Pearson BTEC Level 3 National (QCF) qualifications:

  • Certificate - 180 GLH
  • Subsidiary Diploma - 360 GLH
  • 90-credit 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, categorised by their guided learning hours (GLH). As these are QCF qualifications, each unit has a credit value based on its size: one credit is equal to learning outcomes achievable in six guided learning hours.

Most qualification sizes contain both mandatory and optional content, with the number of mandatory units increasing from the smallest to largest sizes. The number of mandatory units for a particular size may also vary across subject areas. 

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
  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Agriculture
  • Applied law
  • Applied science
  • Art and design
  • Aviation operations
  • Beauty therapy
  • Blacksmithing and metalworking
  • Business
  • Construction and the built environment
  • Countryside management
  • Creative media production
  • Dental technology
  • Electrical/electronic engineering
  • Engineering
  • Enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Fish management
  • Floristry
  • Forestry and arboriculture
  • Health and social care
  • Horse management
  • Horticulture
  • Hospitality
  • Information technology
  • Land-based technology
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Music
  • Music technology
  • Operations and maintenance engineering
  • Performing arts
  • Personal and business finance
  • Pharmaceutical science
  • Production arts
  • Public services
  • Sport
  • Sport and exercise science(s)
  • Travel and tourism
  • Vehicle technology
Levels
  • Level 3

These Pearson BTEC Level 3 National qualifications are 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*
  • Subsidiary Diploma: P, M, D, D*
  • 90-credit 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*

Note: the D* grade was first introduced in results issued for QCF qualifications in 2012 (and for CPLD in 2014).

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

Providers wishing to run BTEC Nationals require approval from Pearson Education Ltd.

All units of QCF BTEC Nationals are internally assessed. 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

All assessment is criterion-referenced, based on the achievement of specified learning outcomes. Each unit in a qualification has specified assessment and grading criteria.

Assessment and grading are subject to external moderation. 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

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
  • Subsidiary Diploma: 60
  • 90-credit Diploma: 90
  • Diploma: 120
  • Extended Diploma: 180

Learners will be awarded a Merit, Distinction and Distinction* qualification grade by the aggregation of points gained through the successful achievement of individual units. The number of points available is dependent on the unit level and grade achieved, and the credit size of the unit.

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

Pass: 7

Merit: 8

Distinction: 9

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

The grade Distinction* (D*) is only available at qualification level, and reflects high level achievement across a number of units.


Pearson Education Ltd automatically calculates the qualification grade for learners when unit grades are submitted.

The grade ranges for each qualification are as follows:

BTEC Level 3 Certificate

Points range above Pass grade:

230-249 Merit (M)

250-259 Distinction (D)

260 and above Distinction* (D*)

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma

Points range above Pass grade:

460-499 Merit (M)

500-519 Distinction (D)

520 and above Distinction* (D*)

BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma

Points range above Pass grade:

660-689 MP

690-719 MM

720-749 DM

750-769 DD

BTEC Level 3 Diploma

Points range above Pass grade:

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*

Resit arrangements

The QCF requires learners to pass all units. Consequently, for the BTEC Nationals on the QCF, learners who have failed the unit are allowed one retake opportunity. This must be on a new task/assignment and achievement is capped at Pass grade.

Guided/notional learning hours
BTEC Certificate: 180 hours
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: 360 hours
BTEC 90-credit Diploma: 540 hours
BTEC Diploma: 720 hours
BTEC Extended Diploma: 1080 hours
UCAS Tariff points

Pearson BTEC Certificate (QCF)

Grade Points
D* 28
D 24
M 16
P 8

Pearson BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

Pearson BTEC 90-Credit Diploma (QCF)

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

Pearson BTEC Diploma (QCF)

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

Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF)

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.

Applicants holding interim-reformed 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 Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals 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 Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL.

Detailed results information by subject, grade, etc are also available on the Pearson website.

Visit the Pearson website

Progression information

Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals 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.