For everyone delivering Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals, we know you need clarity on how assessments will be adapted in 2020–2021.
Here’s the approach that we propose to take, designed to help you and your students to reduce the impact of lost teaching and learning time and meet public health concerns. We’ve just submitted our proposals to our regulator and the DfE for review. This requires time and we’ll also need to wait for the outcome of the second Ofqual consultation on VTQs in 2020–21. The outcome of the first VTQ consultation is summarised here. But we look forward to confirming the final details as soon as possible.
We hope this overview of our proposed approach helps to show you how we’re planning to support your delivery this year. While we have developed these proposals to support you and your students in these very challenging times, continued teaching and learning of all outstanding content is a principle underpinning these. Delivering content is vital for your students’ wider learning and progression.
There are 3 elements to our proposed approach: (please see the exceptions below)
1. A reduced number of assessments overall – for those completing the qualification in 2020–21. In most cases where students have multiple moderated units to complete in 2020–21, they can do one (or in some larger qualifications, two) fewer assessments, for example set assignments. This approach allows students to complete whole assessments for the units chosen, rather than multiple partial assessments. All candidates certificating in summer 2021 must take assessment this year. For units left to be taken this year, it’s important to take both examined and moderated assessments.
For Cambridge Nationals:
For Level 3 Cambridge Technicals:
2. Unit level adaptations to assessment tasks – to reflect public health guidelines and ongoing disruption. We’ve reviewed those units where the requirements may present significant challenges because they rely on access to settings, facilities and equipment which may not be possible, or they require physical interaction with others which may not be possible.
The adaptations will vary depending on the nature of the unit. Here are examples of the types of adaptations proposed:
3. Assessed grades for units which could not be assessed in summer 2020 – to be awarded when students are ready to certificate or ‘cash in’ their qualification. Where centres were part way through delivering the content of these units prior to summer 2020, then the teaching and learning must be completed, especially if they are mandatory.
To clarify, where a student was due to take an assessment in summer 2020 and could not do so, an assessed grade will be available to them for the unit(s) in question. The assessment does not need to be taken. However the DfE expects that teaching and learning should not be reduced, so the content of any unit that was due to be sat in summer 2020 still needs to be covered in teaching if it was not fully completed previously, and we would advise that you re-cap some content where it is important to other units which are being taught between now and summer 2021.
Assessed Grades v. Centre Assessment Grades
An assessed grade is different from the Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) used in summer 2020. Assessed grades will be produced using the unit results candidates have achieved through completed live assessments. We will do this using the same method we normally use when a student misses an assessment, (for example due to illness). This is why we will issue them at the end of the course when there will be the most evidence to base the grade on. This makes your students’ assessed grades more reliable. It is also why it is important that live assessments are completed in some units this academic year, even though in our proposals a reduced number in total is being permitted in many cases.
Cambridge Nationals in Information Technologies – please note that element 1) a reduced number of assessments, does not apply due to the 2 unit model.
Level 2 Cambridge Technicals – please note that element 1) a reduced number of assessments and 3) assessed grades, does not apply to our Level 2 Technicals due to their design as 1 year courses.
In the draft proposals we’ve shared here, we are offering as much flexibility as possible to teachers and learners. We also need to meet the requirements set by Ofqual and DfE so please remember that the approach we’ve outlined is still subject to feedback. We’ll be communicating details of the reduction in assessments and our unit level adaptations to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we’d repeat our advice to focus on mandatory assessments first, followed by optional assessments for any outstanding units to be taken this year. Thank you for your patience while we finalise the details for you but please be assured that our Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals are just as high priority to us as our GCSEs and A Levels.