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Grade inflation: Ofqual research into vocational and technical qualifications

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Published date 10 December 2018

Awarding sector regulators Ofqual have published research into attainment in non-externally assessed vocational qualifications. We are pleased to confirm that our data stands up to scrutiny and there is no evidence of this in UAL Awarding Body qualifications. The piece focuses primarily on a review of data related to BTEC over the last 10 years. Ofqual found that in their view there is evidence for grade inflation in England over the period 2006 – 2016. The research is accompanied by a report suggesting approaches to strengthening vocational and technical qualifications, including greater control of assessments by awarding organisations.

UAL Awarding Body features only briefly in the piece, as it is clear that we are unaffected by grade inflation during the period covered by the research. The published data shows that we saw a very small increase in the overall proportion of Distinctions awarded, from 21.7% in 2013 to 22.3% in 2016. This 0.6% increase is in line with normal variations and is testament to the hard work of students and Centers as they strive to improve delivery year-on-year. In that context we welcome the report and opportunity to maintain confidence in qualifications that offer well-recognised alternatives to A Level and forthcoming T levels.

Over the coming years, UAL Awarding Body will be working closely with Ofqual, and other awarding organisations, in order to ensure that its qualifications and grading remain as robust as possible. We will also be seeking to maintain the best aspects of our current moderation model, including its aptness for the creative subjects and the positive impact it can have on continuing professional development of staff at our Centres.

Read the report and recommendations.