We have put together some questions and answers that we hope will help support you as you deliver BTEC qualifications during 2021/22.

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Internal and External Assessment U-TAGs submission

Please check your EOL mailbox, as we have now sent spreadsheets to the named Point of Contact for externally assessed units (where the entry was made but the assessment did not take place). Please check with colleagues if you have not received this or contact our customer services team if you need this re-sent.

You will need to populate the U-TAG within the sheet and ensure you return it to resultsresolution@pearson.com by 10 November 2021 with the subject heading “BTEC - External Assessment U-TAG".

Please note, some spreadsheets have been re-sent so please check your EOL mailbox and use the most recent spreadsheet. We issued you with some additional information about the spreadsheets in our communication sent on Friday 15 October.

If you have only recently topped your learners up but had made external assessment entries for them which had been marked absent, we will be issuing new spreadsheets on a weekly basis to collect these U-TAGs. If you are yet to top your learners up, we will only send updated spreadsheets once this has been done. Please allow extra time for additional spreadsheets to be sent to your EOL mailbox, you do not need to request these specifically from us.

Also, there have been some instances where mid-flight learners have the required external assessment entries but are not appearing in the spreadsheets we have sent. If you find you have any of these please check on EOL that these entries haven’t been withdrawn and that the learners' registrations are still active. Once you have done this, please contact us at examsofficers@pearson.com so that we can investigate.

We issued you with some additional information about the spreadsheets in our communication sent on Friday 15 October.

If you had previously made an entry for the January or Summer 2021 series but withdrew these after the deadline, we advised you not to re-enter to avoid multiple invoices. Now we have confirmed that U-TAGs are required, we need you to please email examsofficers@pearson.com with the subject line “External assessment U-TAG query” including the following information, and we will reinstate these for you:

  • Learner first name and surname
  • Learner registration number
  • Exam unit code and title
  • Rationale as to why the previous entry was withdrawn

If you notice learners are missing from your spreadsheets and these haven’t previously been entered for external assessments, you will need to request late entries for these. Please email examsofficers@pearson.com with the subject line “External assessment U-TAG query” including the following information:

  • Learner first name and surname
  • Learner registration number 
  • Programme code and title
  • Unit code and title
  • Assessment plans (identifying that the learner was due to be assessed) 
  • Explanation as to why the entry was not made 
  • In some circumstances where the learner would have been entered for a resit, a fee may apply

We issued you with some additional information about the spreadsheets in our communication sent on Friday 15 October.

There is a functionality on EOL to input Z-flags and U-TAGs. This is now live. Please see our previously issued guidance (PDF | 1,075KB) for how to submit these.

Mid-flight learners, Z-flags and U-TAGs

Mid-flight’ refers to a learner that is part way through their studies and is not intending to certificate in that academic year. Guidance for learners who were ‘mid-flight’ in 2020/21 meant that they were not eligible for qualification-level teacher assessed grades (Q-TAGs). As these learners are now in the final year of their qualification, there are some steps to follow to ensure they can certificate at the end of their course, as we return to the normal eligibility process of using unit grades.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.

Yes, this is possible for your mid-flight learners as they are yet to be certificated. Please note, to enable the quality assurance (QA) process to take place, the Z-flag functionality will only be available for a limited period of time on Edexcel Online. If you need to update last year's Z grades to interim claims, where you have evidence of completed assessment, please do this as soon as possible and before the final deadline of 10 November 2021.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.

The Q-TAG judgement is final, and can only be challenged via the appeals process (PDF | 316KB). A learner that has been awarded a Q-TAG grade is entitled to decline a grade, return their certificate and re-sit relevant units to improve their grade. However, this course of action is reliant on a number of factors: 

  • Does the learner have resit attempts available for the external assessment? 

  • Does the learner have any banked units, or do they need to attempt them all? If units were not banked for the Q-TAG, the centre will need to put forward U-TAGs (in the same way they would if the learner were mid-flight) for all units due to be taken (but which were not assessed) using the Z-flag function. The Vocational and technical qualifications contingency regulatory framework (VCRF) applies to all assessments due to take place between 1 August 2020 – 31 August 2021. In addition, the centre will need to claim any unit grades that were assessed. All internally assessed units completed in the last academic year will need to be claimed under the U-TAG process by 10 November 2021.

  • Does the learner have enough time before the certificate end date?

If an exam entry for externally assessed units was not made for the previous series due to the Q-TAG process, please contact Customer Services via our Support Portal and provide the following details:  

  • Learner registration number

  • First name and Surname

  • Programme code 

  • Programme title

  • Unit code

  • Unit title

  • Assessment plans (identifying that the learner was due to be assessed)  

  • Explanation as to why the entry was not made 

  • In some circumstances where the learner would have been entered for a resit, a fee may apply. Guidance (PDF | 74KB) was provided to centres to ensure that examination entries reflected whether assessment was due for learners in 2020/21

These requests will be reviewed, and an outcome will usually be provided within 48 hours. Late Entry requests must be made as soon as possible and no later than 15 October 2021.

Guidance was provided to centres to ensure that examination entries reflected whether assessment was due for learners in 2020/21. Therefore, we do not expect any late entries to be required.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details on ‘mid-flight’ learners.

Yes. If the learner is unhappy with the U-TAG you have provided them with, there will be an Appeals process in place. Further information on Appeals for U-TAGs will follow in the coming weeks.

Internal Assessment in 2021/22

No, this is not possible. Z flags were for assessments due to take place between 1 August 2020 to 31 August 2021 Streamlined assessments are available for assessment in the 2021/22 academic year. 

If a claim was made for a Z-flag + grade and the learner subsequently complete a resubmission (as detailed in our guidance), the original grade and Z-flag will need to be declined before the new streamlined grade can be added. 

Please see our BTEC guidance (PDF | 578KB) for further information on Z flags, UTAGs and streamlined assessments, including how to report these in EOL.

There are two types of adaptations for internal assessment that are available with the purpose of giving time back to teaching and learning. One of these is streamlined unit assessment - where the number of internally assessed units that need to be 
assessed in full is reduced, these could be mandatory or optional, However, please note that streamlined assessment should only be on mandatory units as a last resort for UK centres 

You will only be required to assess one Learning Aim/Outcome from the selected unit. 
The unit(s) must not be synoptic, or units that are required for HE progression and/or 
units linked to HE offers (e.g. maths-related units in Engineering). You can only 
streamline the number of units stated for that qualification, within this guide (PDF | 1.1MB). Streamlining is 
available for many qualifications in the BTEC Nationals (QCF and RQF), BTEC Level 2 
Skills and the BTEC Firsts suites.

For all information relating to approved adaptations to internal assessment please see our website.

Centres should plan to take all assessments in 2021/22 academic year as required.  The option to streamline the number of assessments (indicated in our Streamlined Assessments guidance (PDF | 1.3MB)) is at the centre’s discretion, following reflection on the continued impact of the disruption caused by the pandemic on the learners. 

It is acceptable to have streamlined units in 2021/22 and reduced assessment units in 2020/21. However, streamlined assessment should be used as per our guidance and guiding principles listed, and for units taken between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022, whereas reduced assessments was a mitigation used for units planned to be taken during 1 August 2020 - 31 August 2021.

Yes, it is possible for individual learners within a cohort to make use of streamlined assessment through different units, as best fits their individual circumstances.

Please refer to our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) on Streamlined Assessments for 2021/22

Standards Verification

We are currently working on the requirements for standards verification this year and will issue guidance shortly.

Yes, Lead IVs must register each year to inform us they are still in role and to access materials to undertake annual standardisation with their assessment teams. There is however no requirement to undertake an accreditation test as they may have done in previous years some time ago.

External Assessment in 2021/22

The release of Part A BTEC external assessments has now begun in line with the confirmed exam timetables. All Part A materials that are web-releases are available to download from our website here

For 2022 exam series, we have continued to deliver adaptations to extend Part A or research windows for our task-based assessments, these can be seen in the exam timetables. We have not changed or adapted the amount of supervised, controlled or unsupervised hours needed, please refer to the External Assessment Overview document, task booklet, Admistrative Support Guide (ASG) or Sample Assessment Materials (SAMs) for guidance on this. You can find the ASGs and SAMs by selecting the External assessments button on the left of the Course Materials tab, found at the top of each qualification’s webpage.

Yes, all on-demand external assessment tests are available for booking from 1 September 2021.

For external assessments in the BTEC Nationals (RQF) and L1/L2 Tech Awards, a single notional point score will need to be awarded for all learners that achieve the same grade.

The notional points score that we will use for the BTEC Nationals (RQF) and L1/L2 Tech Awards external assessment units for the summer 2021 series are shown in the tables below.

BTEC Nationals

  Points June 2021
Grade 90 GLH 120 GLH
D 24 32
M 19 26
P 12 16
N 7 10 
U 0 0
BTEC Tech Awards 
Grade  Points June 2021 
L2 D  45 
L2 M  39 
L2 P  33 
L1 D  27 
L1 M  21 
L1 P  15 

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.

All BTEC external assessments for 2021/22 are expected to go ahead

You can find Final timetables for January, February, March and summer 2022 on our website and included in the BTEC External Assessment Overview document, which are available on the Exams Officers and Exam Timetables pages


You can expect to start receiving standard question papers from Thursday 6 January 2022 for BTEC qualifications. You can expect to start receiving modified formats of question papers from Tuesday 4 January 2022.  The yellow label service will be in place for this January series for centres in England to return BTEC scripts.   

It is required that assessments are delivered in line with the guidance provided and failure to administer external assessments appropriately could lead to further investigation and results being withheld.

Once you have received the exam material for upcoming series in 2022 , in accordance with the guidance given in the JCQ Instructions for the Conduct of Examinations, please check the contents of this consignment immediately and store them in the order in which the examinations take place. If the contents cannot be checked immediately, you must lock these papers away in secure storage until an authorised member of staff is available to make the necessary checks.

Please note: if there is anything to indicate that the box or the contents appeared to have been opened or tampered with before you received it please contact us urgently, as a breach of confidentiality may mean that an exam cannot go ahead as scheduled. If the box was secure but the items are incorrect please contact us so the correct materials can be sent to you.

We are utilising an online digital submission process for relevant selected BTEC level 3 National externally-assessed units this coming January. This solution is more sustainable and efficient in reducing the need for postal services and USB pen drive submissions. We recently communicated with centers about this and asked to complete this form by Friday 3rd December providing us with details of the appropriate person responsible within your centre for the upload of material.  

The BTEC level 3 National units selected are as follows: 

Qualification Unit Code Sector Unit Name January 2022
Submission Date
BTEC Nationals 31588H Business / Enterprise and Entrepreneurship  Unit 6/12: Principles of Management  18/01/2022
BTEC Nationals 31589H Business / Enterprise and Entrepreneurship  Unit 7/6: Business Decision Making  24/01/2022
BTEC Nationals 31489H Business / Enterprise and Entrepreneurship  Unit 2: Developing A Marketing Campaign  17/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 20161K Information Technology  Unit 14: IT Service Delivery  28/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31725H Engineering Unit 6: Microcontroller Systems for Engineers  28/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31761H Information Technology  Unit 2: Creating Systems to Manage Information  24/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31770H Computing  Unit 3: Planning and Management of Computing Projects  24/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31771H Computing  Unit 4: Software Design and Development Project  19/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 20158K Information Technology  Unit 11: Cyber Security and Incident Management  02/02/2022 
BTEC Nationals 20177K Music Performance  Unit 2: Professional Practice in the Music Industry  25/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31561H Performing Arts Unit 7: Employment Opportunities in the Performing Arts  26/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31828H Art and Design  Unit 2: Critical and Contextual Studies in Art and Design  26/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31832H Art and Design Unit 6: Managing A Client Brief  25/01/2022 
BTEC Nationals 31668H Creative Digital Media  Unit 1: Media Representations  26/01/2022 
31674H Creative Digital Media   Unit 8: Responding to a Commission  18/01/2022

If you have submitted a UTAG for learners but they are entered for a  resit  the best grade will go forward towards certification.

Entries for June 2022 session opened on Friday 12 November 2021 for BTEC Firsts, BTEC Nationals, Level 2 Technicals and Tech Awards. For instances where learners are completing set tasks and secure materials are held under gold padlock, you will need to have made learner entries to be able to access these materials.


Revised certificate print dates for B1 qualifications awarded the ‘Q-TAG’ process during summer 2021 are outlined in the table below. These dates only apply where an appeal has not been logged for a learner.

Centre type Certificate print date Expected in-centre date Latest in-centre date
International 3 September 2021 24 September 2021 7 November 2021
UK 15 September 2021 6 October 2021 7 November 2021

As per our previous guidance, learners completing B1 qualifications in summer 2021 will only be issued with certificates, and not Notifications of Performance (NOPs).