Learner update: Awarding your BTEC Level 3 qualification(s) in 2021
We hope you and your families are keeping well and safe. We recognise how unsettling the past year may have been for you and know that you have been working hard during this time and we wanted to reassure you about the arrangements this summer, especially given you are completing the BTEC Level 3 qualification(s) this year.
Overview of the BTEC assessment arrangements
We have asked your school/college/private training provider to submit for you an overall qualification grade, based on your performance and a range of evidence from throughout the BTEC course. No algorithms will be used to generate results. Instead, we will be sampling student work, as we have done in previous years, and the submitted qualification grades will be subject to our quality assurance processes/checks to enable us to issue the final results with confidence.
Given the unprecedented circumstances of this year, we will not be issuing unit grades this summer, only the overall qualification grade, to ensure parity with the assessment approach taken for A Levels. This is in line with Ofqual’s preference to issue a qualification grade for Applied General type qualifications, which are taken alongside or instead of A Levels (Consultation Decisions: Regulatory Arrangement of Vocational and Technical and Other General Qualifications in 2020-21, p.33).
Like the Department for Education, we also recognise that it may not be possible for all students to complete all BTEC unit assessments this year through no fault of their own, which is why the focus this year is on the qualification grade, rather than individual unit grades.
Supporting progression into Higher Education (HE)
Every year nearly 100,000 students progress to university holding a BTEC qualification, either by itself, or alongside A Levels and/or other qualifications. BTECs have a long history of supporting entry into both HE and employment.
We have been liaising closely with universities and HE organisations, such as Universities UK (UUK), UCAS and other university representative groups during this period. As part of this work, we have updated all UK universities and many international universities on this year’s assessment arrangements for BTEC qualifications.
Please be reassured that universities recognise the extenuating circumstances of this year for all Level 3 students and will be taking this into account when making admissions decisions. Earlier this year, UUK released the following statement:
“Universities recognise that this year's school leavers have borne the brunt of disruption caused by the pandemic. University admissions teams will pull out all the stops to make sure that this year's applicants get the opportunity to fulfil their potential at university. They will continue to be fair and flexible in their decision making including, as in any year, for those who choose to appeal their results over the summer.”
Read the full article University admissions teams will 'pull out all the stops' this year
Unit-specific offers for university entry
Each university is responsible for setting its own entry requirements. Some of you may hold one or more unit-specific offers from universities (for example, where the offer is dependent on doing one or more specific units and/or achieving specific unit grades). This is common for some STEM/health-related degrees.
We have informed all UK universities that we will not be issuing unit grades this year, and the reasons for this, including the need to have parity with the assessment approach for A Levels. Some universities have already notified us that they will be updating unit-specific offers to reflect this, and we have been pleased to see the flexibility they are demonstrating towards admissions this year.
If you hold a unit-specific offer, you may wish to contact the university (if you have not already heard from them) to confirm they will be updating the offer to reflect the new BTEC assessment arrangements. Please be patient, it may take a little time for them to confirm due to the pandemic-related disruption.
Considering applying to university?
Maybe you have not yet applied to university and are still considering your options. You can still apply up to 30 June 2021 (6pm) via UCAS. It is also possible to apply during Clearing (5 July – 19 October 2021). UCAS has a lot of resources to support you when making your applications, and we have also included a link to our guidance and video for BTEC students.
Transitioning to university
The thought of starting university this year may feel a bit daunting, given the disruption of the past year. Please be reassured that universities recognise this and are looking at the support in place to aid the transition of new students. There are also free online short courses, focused on research/study skills and preparing for university at FutureLearn.
Student results day(s) and appeals
This year BTEC student results days align to that of A Levels and GCSEs:
10 August 2021 - BTEC Level 3 Nationals
12 August 2021 - BTEC Level 2 Technicals/ BTEC Level 1/2 Firsts/ BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Awards
In the event you think there is an error with the final grade(s) issued, you will have the opportunity to appeal the result, via your school/college/private training provider.
Support from Pearson
If you have any specific questions for us, or if you need any support to get in touch with the university you have applied to, please contact us, where you can also live chat us, or phone on: 0345 618 0440.
In the meantime, we wish you all the best with your studies and every success with your next steps after you complete your BTEC Level 3 National qualification(s), whether that is employment, an apprenticeship or Higher Education.
BTEC & Apprenticeships