International Vocational Qualifications Update | Pearson qualifications

International Vocational Qualifications Update

11 December 2020

Welcome to the International VQ update.

We wanted to provide you with some information in response to our announcement to the UK centres last week, that we will be activating the ‘Reduced Optional Unit Assessment’ mitigation, in consideration of the continued disruption to teaching and learning. We will be sharing more detailed information in the new year.

Read more

What is covered:

  • Reduced Optional Unit Assessment update
  • BTEC International Level 3
  • BTEC QCF Nationals 2010
  • BTEC International Level 2
  • Standards Verification update

Reduced Optional Unit Assessment

Please find below the principles of how we expect the ‘reduced optional unit assessment’ mitigation will apply. Please note that not all qualifications will have this mitigation. We will provide further guidance early next year.

Reduced Assessments will be applied to most qualifications in the following BTEC Qualification Suites:

  • BTEC International Level 3 
  • BTEC QCF Nationals 2010 
  • BTEC International Level 2

BTEC International Level 3

Qualification Size Maximum Reduced Optional Unit Assessments for learners certificating in 2021 and for learners who registered September 2020 and certificating up to January 2023
Certificate (180 GLH)

Extended Certificate/ Subsidiary Diploma (360 GLH)  60 GLH – 1 optional unit  
Foundation Diploma (510/ 540 GLH) 60 GLH – 1 optional unit  
Diploma (720 GLH) 120 GLH – 2 optional units
Extended Diploma (1080 GLH)  120 GLH – 2 optional units

BTEC QCF Nationals 2010

Qualification Size Maximum Reduced Optional Unit Assessments for learners certificating in 2021 and for learners who registered September 2020 and certificating up to January 2023.
Certificate (180 GLH)
Subsidiary Diploma (360 GLH) 10 Credit
90-Credit Diploma (540 GLH)
10 Credit
Diploma (720 GLH)
20 Credit
Extended Diploma (1080 GLH)
20 Credit

BTEC International Level 2

Qualification Size Reduced Assessment for learners certificating 2021 and for learners who registered in September 2020 and certificating up to January 2023.
(NLH related to optional units only)
Certificate (150 NLH) 50 NLH
Extended Certificate (300 NLH) 50 NLH
Diploma (600 NLH)

100 NLH

Please note that some qualifications will not have reduced assessments because they have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • 100% Mandatory content
  • the qualification is a license to practice to ensure parity, UK and International qualifications of the same size receive the same level of adaptation
  • in unit adaptation that has already applied.

The adaptation will apply to learners certificating in Summer 2021, and learners who registered in September 2020, and certificate up to January 2023 for our international learners who are not on a traditional academic year.

We will be issuing further guidance and support in the new year, on how to “claim” optional units that will not be required to be assessed.

In addition to the above information, we would like to confirm the following points and will share more with you as soon as possible:

  • all content should be taught
  • all mandatory content must be taught and assessed
  • when selecting which units to apply reduced assessment to,
  • centres will need to reflect on learner's progression, to ensure learners can confidently progress to Higher Education or to work
  • the unit(s) that are taught but not assessed must be on the
  • centre's assessment plan for 2020/2021 academic year
  • centres can choose to assess all units, and not use the reduced assessment opportunity if they are able to assess all content
  • the reduced assessment adaptation will not reduce the GLH of the qualification or UCAS points available
  • the ‘Reduced Optional Unit Assessment’ is an adaptation and therefore should not be confused with Special Considerations.

Standards Verification update

We would like to share the below responses to some frequently asked questions on the Standards Verification activity this academic year, in light of our announcements on ‘Reduced Optional Unit Assessment’:

  1. Will Intenational Standards Verification still take place?
    Yes – our dedicated International Standards Verifiers have completed their training and are receiving and accepting their allocations and supporting you with your sampling, which will be conducted remotely.
  2. Will the SV window be extended? 
    It is unlikely that it will be possible to extend the window for SV sampling whilst ensuring timely completion of the certification process. This is due to the nature of the activities we will be looking to complete this year, including deferred calculation of CAGs from summer 2020, and calculations of the Reduced Optional Unit Assessment mitigations. However, if you have specific concerns, please discuss these with your SV.
  3. In light of the announcements relating to Reduced optional unit assessment, will SV sample sizes be reviewed?
    We are in the process of reviewing whether sample sizes remain appropriate following the Reduced optional unit assessment announcement and will update you as soon as possible. 

Thank you for your ongoing support: we wish you a restful break, and look forward to working with you in 2021.


{{ gatDoctitle }}


Are you sure you want to exit this session?