Further guidance for T Level TAG submission this summer | Pearson qualifications

Further guidance for T Level TAG submission this summer

17 May 2021
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Further guidance for T Level TAG submission this summer update.

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Following a consultation on arrangements for assessing vocational and technical qualifications this summer the DfE confirmed in February that students will be able to receive a Teacher Assessed Grade for the Core Component of their T Level this summer.

All previous TAG E-Bulletins can be found in the Communication Archive located on our Provider webpage.

For further details on the approach for the TAG process, the QA process, and the key dates visit T Levels TAG Guidance for Summer 2021 webpage.

For any further questions please visit our Provide FAQs page

A calculator sheet has been developed to support Providers with their grading decisions. This will be given to each Provider with the TAG submission spreadsheet. The calculator sheet will allow Providers to enter the individual sub-component grades for each student and ensure you have visibility and understand what the outcome of the overall Core Component grade is i.e. when the two sub-components are aggregated. The two sub-components are the Core Knowledge (in normal circumstances assessed by exams) and the Employer Set Project.

We recommend that Providers use the calculator sheet as part of their internal quality assurance to ensure you understand how a student’s subcomponent grades are aggregated to calculate the overall Core Component Grade and as a final check on grades. 

For an overview of the Quality Assurance process visit the JCQ Guidance (PDF | 1.47MB)

This process will apply to T Levels as for GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications. As T Levels are in the first year of delivery, to support Providers with making their grading judgments we have provided extra support and guidance throughout the process and this will continue into the final stage of the external quality assurance. 

Providers have been asked to submit grades for each sub-component and confirm the overall Core Component Grade by 18 June. Following the submission of grades we will be in contact with you to request examples of student work. This will be during the week of 21 June. (Note that the confirmation of the overall Core Component grade, is specific for Pearson Providers). 

We will be asking Providers to submit evidence for five students for each subcomponent, 10 sets of student evidence in total, where this is possible. Providers will need to submit this evidence promptly – within 48 hours of the request being made – so it's important that Providers’ evidence and records are in good order ahead of that date.

Subject experts will review the evidence provided by the Provider. If, having reviewed the evidence, the subject expert has questions about how a Provider has made grading decisions, they will contact the Provider. 

Where we have concerns about how a Provider has arrived at its grading decisions from the evidence provided, we may ask for more evidence to be provided. And in some cases, if the evidence does not support the grades submitted, Providers will be asked to reconsider their grades. Pearson may want to discuss the Provider’s grading decisions and where we are not satisfied with the Provider’s grade, we may withhold results until assurances can be given.

The T Level Core consists of two sub-components; Core Knowledge (in normal circumstances assessed by exams) and the Employer Set Project. As it is possible to resit either or both of the sub-components after the first assessment series, an individual sub-component result is awarded a uniform mark on the Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) and these individual uniform marks are stored/banked by Pearson. Pearson’s approach for T Levels for summer 2021 is for Providers to provide letter grades for each sub-component and to confirm understanding and agreement to the resulting overall Core component grade. The sub-component results from this series will have associated uniform marks so that they can be aggregated if needed with sub-component results from resits in future exam series. The mark will be a single notional mark for all students that achieve the same grade on each sub-component. This means that this mark can be carried forward towards the total marks required to achieve the Core grade, for this series and future series. The notional UMS that Pearson will use for the T Levels for the summer 2021 series are shown in the table below. 

Further details on the Uniform Mark scale can be found in the Specification Addendum (PDF | 158KB)

This information will also be included in the relevant TQ specification when it is updated for September 2021. 


When a sub-component is sat in a normal exam series, the ‘raw’ mark is the number of marks a student would achieve on that sub-component. This raw mark would be converted into a uniform mark. This is to make sure that any series on series differences in the difficulty of the assessment materials which have been identified and compensated for by the grade boundaries set in the awarding process for the sub-components are taken into account before a student’s uniform marks are added up to give an overall Core grade. When assessments are replaced with a teacher assessed subcomponent grade, it is still necessary to assign a notional single uniform mark to that lettered grade so that the sub-component result can be used to determine the Core grade if the student resits in a future series. These are the fixed notional uniform marks shown in the table above.

In a normal exam series, where a student can sit the assessment, a range of uniform marks would be awarded for each grade on sub-component, depending on the raw mark achieved by the student. A student with a raw mark just above the raw mark grade B boundary would get a uniform mark just above the UMS grade B boundary, and a student with a raw mark just below the raw mark grade A boundary would get a uniform mark just below the UMS grade A boundary. These students would have the same grade (grade B) for the sub-component, but different uniform marks.

When assessments are replaced with teacher assessed grades the raw mark mapping cannot happen as there are no raw marks. Instead, a subcomponent teacher assessed grade (TAG) is submitted as a lettered grade, which converts to a fixed number of notional UMS (see table above) for that lettered grade. The UMS is a single notional uniform mark for all students that achieve the same grade on each sub-component. Students getting the same TAG grade will all get the same uniform mark. In the absence of the raw mark detail, it is considered fairest for the midpoint of the uniform mark range for each grade to be awarded as the unform mark for students in the June 2021 series. The exception is grade U. As grade U has a wider UMS mark range, the midpoint of the grade U range would have a disproportionate effect when the grades are aggregated. For this reason, the uniform mark given for grade U as a TAG will be the midpoint between the grade E boundary and a notional boundary set the same number of uniform marks below the grade E boundary as the grade D boundary is above the grade E boundary.

As an example, a student awarded a B grade TAG for the Employer Set Project would be awarded the midpoint uniform mark for that grade (90 UMS) and so in a resit would need to achieve higher than the midpoint of the B grade range, i.e. they would need to achieve a high B grade or a higher grade, for the resit to improve their total uniform mark for the Core Component.

Best regards,
The Pearson T Levels Team 


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