Assessment and grading
Find out about grading for BTEC Firsts and how we ensure that assessment standards are consistently applied.
BTEC First learners receive a grade for each individual unit (Distinction, Merit, Pass, or Unclassified). Next generation BTEC Firsts also include a Level 1 pass at unit and qualification level, and a Distinction* grade (at qualification level only).
All internally assessed unit grades are subject to quality assurance. This ensures that learners get the grades they deserve and all centres assess every BTEC assignment to the highest standard.
We calculate the final grade for a BTEC First by looking at performance across each unit in the qualification using a points-based scale. Each individual specification contains details of how to grade each unit and calculate the overall qualification grade.
Each individual unit will specify:
- a set of learning aims or objectives (what the learner needs to know, understand or be able to do)
- assessment criteria for each grade (what the learner needs to demonstrate to achieve at a specified level – for example, Pass, Merit, or Distinction – for each learning aim).
While individual unit grades are rigorous in reflecting achievement in a specific area of knowledge, qualification grades reflect performance, achievement and competence across the whole course. You can find detailed guidance on how the qualification grade is calculated in each individual specification.
Confidence in the standard: Quality assurance
We have a rigorous process to ensure all teachers and tutors are assessing BTEC consistently to the same high standard. This process is called quality assurance.
Everyone in the BTEC team will be involved in the quality assurance process:
We make materials available so everyone in the BTEC team can undertake standardisation training before they start writing assignments and assessing learner work.
Each Principal Subject Area will appoint a Lead Internal Verifier who works closely with the BTEC subject team and is responsible for assessment across BTEC programmes.
Our annual Quality Review and Development (QRD) programme supports schools and colleges delivering BTEC Firsts. As part of QRD, a Standards Verifier is appointed for your centre and an annual sampling programme is carried out to give you confidence that you're assessing to the national standard.
Once a learner has completed all the units in their course, the school or college can make a claim.
About claims and certification
For next generation BTEC Firsts, which contain an element of external assessment, there's additional support including mark schemes and past papers.