Near Pass grade (N grade) | Pearson qualifications
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Near Pass grade (N grade)

This page details the Near Pass (N grade) available for most BTEC Nationals external assessments.

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In March this year Ofqual announced the removal of the must-pass hurdle for external assessments as part of level 3 Applied General and Tech Level qualifications.

In response, we introduced the Near Pass (N grade) for most BTEC Nationals (RQF, first teaching from 2016) external assessments, meaning learners can pass the qualification without passing the external assessment as long as they achieve the N grade and meet all other eligibility requirements (which remain unchanged).

See our additional information and FAQs which includes details of affected qualifications.

Issuing Results

The N grade will be issued as part of the August results period, but these changes have also been implemented and applied retrospectively for all learners who are eligible for an N grade.

Please note there is no N grade at Qualification level, it is only available at Unit level.

We are updating the following systems and outputs to reflect the change, so the N grade will be accurately reported where a learner has achieved it:

  • Edexcel Online (including results documents)
  • myBTEC
  • ResultsPlus
  • UCAS files.

However, we have decided not to make the change to EDI files due to the scale of the change and the risk involved in doing so. This means that learners’ summer 2018 N grades will be displayed as U grades for external assessment components in your MIS, if you import EDI (or EDIFACT format) results files. The overall qualification grade will be reported and displayed correctly in EDI files.

This will not impact learners’ eligibility for the N grade or their eligibility for the qualification. A learner's NOP (Notification of Performance) will include the N grade where applicable and this achievement will be reported to UCAS for those with HEI applications.

We aim to implement a full solution, including a revised gradeset and EDI files for future series.

How is it calculated?

The N grade is calculated for each assessment (i.e. it will be different for each unit, each examination period). There are two approaches to establishing the N grade. It will either fall halfway between the Pass grade boundary and Zero. Or it will be calculated, using the difference of marks between the Pass and Merit, taken from the Pass. The approach depends on the grade boundaries that have been awarded.

Need further help?

If you have any further questions about this, please contact us.

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