We have recently shared our proposed approach for adapting Cambridge Nationals in 2020/2021, designed to help you and your students to reduce the impact of lost teaching and learning time and meet public health concerns.
We’ve submitted our proposals to our regulator and the DfE for review. This requires time and we’ll also need to wait for the outcome of the second Ofqual consultation on VTQs in 2020/2021. The outcome of the first VTQ consultation is summarised here. But we look forward to confirming the final details as soon as possible.
There are 3 elements to our proposed approach:
- A reduced number of assessments overall*
- Unit level adaptations to assessment tasks
- Assessed grades for units which could not be assessed in summer 2020
For those completing the qualification in 2020/21, where a student was due to take an assessment in summer 2020 and could not do so, an assessed grade will be available to them for the unit(s) in question, the assessment does not need to be taken.
For units left to be taken this year, our proposals are that in most cases where students have multiple moderated units to complete, they can do one fewer assessment. This approach allows students to complete whole assessments for the units chosen, rather than multiple partial assessments.
All candidates certificating in summer 2021 must take assessment this year and it is important where the examined unit was not 'taken' last year (either by sitting the assessment or by being eligible for an assessed grade for summer 2020), it is taken this year. This is so we have completed assessment(s) to use towards assessed grades.
*For Information Technologies, a reduced number of assessments does not apply due to the 2-unit model. However, where a student was due to take an assessment in summer 2020, an assessed grade will be available for that unit, leaving the assessment for one unit to complete this year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find more information about the proposals?
More information can be found in the following FAQs:
A reduced number of assessments overall
- How our proposals apply to Creative iMedia, Health and Social Care, ICT, Sport Science, Sport Studies
- How our proposals apply to Engineering Design, Engineering Manufacture, Principles in Engineering and Engineering Business, Systems Control in Engineering
- How our proposals apply to Child Development, Enterprise and Marketing
- How our proposals apply to Information Technologies
Unit level adaptations to assessment tasks
Assessed grades for units which could not be assessed in summer 2020
- What is an assessed grade? Is this the same as a centre assessment grade (CAG)?
- Eligibility for an assessed grade for Cambridge Nationals
Can more than one element apply?
Yes, our proposals are that students can have an assessed grade for units which could not be assessed in summer 2020 and complete a reduced number of assessments overall. You can also apply the unit level adaptations to the unit(s) they are completing this year.
When do we receive the assessed grade for units which could not be assessed in summer 2020?
We will issue them at the end of the course when there will be the most evidence to base the grade on. This makes your students’ assessed grades more reliable. It is also why it is important that live assessments are completed in some units this academic year, even though in our proposals a reduced number in total is being permitted in many cases.
Applying your proposals to our students means we only have one unit left to assess in 2020/21. Will you still be able to create an assessed grade for the summer 2020 units?
Yes, if any of your students were due to take an external assessment or submit moderated units from 20 March to 31 July 2020, then they are eligible for an assessed grade for those units.
However, if your students have already completed or partially completed moderated units that you were planning to submit in the June 2020 series (but you could not because it was cancelled), you may wish to submit them in the January or June 2021 series. If you choose to do this, the work for moderation must be completed and marked (partially completed units cannot be submitted).
This would allow your students to have another unit result, in addition to the unit(s) they are going to take this year, to count towards their final grade. This will make the assessed grade they receive for any other units from summer 2020 more reliable.
If we choose to submit units that are eligible for an assessed grade, what result will OCR use?
If you choose to submit the units in January or June 2021 for which students are eligible for an assessed grade, we will use the best result between the summer 2020 assessed grade (that we will generate at the end of the course) and your moderated live assessment towards the final grade.
What should we be teaching while we wait for the proposals to be confirmed?
In the draft proposals, we are offering as much flexibility as possible to teachers and learners. We also need to meet the requirements set by Ofqual and DfE so please remember that the approach we’ve outlined is still subject to feedback.
We’ll be communicating details of the reduction in assessments and our unit level adaptations to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we’d repeat our advice to focus on mandatory assessments first, followed by optional assessments for any outstanding units to be taken this year.
Thank you for your patience while we finalise the details for you.
Does the entry deadline of 21 October still apply for the January 2021 series? [Updated 30//10/2020]
As you may be waiting for the proposals to be confirmed before making final decisions on January 2021 entries, in response to your feedback you can make entries until 2 November 2020 without incurring late entry fees for examined unit entries for Cambridge Nationals.
We'd really encourage you to submit some, or as many of your moderated units as you can, ahead of the summer 2021 series and to support this, there will be no late entry fees applied for moderated unit entries in the January series.
Where you are able to complete moderated units, please continue to submit entries to us at any point up to the end of 2020.
The centre-assessed mark submission deadline for Cambridge Nationals remains 10 January 2021.