|Qualification Title||OCR Entry Code||Qualification Number|
OCR Level 2 Diploma in Business Administration
OCR Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration
OCR Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Business Administration
We have updated this guidance document following two consultations on the arrangements for assessment and awarding of VTQs in 2020-21:
- On 25 February 2021, the Department for Education (England) and Ofqual published the outcome to their joint consultation on arrangements for assessment and awarding of VTQs in 2021.
- On 24 March 2021 Ofqual published the outcome of its consultation on a VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF).
The Government’s policy position is that for VTQs used to enter directly into employment, exams or assessments should continue where they are critical to demonstrate occupational or professional competence, proficiency or act as a license to practice and can be delivered in line with Public Health England measures. It would not be safe to award these qualifications using alternative approaches to awarding such as a teacher judgement. Where the assessment cannot take place safely, it will need to be delayed.
Our Business Administration qualifications assess occupational/professional competency. We are keeping in place the adaptations in this guidance document. This centre guidance is to support you and your candidates to complete assessment, while following public health guidance.
OCR quality assurance processes
For verified qualifications, the ‘normal’ EQA visits will not be possible under the current circumstances, so EQAs will conduct their processes remotely with you.
We will take a slightly different approach to sampling, for example identifying the sample up-front and only requesting those portfolios needed but then requesting more if needed. Our aim is to ensure our processes continue to maintain standards while remaining accessible for as many centres and candidates as possible.
It is important for all internal assessments that robust monitoring processes are implemented by your centre. These monitoring processes should include effective dialogue with candidates where needed to ensure the evidence being generated is both individual and authentic.
These adaptations are in place for the 2020/21 academic year. We encourage you to complete the assessment and submission process at the earliest opportunity.
Equalities and Objectivity
It is important that any adaptations to assessment consider the ability of some groups of students to access them and, as far as possible, ensure that any adaptations do not advantage or disadvantage any student.
For students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), centres will be best placed to accommodate this when making adapted assessments available for their students. Reasonable adjustments and access arrangements must be made available and recognised wherever possible.
If you require any guidance or support about making reasonable adjustments for your students, please contact the OCR Special Requirements Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional discussions and witness testimonies must be fair and evidence-based to reflect what the candidate has achieved. When leading conversations, writing testimonies or reviewing evidence you should continue to be aware of the potential effects of students’ characteristics (including protected characteristics) on assessment judgements and ensure that they are not affecting your judgements. Protected characteristics are legally defined and include a learner’s sex, race, religion/belief, disability, gender reassignment or sexual orientation.
Guidance on the importance of objectivity and avoiding unconscious bias can be taken from the section in Ofqual’s publication for schools and colleges who are providing centre assessment grades for students taking GCSEs, A levels and other performance tables qualifications. The section ‘Unconscious effects on objectivity’ is applicable to centre assessment in general.
The rationale for the types of adaptations is to mitigate the impact of disruption already caused to teaching and learning and to respond to any ongoing or future public health measures so that candidates are able to complete their qualification and progress. Disruption may prevent candidates from completing the qualification in the normal way.
These adaptations are for anybody taking qualifications from the Business Administration suite, whether they are starting to work towards the qualification this year or continuing on programme and intending to finish this year or later. The adaptations are in place only for the academic year 2020/21.
Normally, direct (face-to-face) observation of practical activities carried out in a real work setting (or a simulated activity where permitted*) is used to evidence competency. Evidence of knowledge requirements is normally produced from written work supported with real work examples/activity as a context and centres use sufficient levels of supervision to authenticate the work of the student.
Students who have been unable to complete their assessment due to disruption caused by the pandemic are permitted to:
- use audio or video evidence of a real work activity taking place (or a simulated activity, where permitted*)in place of direct (face-to-face) observation
- use professional discussion in place of direct observation of practical demonstration as evidence of competency
- Use professional discussion and/or witness testimonies as an alternative to gathering further written evidence from students
There is no set date by which assessments using adaptations must be completed but we encourage you to complete the assessment process at the earliest opportunity.
Permissible adaptations - Knowledge requirements
It should be possible to generate knowledge-based evidence in the normal way. If it is not possible alternative methods should be considered, such as:
- professional discussion and/or witness testimonies as an alternative to gathering further written evidence from students.
- cross-referencing to previous achievement in other units. Depending on what the student has left to complete there might be suitable evidence of knowledge and understanding from units or assessment criteria that require the application of skills (typically through an explanation or description). Also there might be evidence of knowledge and understanding from skills-based units or assessment criteria.
Alternative forms of evidence must meet the assessment requirements and criteria and this needs to be clearly referenced.
Permissible adaptations - Competence requirements
Valid and reliable evidence of competence is required for competence-based assessment criteria and where possible assessor observation should continue to be the primary source of evidence to determine if the requirements of the units have been met.
Measures for social/physical distancing could make completion of units which require working alongside other people and using certain types of equipment more challenging.
Where practical activities and direct observation cannot be carried out in the normal setting and manner, suitable alternatives are:
- audio or video evidence of a real or simulated* work activity taking place
- professional discussion
- witness testimony
- authenticated reflective accounts, student-produced reports or student statements
- outputs from the student’s work or work products (with supporting documentation from a work activity)
Guidance on methods and forms of evidence
Audio or video evidence of a real work activity (or simulated activity, where permitted*) taking place
- The assessor could observe the OCR student carry out practical work activity remotely in real time using a secure digital meeting platform.
- Secure on-line meeting platforms can be used for group practical activities
- A student could record themselves and upload the recorded evidence to be assessed at a later time. (This must be a video recording so the assessor can observe the OCR student and authenticate the evidence as the student’s own work.)
Professional discussion and witness testimony
- When used as an alternative to an observed practical activity, it needs to be backed up with work outputs/products that clearly indicate what the student is able to do to meet the achievement of competence-based assessment criteria.
- When used as an alternative to gathering further written evidence from students, they can refer back to an event or activity retrospectively as long as the event took place during the Student’s registration period.
- Witness testimonies and professional discussions should be backed up, where possible, with other authenticated student-generated evidence or reports.
- Witness testimonies must be individual, cannot be generic statements used for two or more students and must reflect what was actually observed.
- Professional discussion can be used to confirm product evidence and skills-based evidence to test the student’s competence/understanding. Where written evidence is weak then a professional discussion can be used to try and draw out further evidence from the student.
- Witness testimonies and discussions with OCR students to capture evidence of their knowledge/understanding can be digitally recorded. (Audio-only recordings are suitable.)
Authenticated reflective accounts, authenticated student-produced reports
- Authenticated student-produced reports are acceptable if the authentication is confirmed by a trained and knowledgeable individual who has no relationship with the student (that includes family members even if they provide work experience).
- Gaps in evidence can be filled by cross-referencing to previous relevant achievement in other units. It must be clear that the student still meets the assessment requirements of the unit.
- These have to be signed by a responsible, objective individual and would benefit from being backed up with other evidence such as questions and answers.
- If evidence has to include photographs, the student must be identified. Photographs are used as evidence to accompany stronger types of evidence. The scene should be of a genuine activity and not be posed. Note: photographs are not reliable as a primary source of evidence of a practical task as they are unlikely to show that the student is meeting the criteria when carrying out a task.
Any alternative forms of evidence must still meet the assessment criteria and requirements.
*Simulation is only allowed for the following Level 2 units:
- Unit 29 Health and safety in a business environment
- Unit 30 Use a telephone and voicemail system
- Unit 31 Meet and welcome visitors in a business environment
Centres and students must give consideration to Safeguarding and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) when using technology or still images/photographs to support any part of the assessment process.
Ultimately, IQAs must take into consideration if any adaptions used ensure the validity, authenticity, currency, reliability and sufficiency of evidence overall.