On 6 August, Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) published the outcome of their joint consultation on adaptations to be made to assessments in 2021/22 for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) such as Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals.
We’re pleased that the consultation outcome confirmed the proposed adaptions for Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals that we communicated on 16 July 2021. The adaptations can be found below, updated to reflect the detail from the consultation decisions.
For students who were part way through a course in 2019/20 and 2020/21 (who will be certificating in 2021/22 or beyond), a reminder of the measures that may apply to those students is also included below.
Summary of adaptations and measures
Please click on the links below to take you to the relevant section
- Adaptations for units due to be taken in 2021/22
- Measures from 2020/21
- Measures from summer 2020
We’ll be updating these FAQs and our guidance and support on our website regularly.
The Department for Education in England and Ofqual have jointly set out that assessments will go ahead in 2021/22 academic year in England. We have made the adaptions summarised above to Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals to support you and your students to complete assessments.
If it is not possible for assessments to go ahead, then students’ grades will instead be determined by their teachers, using a teacher assessed grade (TAG) approach. Further information on the policy is available here.
We have produced this guidance to help you prepare should TAGs have to be used. We are publishing
this guidance now to sit alongside guidance for GCSEs, AS and A Levels. The structure of Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals means that you can continue to deliver the course and assessments broadly as normal, as this will allow your students to build up evidence naturally. All adaptations introduced for 2021/22 would still apply.
Reducing the number of assessments of optional or mandatory moderated units in 2021/22
If teachers need to free up time spent on assessment to help address students’ loss of learning, we will allow a reduction in the number of assessments taken of moderated units as we first announced in December 2020. Delivering the content is vital for your students’ progression and all content must be taught, as far as possible, for the units due to be taken in 2021/22.
For students certificating in 2021/22 the reduction in the number of assessments taken can only include mandatory moderated assessment where a qualification only has mandatory units or the student does not have any optional moderated assessments left to take. Students certificating in 2021/22 must take assessments this year.
For students certificating beyond 2021/22 the reduction in assessment of units due to be taken in 2021/22 can only include mandatory moderated assessment where a qualification only has mandatory units. Where the qualification has optional and mandatory units we expect this group of students will take all mandatory assessments.
For further details, please see the relevant article below:
Unit level adaptations for all students due to take assessments in 2021/22 (Updated April 2022)
Unit-level adaptations such as alternative forms of evidence e.g. professional discussion in place of performance. We anticipate schools and colleges will make use of these in line with their response to the guidance so that assessments can take place for all students.
We have republished our unit-level adaptation guidance from 2020/21 on the individual qualification pages for 2021/22.
These unit level adaptations are available to all students regardless of which year they complete their qualification, however, as we confirmed when we first announced this, the adaptations can only be used in the academic year 2021/22.
These adaptations cannot be used for any assessments beyond 2021/22 and will be withdrawn after this summer. If you are able to submit these units for moderation this academic year, 2021/22, please do so. If you are not able to do this, please contact us.
Assessing learners work that has been completed from home
Teachers can continue to assess work that has been produced from home for all students due to take assessments in 2021/22. Please see our guidance on producing work from home
This adaptation is intended for students who cannot be directly supervised by a teacher or attend school when they are due to take the assessment for reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, the student needs to self-isolate but they are still well enough to work on their assignment. This adaptation can be used with all students that require it, regardless of which year they complete their qualification. However, the adaptation can only be used for assessment taken during the academic year 2021/22.
Unit teacher assessed grades (from 2020/21)
For students who were part way through the course in 2020/21, the units planned to be taken before 31 August 2021 are included in the unit teacher assessed grade (TAG) process for summer 2021. Unit teacher assessed grades can be submitted between 27 September to 8 October 2021.
This includes those units where you had originally planned to take the assessment before 31 August 2021 but then decided to reduce the number of unit assessments as part of the adaptations published in December 2020.
- More information about this can be found in our article Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals: What teacher assessed grades in summer 2021 mean for adaptations (reduction in assessment)
- More information about arrangements for students not certificating in 2020/21 can be found in our article Arrangements for Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals students not certificating in summer 2021.
- Information on how the overall grade will be calculated can be found in our article How will the overall grade for Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals be calculated in 2021/22 and beyond using unit teacher assessed grades?
- FAQs on determining unit teacher assessed grades
Unit level teacher assessed grades (TAGs) are an arrangement from 2020/21. TAGs are not available for units planned for 2021/22 or beyond.
Deferred assessed grades (from summer 2020)
For learners on a three year programme who were due to take a unit assessment in summer 2020 but could not do so, to take the disruption of 2019/20 into account, we will give a deferred assessed grade for the unit when the student finishes the course. This is part of the summer 2020 arrangements and only applies to learners certificating in 2021/22 or beyond that were due to take a unit in summer 2020 but could not do so.