Voice Official Response: Ofqual consultation on awarding vocational and technical qualifications in summer 2020
Background: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a range of exams and assessments in vocational and technical qualifications being cancelled as result of schools, colleges and training providers closing. Ofqual set out proposals for awarding other general, vocational and technical qualifications in Summer 2020 and consulted on them.
Summary: It is clear that these are exceptional circumstances and these proposed approaches are something less than would be usual. Therefore, the approach Voice have used in considering these questions is to focus on whether the proposed solutions expose schools and other centres, teachers and education staff, and the candidates themselves to unacceptable risk which might lead to them suffering detriment in some way.
Things we want to particularly focus on are ways of insulating staff from any accusations of falsification of grades – especially if there is a paucity of evidence through no fault of the teacher or lecturer, or indeed from additional pressures from candidates and their parents, or from colleagues within the centre to overinflate grades for some reason.
Therefore any approach must be clear, transparent but also robust to withstand the rigours of the assessment process. The guidance from the providers must not be so diverse that workload is impacted, and the validity of grades is questioned because of failure to understand and follow the minutiae of detail contained in any guidance. It may be appropriate for the results to be issued in a similar manner to avoid any discrepancies which may arise.