We appreciate that the Secretary of State for Education announcing that exams and assessments will be cancelled this summer to help fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been unsettling for all learners. The College’s foremost aim is to be fair to all learners and ensure that no learner is disadvantaged.
BSDC remains open but we have changed the way we work, transitioning to remote learning using our virtual learning environment, CANVAS. From Monday 27th April, students have been able to supplement their home learning with live online classes on CANVAS.
We have been updating our website as we receive information and have an FAQ’s section that also offers links to further support, contact details and updates. At the same time, Progress Coaches are available to help with any pastoral support and signposting.
BSDC, along with all colleges in the Further Education sector have received guidance with regards to qualifications scheduled to be awarded in summer 2020. Most qualifications will be awarded by a calculated outcome method, which is similar to the method being used to determine GCSE and A Level grades. Calculated grades, as with all qualifications awarded, will be subjected to rigorous internal and external quality assurance measures and where necessary, statistical standardisation to ensure that results are fair and accurate. For further information on how your qualification will be awarded, please visit Ofqual at: https://analytics.ofqual.gov.uk and check your Canvas page for individual information.
We will continue to post updates as they become available from Ofqual and awarding organisations. (Please note, don't worry if you can't see your course in the list below. The majority of our courses will fall under the vocational and technical qualification section). Your results will be made available (for all awarding bodies) from 13th August. We will communicate how to access these results closer to the date. Current guidance is as follows:
- GCSE and Functional Skills English and Maths and Extended Project Qualifications
All learners studying GCSE and Functional Skills English and Maths and Extended Project Qualifications will be awarded a centre calculated grade derived from evidence held at the college and reviewed by subject teachers and relevant heads of department. Extended Project results will be published on the 13th August and GCSE results on the 20th August 2020.
- Access to Higher Education (QAA guidance)
All learners will complete their programme by 31st July 2020 and will have their grades calculated. The grades will calculated internally by several measures including:
- Formative assessments (AFL) – developmental feedback for work set both before and after 20th March
- Other records of student performance - Prior attainment assessment grades prior to 20th March
- There will be no disadvantage to learners. Learners will be encouraged to continue learning where possible and continue with formative assessments; only these will be used to support the grade judgement.
- Higher Education including FdA, BA Hons Top up, HNC/HND
As we get further information from Office for Students, QAA, Staffordshire University and Student Finance England, we will post this on our website and send email updates. BSDC will continue to maintain the quality of courses and the credibility of qualifications during the pandemic.
- Our partner university (Staffordshire University) has:
- Extended assessment dates by 2 weeks - ‘no disadvantage’ approach.
- The university will be changing many of the assessments to online.
- In a small number of cases there are some assessments that can’t be replaced and BSDC will work with the university to support students on how these can be delivered.
- The University has been working on developing some academic regulations to cover these exceptional circumstances to enable us to support our students through this, in the best possible way.
- Apprentices can continue with their apprenticeship; despite any break they have to take as a result of COVID-19. Apprentices can take a break from their learning or do their learning/assessment in a different way to that originally planned, even if they are put on furlough by their employer.
- BSDC will support apprentices to continue developing new skills. EPA can still be completed where the apprentice is being supported and valid assessment can take place. Assessments may be done virtually or online.
- Proctored assessment may be introduced (an exam that is supervised by an approved, neutral person (a proctor) who ensures the identity of the test taker and the integrity of the test taking environment).
- Clarification of BSDC strategy
Although we would all prefer to be physically attending college and able to access the facilities and tutors on campus, the core activity of your qualification is still taking place, including:
- Transitioning to online learning
- Adapting existing assessments for online platforms so that they remain rigorous and fair, and continuing to give timely and useful feedback managing grading and progression
- Continue to engage learners in their education, through formative learning, including higher level unit delivery. Our focus will remain focussed on skills attainment.
- Working with awarding organisations
- BSDC will continue to engage with learners, following planned learning opportunities with formative assessments, including higher level unit delivery.
- No new summative assessments will be set or graded, no learner should be disadvantaged and ultimately should achieve the outcome they would have done if they had completed their studies in college. Additional work at this stage will support progression decisions.
BSDC is continuing with remote learning to maintain and develop technical and vocational skills, with the intention of minimising gaps in knowledge. Please find the latest information about exceptional arrangements for awarding qualifications this summer – click here.
- Definition of terms
Formative assessment, typically involves qualitative feedback (rather than scores) for both learner and teacher. It is commonly contrasted with summative assessment, which seeks to monitor educational outcomes, often for purposes of external accountability.