Preparing to deliver New Specification BTEC Sport (NQF 2012/2013) – Part 2

We are coming towards the end of the sampling window for the New NQF Sport qualification and some centres that are delivering the programme over a year, may be asking their Standards Verifier for an extension to complete their second sample and in some cases their first sample.

The Quality Assurance model for the qualification has come as a surprise for some centres, and it has upped the ante in terms of the requirements of standards verification.

What do you need to do before you start delivering the course?

The first thing that needs to be done is to complete standardisation training.  A member of staff needs to be registered as the Lead Internal Verifier.  The Lead Internal Verifier can access the training materials via OSCA and the materials should then be completed with the BTEC team to ensure that everyone involved with delivering and assessing the course are working towards the same standards.  Unlike the QCF qualification there isn’t a requirement to complete online standardisation to gain accreditation, but it is really important that the standardisation materials are accessed and worked through as a team.  Standardisation is not a one of thing; it needs to be completed every year.

From completing sampling this year, I can say that those centres that did not complete the standardisation materials did not tend to meet the National Standards and were blocked at first sampling.  To be fair though, some centres that did complete the standardisation were also blocked at first sampling.

I have completed the standardisation materials with my team, what’s next?

Before you start delivery, just like on any other qualification you need to plan assessment and verification.  However, on the New NQF qualification the assessment plan takes on more importance, because it is the first thing that your standards verifier will ask you for.  Not only does this need to be in place at the start of the year, but it also needs to be as accurate and realistic as possible.  As a Standards Verifier when I receive your assessment plan I can clearly see which units are being assessed and verified, when it is taking place and also who is doing it.  I will then base sampling around your assessment plan, so be realistic about the dates that you put forward on your assessment plan.  Nothing rings alarm bells more than a centre that don’t meet any of their proposed dates and are constantly making up excuses for the fact!

What about assignments, they have changed haven’t they?

Yes, they have changed and you need to be prepared for the changes, but to be fair Edexcel have tried to help with this matter.  Firstly, they have provided an assignment checking service, which I recommended all of my centres to send their assignment briefs to.  The service reviews your assignment briefs and provides detailed feedback which clearly informs you of what is missing or what needs to be amended on each brief, access it here.

Secondly, they have written authorised assignment briefs for most units and in some cases (Unit 2: Practical Sports Performance) they have written assignment briefs for the whole unit.  I recommended that all of my centres who were delivering Unit 2, to use the authorised assignment briefs in the first year of the programme.  The briefs can be used as they are or they can be adapted to place them in a relevant local content for learners.  You will have to add the relevant information that is not included; assessor details, internal verifier details, issue and submission dates.  But one thing that you should remember is that if you use an authorised brief, it needs to be internally verified whether you change it or not.

Remember: You need to include an interim submission date, when learners will be provided with formative feedback and a final submission date, when learners will be provided with summative feedback.

If I am going to write my own assignments, what do I need to consider?

When designing assignments and assignment tasks you should consider the following points:

a)     Try to work backwards from Distinction and then forwards from Level 2 Pass to think about what tasks and evidence would work

b)     Provide a scenario or context that links to those tasks – don’t forget to link the two together

c)     Tasks should be contextualised to the context which is set within the scenario for the assessment – the assessor should make it clear to the learners why they would be required to develop the evidence including the context requirements within the role/context set within the scenario

d)     The assessment criteria can’t be used as tasks, so think about using more general language to start a task

e)     You are not allowed to use the active verbs (describe, explain, evaluate).  So instead you should use a command verb which could overarch criteria which target pass and merit.

f)      Find a balance in giving guidance – not a blow by blow list and not a vague direction

g)     Be very specific about the evidence – if there is observation make it clear how and when this would happen

When you are designing assignment briefs, look at some of the authorised assignment briefs to give you some ideas.   The authorised briefs will give you some examples of relevant and appropriate scenarios and ways to phrase tasks without using the active verbs or the assessment criteria.

Remember: When you feel that the assignment brief is complete send it to the assignment checking service and pass the burden of checking the assignment is fit for purpose on to them, rather than straight onto your own internal verifier!  Keep the feedback that you get from the checking service as your Standards Verifier may ask for the evidence.

You should also send your assignment briefs to your Standards Verifier, who will provide you with feedback and inform you whether the briefs are fit for purpose or not.

Remember: Do not give assignment briefs that have not been checked to learners.  The last thing that you want is for learners to complete work which is not appropriate for the targeted assessment criteria.  Your learners could waste weeks producing the wrong work and then weeks making it right!