External Assessment in NQF Level 1/Level 2 BTEC Sport

Why has an exam been included in the New BTEC First qualifications?

The new BTEC First qualifications have been designed in line with policy developments and the proposals recommended by the Wolf Report, which reviewed Vocational education.  The report recommended that all high-value vocational qualifications should contain an element of external assessment.  The external assessment for Sport is not an exam, in the traditional sense; it is an onscreen test that is completed online under controlled examination conditions.   The onscreen test is available ‘on demand’, which provides flexibility for your centre in relation to completing the assessment.  Your Exams Officer can make your external assessment booking via Edexcel Online.

When should my learners sit the external assessment?

As it is a Level 2 assessment, it is recommended that Year 9 learners do not sit the test, unless you are confident that they are ready to take the test.  You should consider the appropriate time to enter your learners for the assessment, with due regard for re-sit opportunities if you think that they may be necessary.  Once the onscreen tests are available , you will be able to run the tests when you choose to.  The first test booking is included in the cost of the registration, but resits will be charged at £13.85 per unit, per learner. Your learners will not be able to re-sit the test until they have received a result from their previous attempt.

What is an onscreen test?

Students will complete the online test on a computer, so it is important that the required number of computers are available for when your learners are going to sit the test.  The test will consist of multiple choice questions, short answers and matching exercises.  There are also questions that will provide opportunities for students to develop distinction-level answers.  The tests are very interactive and use videos, animation and provide stimulus material which will hopefully engage learners.  See example questions from last years test below.

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What is the best way to deliver externally assessed units?

It is vitally important that your learners are thoroughly prepared for the externally assessed unit.  You must ensure that your learners have covered the entire range of content, as questions will relate to the content from each learning aim.  It is also important that your learners have experience of the practical elements as the emphasis of the assessment is on learners’ application of their knowledge to a variety of practical sports-related situations.  The gaps in learner’s knowledge which were highlighted in the Lead Examiners report were related mainly to the application of the practical elements of the content.

What does the Lead Examiners report say?

The Lead Examiners report for last year’s test, highlighted examples of gaps in learner’s knowledge in relation to certain elements of the unit content.  Learner’s knowledge of the FITT principles and the additional principles of training were identified as topics that learners did not have a thorough understanding of and this detrimentally affected the points that they achieved for related questions.  Another topic which learners did not demonstrate a thorough understanding of was fitness tests.  You need to ensure that your learners actively take part in the administration and delivery of fitness tests and realistically they should participate in the fitness tests, to improve their understanding of the tests. The Lead Examiners report is available from the following link.

How do I prepare my learners for the online test?

Your first port of call should be the Sample Assessment Materials (SAM), which will help you and your learners understand the nature of the external assessment.  The SAM’s can be accessed at the following link. The materials also include the mark scheme, so that you can provide learners with guidance in relation to how to answer questions.  As with any exam, you need to ensure that your learners are exam ready, through providing them with exam technique and strategy training. Another issue that was highlighted in the Lead Examiners report was the minimal response from learners to open response questions.  It is important that you emphasise the importance of the stimulus materials provided within the questions, to your learners.  Learners should not only read the stimulus materials carefully, but they should also use the information within their answers to questions.  If learners do not use the stimulus materials in this way then it will restrict the number of marks that they can access.  To be able to provide stronger responses to extended response questions learners are required to not just provide theory, but also apply it.  To enable learners do this they need to be provided with opportunities to practice these types of questions, when preparing for the assessment.

How is the external assessment graded?

The same grades will be awarded as internally assessed units: Level 2 – Pass, Merit, Distinction, Level 1 and Unclassified.  The grade boundaries for the first onscreen test, which has now been retired, were:

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As each test will be different and may focus on different elements of the unit content, the grade boundaries will differ between tests.  However, the grade boundaries above will give you and your learners a general idea of the points required at each level.