Getting ready for BTEC First External Assessment

When considering how to deliver Unit 1 Fitness for Sport & Exercise for NQF BTEC Level 1/2 in Sport it is important that the centre ensures that before entry for the assessment,that all of the learners are exam ready.

The online external assessment has proven to be difficult and a number of centres have fallen foul to early entry of learners onto the assessment, which has resulted in large numbers of learners completing the assessment and not achieving any of the grades available.

All Externally assessed units in this qualification (Unit 1 & Unit 7) have the same grades as internally assessed units:

● Level 2 – Pass, Merit, Distinction
● Level 1
● Unclassified

The assessment will take 1 hour and consists of only 18 questions. Unless a learner has a specific learning need, the assessment is completed onscreen. There is no need for speakers, although the centre will need to ensure that the workstations that the assessment will be completed upon meet the required specification. For more information on this please follow this link

The questions look to be weighted and towards the latter part of the assessment they look to get more difficult. A number of the questions require expansion (more than one word answers) and one of the questions is weighted to award 8 marks. For this response, the learner is required to provide a detailed balanced response to the question. In order to understand what is required at each of the different levels (grades), the centre assessor should familiarise themselves with the grade descriptors. These can be found in the qualification specification under the title of ‘Grade descriptors for internal and external units’.

Prior to entering the learner for the assessment and preparing them for the questions that they are likely to face, the centre should ensure that they map out a clear and structured delivery plan. The delivery plan should cover all of the unit content. As there is no assessment criteria provided in the specification for this particular unit the centre tutors should look at the Sample Assessment Materials (SAMs) and past papers to look at how elements of each learning aim have been previously assessed and use these questions to assess learners understanding of each part of the content.

As the qualification is still in its infancy, there may be parts of the content that to date have not been assessed. In these instances, the centre tutors should consider developing questions in a similar format and use these questions to assess the learners.

Initially after each part of delivery, I would suggest that the assessor uses the questions not to inform the learners of how they are going to be assessed, but to simply assess understanding. The use of questions will start to prepare the learners for what they might see when they sit the external assessment. The use of the actual questions or questions that have been developed in a similar format will also start to develop the learner’s skills of reading the questions and understanding the requirements of the command verbs and the format of each question.

When planning the delivery I would strongly suggest that the centre tutors break the delivery down into three components. These components should be based upon each of the learning aims (A, B & C). I would suggest that small cluster assessments (more than one question) are given to the learner at the end of the delivery of each topic and then a final mock assessment is provided to the learners at the end of each learning aim. The mock assessment can be carried out in external assessment conditions, although the learners are highly unlikely to fully replicate the environment that the actual assessment will be carried in because the past papers and Sample Assessment Materials are not available in an online environment. The materials are only available as hard copies (PDF).

Past papers & mark schemes are available using the following link.

The sample assessment materials for unit 1 can be found using the following link.

Delivery of the content can continue to be flexible and the centre has the option of how to deliver each component of the unit. This can and should include both practical and classroom based sessions. The focus of delivery must be on retention of the theoretical input, as it is highly likely that the content covered from the specification may be covered in the external assessment that the learners will be completing.

Through the completion of these sub tasks, the learners should develop a further understanding for the demands of the external assessment. It is important at this stage that the assessor also takes some time to further develop the skills for the learners to understand how to answer the questions that require the extended responses.

It is difficult to predict the exact number of marks (the total number of marks for the entire paper is 50) required to achieve a distinction grade, merit grade, level 2 pass, and level 1 pass. However, on the mark schemes of the papers it shows the previous mark ranges. However, at present due to the infancy of the qualification it is still difficult to predict the exact grade ranges.

At the point when delivery for the entire unit is close to completion the assessor should liaise with the examination officer/quality nominee to ensure that all learners are registered to complete the online assessment. The external assessment for this unit is an on demand assessment. The centre is therefore responsible for registering the learners to complete the assessment at a date and time that is convenient for them.

When considering the date that your learners will complete the external assessment you should consider a time that is suitable for the learners but one that will also enable the learner’s time to complete a re-sit. The first test booking is included in the cost of registration, but re-sits will be charged (approximately £14) per unit, per learner. Learners are unable to re-sit a test until they have received a result from their previous attempt.

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