Pearson, the exams board, abruptly halted the release of results for BTEC qualifications the night before they were due to be released. The decision, announced late yesterday evening, has caused further confusion for the estimated 450,000 UK students taking BTECs at all levels. 

Pearson has now announced its intention to regrade all BTEC entries in line with GCSE and A-level results, which were awarded based on teacher predictions earlier this week.

It is unclear from Pearson’s public communications how this remarking will occur. Twitter reports that only “some BTec [sic] grades are delayed”, while the Association of Colleges’ chief executive, David Hughes, has said that only “a small number of results which had seemed unfair” will be under review, as reported by the BBC.

Yet according to FEWeekall BTEC grades will be pulled for now, including BTEC Nationals released to sixth-formers last week. This comes as just 2% of BTEC results are revealed to have been modified and that most of those modifications – 1.5% of them – were up not down.

The confusion continues as, in a letter addressed to schools, Pearson’s Vice-President says that the review “will remove these calculated grades and apply consistency across teacher assessed internal grades and examined grades that students were unable to sit.”

However, a Department of Education spokesperson said that “no students will see their result downgraded as a result of the review, so results already issued will either stay the same or improve”.

In a statement, the DoE suggests that the method behind deciding BTEC results will not simply be brought in line with that for other qualifications. Those grades previously modified upwards will remain the same, to avoid disappointment for 1.5% of students.

The overall results therefore seem set for an unprecedented boost. Pearson’s vice-oresident’s letter says that while “BTEC qualification results have been generally consistent with teacher and learner expectations” the exam board “have become concerned about unfairness in relation to what are now significantly higher outcomes for GCSE and A Levels.” GCSE and A-level pass rates this year were at record level. We must now expect the same for BTECs.

 The announcement has caused confusion not least for sixth formers who received their BTEC National results last week. It is unclear how these students are expected to interpret their results, or communicate them to prospective employers and universities, now that they have been temporarily invalidated. Neither has Pearson yet offered a date for the re-issue of results, even though only 0.5% of them will have changed.

Before the introduction of T-levels next month, the BTEC remains the most popular brand of vocational and technical qualification in the UK. BTEC Nationals are equivalent to A-levels, while a range of awards such as BTEC Firsts, BTEC Tech Awards and BTEC Level 2 Technicals are offered to GCSE-level students, offering different blends of vocational theory and work experience.