Ofqual publish consultation on proposed new rules for KS4

Ofqual’s publication of the consultation is intended to strengthen the regulation of Technical Awards listed in KS4 performance tables

The proposals are intended to enhance the qualifications’ validity and better align Ofqual’s regulation with the Department for Education’s (DfE) performance table requirements.

Qualifications used for accountability purposes, through their use in performance tables, bear significant pressure and Ofqual’s recent research has identified issues that could have an impact on standards. Ofqual’s proposals aim to address these issues and strengthen our approach to regulating these qualifications, while still allowing for appropriate differences in their design and delivery.

The proposed rules will cover:

  • Qualification purpose
  • Qualification design
  • Assessment design and delivery
  • Grading
  • Standard setting

Sally Collier, chief regulator, said:

“These proposals demonstrate our commitment to regulate vocational and technical qualifications with the same seriousness and focus as we do general qualifications. We have worked closely with the Department for Education to strengthen our regulation in respect of these important performance table qualifications, while ensuring an appropriate degree of flexibility in their design.

“As a result, users of these qualifications can continue to be assured that they are a reliable and valid assessment of the knowledge and skills acquired by students.”

Key dates

  • A submission window will open in 2020 for awarding organisations to put forward qualifications for review.
  • This will be for qualifications delivered in schools and colleges from September 2021 and awarded in summer 2023. DfE has confirmed that it intends to lift the current moratorium on adding new qualifications to the Key Stage 4 performance tables from 2023, subject to the outcome of Ofqual’s consultation.
  • Submissions will be reviewed by Ofqual and the DfE against respective requirements – the proposed new rules (Ofqual) and Technical Guidance for Key Stage 4 Performance Table qualifications (DfE).
  • Ofqual will provide advice to the DfE on the validity of each qualification submitted.
  • DfE will make a final decision about which of the qualifications submitted will be listed in the 2023 Key Stage 4 performance tables.
  • Qualifications accepted for inclusion in the performance tables will then be regulated by Ofqual on an ongoing basis against the Qualification Level Conditions proposed in this consultation.
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The consultation is open until Monday 2 December 2019.

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