Updates to the T level action plan

The Department for Education has updated its T Level action plan in readiness for its implementation

The Department for Education has laid out how it is planning to reform technical education and develop the T level qualifications for post-16 students.

The latest T level action plan policy update gives information on aspects of T level policy since the plan was published in 2018. It covers the T level grading and certification and confirmation of the UCAS tariff for T levels.

T level grading

Students who pass all elements of their T level will receive an overall grade of pass, merit, distinction or distinction*. They will get a nationally recognised ‘T level certificate’ which will show their overall grade and a breakdown of what they have achieved.

The certificate will include:

  • An overall grade for the T level, shown as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*
  • A separate grade for the core component, using A* to E.
  • A separate grade for each occupational specialism studied, shown as pass, merit or distinction.
  • Confirmation that the minimum requirements for maths and English qualifications have been met.
  • Confirmation that the industry placement has been successfully completed.
  • Confirmation that any additional mandatory requirements have been met.

A student’s overall T level grade will be worked out from the grades they achieved on the core component and the occupational specialism(s). If students study more than one occupational specialism, an aggregate across those grades will be used. An overall T level distinction* grade recognises the achievement of the highest attaining students.

A T level distinction* grade will only be awarded to students who, as well as meeting the other T level requirements, have achieved an A* in the core and a distinction in their occupational specialism (or distinction on aggregate if more than one occupational specialism is studied). Students who do not pass all elements of their T level will receive a T level ‘Statement of Achievement’; this will show the elements of the T level that the student has completed, but will not include an overall T level grade.

UCAS tarriff

To support progression into higher education, UCAS tariff points will be allocated to T levels. Points will be allocated to overall T level grades, not to the separate elements; this is to recognise the value of the T level programme as a whole. Students must achieve at least an overall pass grade or higher in order to receive UCAS points.

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UCAS points will not be allocated where a student receives a Statement of Achievement, although a student may subsequently retake T level components and meet all the requirements for a pass. The size and rigour of a T level programme is comparable to a three A level programme; therefore, T levels will attract UCAS points in line with those allocated to three A levels.

This alignment is based on a notional comparison of standards with A levels and other level 3 qualifications. Although the T level programme is broadly the same size as a three A level programme, the qualifications have different purposes. The T level programme is intended to help students develop the knowledge and technical skills required for skilled employment; T levels and A levels, therefore, measure different abilities, using different grading scales.

A T level pass grade will be allocated a tariff score of either 72 or 96 points; this is to recognise differences in performance on the core component. These are:

  • Where a student has obtained an overall pass by achieving apPass in the occupational specialism, and a B or C in the core – a tariff of 96 UCAS points (aligned to three Cs at A level) is representative of their level of achievement.
  • Where a student has obtained an overall pass by achieving a pass in the occupational specialism, and a D or E in the core – a tariff of 72 UCAS points (aligned to three Ds at A level) is representative of their level of achievement.

The tariff points allocated to overall merit and distinction T level grades represent even increments between the points allocated to an overall pass (with a C or above in the core component) and distinction* grade

This action plan gives an update on government’s progress in reforming technical education as set out in the Post-16 skills plan. Further information about T Levels is available here.

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