The graphs below show the grade distributions of level 1, level 1/2 and level 2 Vocational and Technical Performance Table Qualifications (PTQs).
The PTQ types included here are:
- Technical Awards
- Technical Certificates
To use this interactive visualisation, please make selections via the dropdown boxes. The options presented within each dropdown are dependent upon selections made in the other boxes. For example, if you select 'Technical Awards' in the PTQ type, then only grading structures with results issued for Technical Awards will be shown in the grading structure dropdown.
The time period option allows users to select between qualification grades awarded between 1 March and 31 August in each year (including provisional results) and qualification grades awarded in the academic year (including updated results where applicable). This means that the picture of results might look different at different points in the year. Please note that the whole academic year data is not collected until the autumn and will be included when available.
All data prior to the academic year 2021 to 2022 was collected retrospectively and therefore caution must be used when interpreting these figures.
Comparisons across different qualification types may not be meaningful, as they may have very different purposes, qualification/assessment structures, and different cohorts of learners.
As the regulator of qualifications in England, we are using this visualisation to provide an overall picture of results being issued, as opposed to specific qualification detail.
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For data from previous years, please select a single sector subject area
Number of grades issued across all available grading structures
1. What does this visualisation show?
The visualisation shows the cumulative or non-cumulative grade distributions for level 1, level 1/ 2, level 2 vocational and technical qualifications included in the Department for Education’s (DfE) performance tables (VTQ PTQs – specifically Technical Certificates and Technical Awards). Different qualifications use different grading structures (eg Pass Merit Distinction or A-E), so we report the results according to the grading structures used for different qualifications. You are also able to filter the visualisation to select a specific qualification level, PTQ type and guided learning hour combination. The data shown in each tab is as follows:
- Tab 1: Displays a graph showing the overall percentage of grades issued for each grade in the grading structure, for the qualification level, PTQ type and guided learning hours selected, for all years available
- Tab 2: Displays a series of bar graphs. If you select ‘All sector subject areas’ in sector subject area dropdown, the graph panels show the percentage of grades issued for each grade in the current year for all the available sector subject areas in the grading structure, qualification level, PTQ type and guided learning hours selected. If you select a specific sector subject area, the graph shows the percentage of grades issued for each grade in all available years for the sector subject area, grading structure, qualification level, PTQ type and guided learning hours selected.
- Tab 3: Displays a table showing the overall number of grades issued per grading structure and year for the dropdown combination selected.
Graphs are only plotted for breakdowns relating to 5 or more qualifications and 500 or more total results in the current year as we would normally expect less stability in grade distributions over time for smaller groups. If you select dropdown combinations which do not meet this threshold, the graph is not plotted, and the following message is presented: ‘Graph not plotted due to too few learners and/or qualifications’.
2. What time period is covered by this visualisation?
The visualisation allows users to select between the following time periods:
- 1 March to 31 August
- Academic year
The 1 March to 31 August option reports only on qualification grades being awarded between 1 March and 31 August in each year (including provisional results).
The academic year option allows users to explore the data from the whole academic year, including updated results where applicable. Please note that because the academic year data is not collected until later in the year, the latest academic year results information will not be updated until after the summer. This means that the picture of results might look different at different points in the year.
3. Where does this data come from and what are the limitations of the data?
The 1 March to 31 August data from 2022 onwards is supplied to Ofqual by awarding organisations approximately one week prior to results day. At the point in time that Ofqual receives the data, all grades may not have been fully processed.
Additionally, the data does not reflect changes to grades that may occur after results are awarded.
The academic year data from 2021 to 2022 onwards is supplied to Ofqual by awarding organisations later in the year and will be made available as soon as possible. As the data is collected later in the year, where applicable grades may have been updated to reflect changes to grades that occurred after results are awarded.
All data prior to the academic year 2021 to 2022 was supplied to Ofqual by awarding organisations retrospectively and therefore caution must be used when interpreting these figures.
4. What results are included in the visualisation?
This visualisation reports on PTQ grades awarded for the time period selected. For more information on the data used for each time period option please see question 2.
Cases where a learner has failed, was absent, or their grade is pending, are excluded from the visualisation.
5. What is the difference between the display of cumulative and non-cumulative percentages?
Non-cumulative percentages for each grade show the actual percentage of learners achieving a particular grade (eg achieving a Pass grade).
Cumulative percentages are the percentage of students achieving that grade and all the grades above it (eg grade Pass and above for qualifications which use a Pass/Merit/Distinction/Distinction* grading scale would include grades Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction*).
In the visualisation, percentages are calculated from certificating grades only and do not include fail, absent or pending grades.
6. What is in the information above the interactive graphs?
This is information on the total number of grades issued and the total number of qualifications with grades issued for the dropdown combination selected. The median age of learners taking that selection of qualifications is also shown. Figures stating the number of grades issued are rounded to the nearest 5 and values between 1 to 499 are shown as ‘fewer than 500’. Figures stating the number of qualifications available are not rounded to the nearest 5, however values between 1 to 4 are shown as ‘fewer than 5’. In both instances, 0 represents zero values.
7. How were grades awarded in 2021 and summer 2020?
In summer 2020 and 2021, many assessments were adapted, delayed, or replaced by Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) in summer 2020 or teacher assessed grades (TAGs) in 2021, as part of the measures put in place in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. CAGs and TAGs at assessment level from 2020 and 2021 might have been carried forward and be used when determining 2022 grades. For more information on how grades were awarded in these years please see Ofqual’s publications relating to the awarding of vocational, technical and other general qualifications in the academic years 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021.
8. How were grades awarded in 2022 to 2023?
In 2021 to 2022, Ofqual allowed awarding organisations to adapt their assessments, so that students studying vocational and technical qualifications could get the support they needed as we emerged from the pandemic. These adaptations were designed to free up time to recover lost teaching and learning. Many vocational and technical qualifications allow students to take assessments throughout their course, so results from assessments taken in earlier years may have been used when determining 2023 grades.
Awarding organisations expected broadly the same quality of work at each grade as they did before the pandemic. However, where possible, senior examiners monitored for any evidence of disruption and considered it when setting grade boundaries. Awarding organisations have been taking this approach since assessments restarted after the pandemic. This means that students should not be advantaged or disadvantaged if they took assessments early in their course, or at the end.
The range of qualifications available to students has changed since before the pandemic, and the impact of the pandemic itself means that students may be making different decisions about the qualifications they take. This means that outcomes may look different from 2019, even though the approach to grading was similar.
9. What does the ‘PTQ type’ dropdown refer to in this visualisation?
PTQ type in this visualisation refers to the type of performance table qualification and is taken from DfE performance tables. Specifically, the types include:
- Technical Awards
- Technical Certificates
Other qualifications recognised for use in DfE performance tables are not included in this visualisation.
10. What does the ‘guided learning hours’ dropdown refer to in this visualisation?
Guided learning is when a member of staff is present to give specific guidance to learners that contribute towards the qualification aim being studied. ‘Guided learning hours’ in this visualisation refers to the total number of hours of guided learning that a student receives. As such, it gives an indication of the size of a qualification. PTQs have a range of guided learning hours, for the purpose of this visualisation they are split into 3 categories, which are:
- up to 180
- 181 to 599
- 600 and above
Providing a more detailed breakdown would likely lead to a smaller number of learners and qualifications in each group, and less data being able to be plotted if the learner and qualification thresholds are not met.
11. What does the ‘qualification level’ dropdown refer to in this visualisation?
All regulated qualifications are assigned a level from entry level through to level 8 broadly indicating the relative difficulty of the qualification. Awarding organisations assign a level to regulated qualifications with reference to Ofqual’s published level descriptors. Qualifications at the same level may cover different amounts of the same subject and take different lengths of time to study. This visualisation presents data on level 1, level 1/ 2 and level 2 PTQs. For data on level 3 PTQs please see our Level 3 PTQ Outcomes visualisation.
12. What does the ‘sector subject area’ dropdown refer to in the visualisation?
Sector subject area is a classification of qualifications into broad business sectors or subject areas maintained by Ofqual. The sector subject area for each qualification is self-selected by the awarding organisation.
13. What does the ‘download qualifications’ button do?
The ‘download qualifications’ button allows the user to download a list of the qualifications which are included in the graph presented, and based on the filters selected. Qualification lists are not presented if there are fewer than 5 qualifications included.
14. How have the data been rounded, and confidentiality maintained?
To ensure confidentiality of the data, all figures for the number of grades have been rounded to the nearest 5.
In the pop-up box which is displayed when you hover over a bar on the graphs, the number of grades has been rounded to the nearest 5. If the value is less than 5 (1 to 4), it is represented as ‘fewer than 5’, and 0 represents zero values. The total number of grades issued has been calculated using unrounded figures. As a result, the sum of rounded figures may slightly differ from the total reported.
For any feedback on these graphs or tables, please contact [email protected].
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