How are T-Levels Assessed?

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As a very new qualification, many students can be very confused by T-Levels. One of the most common questions is how T-Levels are assessed. It can be hard to find out information about them when they have still not been taken by many students. Many students do not know anyone who has taken T-Levels. The information online can be hard to understand, especially when trying to find how they are graded. However, this article will help you to know exactly how T-Levels are assessed, as well as answer your other questions about T-Levels.

Similar to A-Levels, the grade you gain from a T-Level is based on your work in school. This makes up 80% of the T-Level and comprises a core component and an occupational specialism. You get a grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction, or Distinction* overall. You get separate grades in each component. They are assessed based on coursework, exams, and other similar methods, varying slightly based on the course you are taking. A T-Level grade carries a certain number of UCAS points, equivalent to 3 grades at A-Level. This increases as the grade increases up to A*A*A* equivalent.

 While this may have given you a surface-level answer to your question, please read the full article for more details on T-Levels and their grading system.

How Do T-levels Work?

T-Levels are a new qualification created by the UK government in association with industry and businesses across the country, intended to cultivate the key skills needed in the workforce. They specialise in a certain topic, and then within that topic specialise again into an industry specialism.

For example, you may take a T-Level in Education and Childcare, then specialise in Early Years education. This specialisation means that your career progression is more applied to the type of work you would like after finishing your T-Level, giving your career-specific skills. This is part of what makes the T-Level so valuable to employers.

More information on T-Level specialisms can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeships website, here.

To gain a T-Level, you are also required to complete an industry placement, where you spend 45 days in a workplace-related to your industry. This is what sets T-Levels apart from other qualifications, as you learn key skills and gain on the job experience.

This may all sound very similar to an apprenticeship, however, there are some key differences. Apprenticeships are for students who want to proceed directly into paid employment and learn at a college only 20% of their time. However, T-Levels are more academic, with 80% of time spent in the school or college where they are taking their qualification, and 20% in an unpaid work placement.

T-Levels may have a grade requirement at GCSE to get on to the course. You are also required within the course to gain level 2 maths and English certificates if you do not already have this. If you find you cannot meet the entry requirements, there is a course called a foundation T-Level, which prepares you for the study required in T-Levels, while making it possible for you to then enter a T-Level course. For more information on this, as well as on course requirements, please contact your school or college.

How are T-Levels Graded?

There are multiple parts to any T-Level qualification, the core component, the industry placement, and a few other requirements. Only the core and industry specialism (a part of the core) are graded as a specific part of the T-Level, while the others are simply requirements to gain the certificate and do not contribute to overall grades.

The graded core components are marked based on a set of common criteria for the subject, in a similar way to GCSEs, and then graded based on a scores-based algorithm. This score is weighted in relation to the size of the core (20-50%) compared to the occupational specialism (50-80%).

The grades for the core are given in A*-E, similarly to A-Levels, while the occupational specialism is graded as pass, merit, or distinction, similarly to BTECs. These grades are then combined to give an overall grade, which is then displayed on the certificate along with the separate grades. They are combined into a grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction, or Distinction* (which can be achieved with a distinction, and an A* respectively).

The grading for these elements is done based on a combination of coursework, exams and other similar requirements, just as other qualifications are. The exact methods will depend on what course you choose, so ask your school if you need more information on how your course will be assessed.

The certificate will also state that the industry placement requirement has been met and that the certificate holder has achieved Level 2 maths and English qualifications. These make the qualification holder attractive as a well-rounded candidate for employers, but also impressive to universities.

If you do not complete the full T-Level, you will get a certificate displaying the parts and grades that you did complete, so that you can prove you have worked on it. This could include a partial grade for core, an industry placement, or your level 2 maths and English qualification.

What is a T-Level Equivalent to?

T-Levels are a form of Further Education. This level is also known as tertiary education and is undertaken by 16+ students, usually after their GCSE exams at a Sixth Form, or college. They can be a path to employment, or university, depending on what you choose to do. They can also be taken later in life, although this may incur costs unlike taking them at 16.

If you choose to take a T-Level, you can take one at once, and within it choose an industry specialism as explained above. This is different to other qualifications at the same level, where you may take multiple, or not do as much work in a school setting.

T-Levels are equivalent to other Further Education courses. These most commonly include A-Levels, BTECs, and 16+/school leaver apprenticeships, but also other options. The grade given will have just as much value as any of these courses to universities and employers, and the UCAS tariff gained from each grade is shown below.

T-Levels are high-level qualifications that are academically rigorous, but also involve practical experience. For this reason, any qualification of the same level holds just as much weight as the T-Level, even though you only gain one T-Level in (approximately) 2 years of work at a 6th form.

How Many UCAS Points is a T-Level Worth?

T-Levels are assessed in the same way as A-Levels, but the grading system and final grades given are different. However, as you can see from the table below, they are worth just as many UCAS points as A-Levels if you get high grades.

UCAS Tariff points T-Level overall grade A-Level equivalent grades
168 Distinction* (A* core, distinction in occupation specialism) A*A*A*
144 Distinction AAA
120 Merit BBB
96 Pass (C or above core) CCC
72 Pass (D or E core) DDD

The final grade, as explained above, is based on a combination of the scores you gain in the core, and the subject specialism. Other requirements such as passing level 2 maths and English, along with completing a 45-day industry placement, are also displayed on the certificate.

For example, the core is graded A*-E, and the specialism is graded Pass, Merit, Distinction. If you gain a distinction in your subject specialism and a B in the core, you will overall have a Distinction, and therefore gain approximately 144 UCAS points, equivalent to 3 A grades at A-Level. It is easy to see how this is attractive to universities, especially with the independence proved by an industry placement.

Are T-Levels Higher Education?

Higher education is undertaken after further education, usually at the age of 18. T-Levels are not higher education but can be taken as a pathway into higher education. It involves study at a university, often at undergraduate degree level, but also higher such as Doctorate or master’s degrees.

Higher education helps students to learn new things about a subject they are passionate about, and a T-Level is a great way to work towards this, as it is already specialising in a subject which can help you be prepared when you get to university. However, unlike T-Levels, it does cost money and often has strict entry requirements such as a certain number of UCAS points being gained for you to get in and to study.

Higher education is a good option for students who aren’t yet sure what job they want in life or want to study a subject in greater depth. However, the option of degree-apprenticeships and other pathways are also available to students after finishing T-Levels, so be sure to check out all your options after finishing T-Levels so you can be sure the place you are going is right for you.

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