We’ve recently seen announced two new BTEC Level 2 ICT qualifications that will start first teaching in September 2017.
Given the new BTEC First in Information & Creative Technology has only been taught for a few years now, this might cause some concern over having to change qualification again. However, the BTEC First registration date has been extended until 2019, which means this offers a lot of flexibility for teachers.
So what do these new qualifications offer us? Should we switch right away, or wait until we need to switch? To help you, I’ve summarised some of the key information on these new qualifications.
BTEC Tech Award in Information Technology
This qualification is simultaneously assessed at level 1 & level 2 and only has a single option worth 1 GCSE (120 GLH).
The first registration and first teaching date for the course is September 2017 and first assessment date is Spring 2019 (so don’t start teaching it September 2017 if you want to deliver it in 1 year).
The BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Award Units
The qualification is broken down into three units, one of which is assessed externally via a traditional written exam, and the other two internally. All units must be passed at at least level 1. These units are:
- Exploring Uses of Information Technology
- Developing a Spreadsheet Solution to Model Data
- Creating an Interactive Product
Externally Assessed BTEC Units
Component 1: Exploring Uses of IT is the externally examined unit from the qualification. The exam can be taken February & May/June of each year from 2019 onwards and will be worth 40% of the students overall grade in the qualification.
The external assessment will come in the form of a short answer written exam paper. Their will be a total of 60 marks available and students will be given 75 minutes to complete the exam.
Students can achieve a Pass, Merit or Distinction grade at either Level 1 & Level 2 from this test.
Of course KnowItAll Ninja will provide a revision course for this unit to help your students prepare and get the best mark possible in their BTEC Tech Awards in IT qualification.
Internally Assessed BTEC Units
Component 2: Develop a Spreadsheet Solution to Model Data and Component 3: Creating an Interactive Product are both assessed through traditional BTEC internally assessed coursework.
Students can achieve a Pass or Merit grade at Level 1 or a Pass, Merit or Distinction grade at Level 2.
BTEC Level 2 Technicals in Digital Technology
This is a much larger suite of BTEC Level 2 ICT qualifications. The qualification offers three pathways to students:
- Data Management
- Digital Applications
- Networking & Cybersecurity
Unlike the BTEC Level 2 Tech Awards, these qualifications are focused more closely on work-based skills. The goal of the qualification is to prepare students for apprenticeships rather than a route to level 3 study (though this can lead to further BTEC Level 3 studies).
They’re also designed only for post-16 students and all versions of this qualification are equivalent to 3 GCSE’s (360 GLH).
The BTEC Level 2 Technicals Units
Unlike most previous BTEC qualifications of this size, there are no optional units. Every unit is mandatory. There are six units to each pathway, four of which are common to all three pathways (a little strange given how different in topic each path is).
The four common units are:
- Set Up and Configure Technology Systems
- Current and Emerging Technologies
- Security Protection and Risk Management
- IT Service Solutions
As mentioned, the final 2 units depend on your pathway. So, Pathway 1 will see units on Database Tools & Techniques and Organisational Data Systems. Pathway 2 will see units on Digital Application Development and Organisational Uses for Digital Media Systems. Finally, Pathway 3 will see see units on Network Technologies & Applications and Installing & Maintaining Networks.
Most units will be assessed through the traditional BTEC internally assessed assignment. However, Unit 3: Security Protection and Risk Management will be assessed through an external on-screen test. Also, Unit 5: IT Service Solutions will be assessed through an externally assessed task.
The External Assessments
Both external assessments can be taken as early as January 2018 and students will be allowed one resit. The onscreen test is available on-demand, while the task will have four opportunities in the year on a quarterly basis.
The on-screen test will consist of a mixture of multiple-choice and short answer questions (the same as the current BTEC First I&CT qualification). The exam will have 60 marks and students will have 75 minutes to complete it.
The externally assessed task is a practical activity completed in controlled conditions. The task will have 45 marks and students will have 3.5 hours to complete it in.
Again, KnowItAll Ninja will provide a revision course for this unit to help your students prepare and get the best mark possible in their BTEC Level 2 Technicals in Digital Technology qualification.
So Which Qualification to Choose?
Well, obviously you don’t need to right now. The older BTEC First in Information & Creative Technology will be running for at least a couple more years.
However, planning for the future, if your a school then you will be moving towards the BTEC Tech Award in Information Technology. If you currently deliver a 2 GCSE version this will be a problem as there is no 2 GCSE version. You’ll need to hope for a replacement for the traditional BTEC First I&CT.
College’s will likely deliver the BTEC Technicals in Digital Technology. This is due to it being the 3 GCSE option. Again, whether this will be a replacement for the old BTEC First ICT or an alternative, is unclear. Certainly it is a very different course indeed.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out on KnowItAll Ninja if you’re planning to deliver any of these courses. I’ll be developing them for the externally assessed unit and you’ll have presentations, videos & quizzes to help your students succeed.