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Amanda Redman - AoC Events Team
Welcome to the QAA – Arrangements for Access to HE assessments 2021 webinar.Please post any comments/questions you have in the chat, thank you.
You may email the Access to HE team on email@example.com if you have any queries following this session.
Could a clarification be made please - I thought there was a ERF Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework with the CAGs for lockdown 1 and EERF - Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework introduced following the consultation in Oct 2020 ....
sorry ERF extraordinary regulatory framewrok
Why is there no parity or equal opportunities for Adults on Access Courses compared with their A-Level and BTEC peers who have the opportunities for reduced assessment of units and is affecting the most socio economically deprived learners - many of which in our inner city Birmingham College are from BAME backgrounds?
How can you reduce the number of assessment? If still delivering all of the criteria?
I agree unit reduction should be considered
We are not teaching new A2 content after April 1st - how can this be fair to access students to whom I will be teaching new content into May ?
My AVA have been fantastic but they cannot address the disparity between adult learners and 16-19 years working to access the next level of study. Most adult learners have been home schooling, studying for their own qual and are working on the front line and as key workers. Most 16-19 year olds don't have those responsibilities and are getting teacher assessed grades. Just because we can and have adapted our quals doesn't mean it is fair. My students feel they are being treated differently because they're adults.
Agree with Michelle
Thanks for all the questions. We will run through them all at the end. Keep them coming.
Please can you explain how we can reduce the number of units
Biggest hurdle is the insistence on achieving the same number of credits
Agreed Barbara :(
Me too Barbara
LIke many others have said, the regulations are creating a real divide between those adults with the means and environment to continue learning and those without where laerning has basically had to stop during the lockdowns while they prioritise the other elements of their life, home schooling, access to technology etc.
Agreed Simon - this is not Equal Opportunities.
Access students have been more impacted than BTEC students and A'Level students as they have more external commitments. This does not seem to have been taken in to account.
I would like a clear and detailed explanation of the possible adaptations and how these can mitigate for the incredible hurdles and challenges our students are facing and have faced. I would like an explanation as to how access students can be expected to complete and be judged upon an entire qualification then be judged against A'level students who have not.
Completely agree with comments above, this is so unfair. Why are our Access learners having to complete 60 credits worth of units when their A level/BTEC peers are being assessed to reduced content? Just to say "they can suspend their studies if it's too much for them" is not good enough
Yes I would like to understand why VCRF regulation following consultation recently and TAGs are not considered for Access to HE
Totally agree Heather
I completely agree with the above comments. There is a significant equality issue here for our adult students against BTEC and A Level students who do have reduced criteria and content to cover and yet are competing for the same university places. A response saying that the same number of credits must be completed doesn't make sense in comparison to the BTEC students who have had a considerable percentage of their content removed.
Please define what is extenuating circumstances in detail..
Yes that means that Access learners lose a year of their life... not the case for A level learners
or BTEC Barbara..
I genuinely signed up for this webinar in the hope that QAA had had a rethink about how unfair this is for our learners.... so sad that it seems this is not the case
This is a waste of time.
Questions soon.. stay online..
I agree Suzi
We will be posing your questions soon
Our external moderators have been amazingly supportive but there is no getting away form the massive extra workload remote moderation has but on staff (eg uploading over 1000 files of student work and internal moderation paperwork. Particulalry difficult for art subject where the evidence is physical and hard to present electronically
Could some clarification be given on how the number assessments can be reduced if the current model for our AVA is one assessment per unit and how other providers have changed assessment schedules on a regular basis to support learners this academic year while remaining on track to deliver the content of the diploma by year end? Examples of adaptations which have been approved nationally would be helpful. Thank you
Learners on Access to HE: Health Science Professions are really struggling. The majority are keyworkers some in hospitals, some in care settings etc. they are been asked to work many extra shifts and sometimes doing nights then attending lessons. They are mentally and emotionally drained. They are caring for their own children in many cases. I feel these students are disadvantaged compared to the Access to HE: Criminal Justice course we also deliver.
This last point is particularly true for those who are single parents on our Nursing course.
Agreed Laura - same issues here on Access to Science and HSC
Very difficult to quantify some of the extenuating circumstance, I have a student with 4 school age children who was home schooling for the entirety of lockdown - would that count?! Does she get more of less consideration than the student who missed 4 separate weeks for delivery in term 1 because he kept having to quarantine due to his house mates needing to be tested? My point is that this is impossible!
Adaptating a qual doesn't address disparity
EVERY student in the country has extenuating circumstances this year.
What can we do for those learners who are shielding whilst we deliver and they miss delivery. We are just not able to redeliver for anyone at home too. What allowances do you make for parity for those learners?
100% agree Emma. I have a single mum who during lockdown was spending 9-12 with child 1, 12-3 with child 2 and 3-6 with child 3 doing their schoolwork, then watching the recordings of lessons once they were in bed. Clearly the quality of her work is going to suffer as a result of this. She has a place on a Midwifery degree and is terrified that she is not going to get the 36 Distinctions she needs, but is definitely a D level student. We have discussed ext circs but she has said there is no point as she will just end up with a load of work to do at the end of the year and is worried she won't be able to complete it
For extensions/additional time post delivery, where relevant, what do we use to evidence issues such as parenting, etc? There's not always evidence to support some of the many issues Covid has created for learners
Couldn't agree more Suzi - we have about 650 students and over half are working on the front line saving lives let alone mixing children and home schooling into the mix
Why would students who have great offers for starting degrees in Autumn 2021 take a break in study? When the A level/BTEC learners completing for the same courses starting in Autumn 2021 are getting TAGS?
You can' always get evidence for extenuating circumstances - can you give examples of what that evidence would be e.g. children at home, children isolating, house mates isolating so they are, internet doesn't work when we teach remotely. How do we evidence this?
One of my students has been forced to take a break in study despite having given up her job and saved for years to be able to do the access course because she couldn't handle the lockdown learning with her kids at home. She is crushed, we offered extensions etc but she could not cope. She has had to go back to work and is unlikely to be able to take this step again. A break in study is a dreadful response it is NOT a supportive mechanism when QAA has imposed this upon them.
The line from our AVA, I'm paraphrasing: "We have allowed all these flexibilities from the start, so any change in year is not needed" For exampleAVA has insisted extenuating circumstances is addressed for individuals:If a whole unit or cohort is affected by lockdown is it possible to calculate one grade for one whole unit?Seems more sensible, as doing 300+ individual extenuating circumstances forms all about the same unit would not be permitted.Please advise, answer from AVA was "We've been flexible from the start so why would this be needed"
What would be helpful is advice from the AoC on good practice to address the challenges as well as advising that we refer to out own processes and the AVA processes
sharing the good practice across this platform can help generate ideas...
An active dialogue between tutor, IV and EV so that grades can be amended if we all feel that grades don't reflect the students performance? Do we do that at EV or at FAB?
Re above - also how do we evidence this?
Totally agree Angela
Our Ava has been extremely supportive in listening to and responding to our requests. Adaptation requests and processes which have been put in place however take time. Has there been consideration on how requesting and waiting for approval has further impact on the delivery and assessment of the diploma? When you combine this with time lost and delays due to recent disruptions there are going to be many providers struggling finish by year end
Thanks from Liam at Newcastle College. I hope colleagues across the UK are coping well.
What would be really supportive is, instead of us continually having more workload stress added to fill in continuous forms for adaptations, to make them and to work out what they are, can we not have a process that will support our learners holistically? I will say right now, last year was actually easier than this year.
Well said Antoinette
It is a disgrace
Some providers agree with the current system as do our students. We have used adaptions, amendments to assessments and extenuating circumstances. Digital poverty has been a barrier for some students but we have worked to reduce this impact
We can't evidence parenting, digital poverty, shielding by association, etc, etc... What do you suggest?
Thank you for the contingencies but sadly, they are not enough!!
If we did so well last year why can't we be trusted to do the same this year, when our A level/BTEC colleagues are? They were told at the beginning of the academic year "exams WILL go ahead" but this has changed... why can't QAA change too to give our Access students parity?
Making adaptations will not address the significant issues that students have faced or continue to face. How do you adapt an assessment that requires students to demonstrate all of the assessment criteria/grading components in order to achieve?
Great point Suzi!
THank you that clarifies the difference between the terminology for the vocational subjects under Ofqual and the frameworks we need to be referring to under QAA.
Please reduce the number of units that students need to complete
The solution is parity with every other L3 qual
Please reduce the number of credits students need to achieve to get awarded an Access Diploma this year
Extenuation means delaying so students become overwhelmed that units are building up and they have to achieve them at some point
Th AV tell us they are powerless to change the process
Can someone type that email address here... Sorry to have to ask I know the chat is busy.
Extenuating circumstances don't remove the burden of work - students will still be required to complete the work??
We've been in lockdown or tier 4 since sept how do we know if performance has changed
Interesting point Michelle
It's a 1 year course so we don't know what they can do if we're not in lockdown or tier 4
Adaptations are not the answer. Reduction in units is the only fair approach. QAA appear not to have not listened to providers about the expectations for Access learners compared to A level students.
Reduction of units or evidenced prediction like last year
Some adaptations have increased the workload of staff significantly
Extenuating circumstances are reasonable adjustments.
Heather spot on - thank you for verbalising the distress we are all feeling on behalf of our students
I agree regarding staff workload especially when there is extensions here, there and everywhere and you also have other awarding body paperwork to do. Very stressful for staff.
I agree re impact on students
If we wait to send further correspondence to the QAA and then wait for further response then we will be at the end of the academic year. Decisions need to be fairly made now...
Having to record the grade profile breakdown again this year is another added pressure to staff. Having to mark a build up outstanding assignments, the pastoral support they are providing and the adaptations they are having to do. More withdrawals this year than ever before and not because of Covid but mental health
Staff are also trying to write assignments for revalidated diplomas eg Business studies as well as all of this
Agreed - the students need decisions quickly. We are nearly at the end!
I can see that some people do not necessarily with the comments being made. As someone who is new to this, I'd really like to hear from them to understand their view.
Thank you Marguerite
Well said Heather!!
I think QAA and the AOC need to go back to the Minister for Skills and the Prime Minister please. Thank you
Surely we could have delivered less units in a more manageable way so that students could actually benefit from them in a high quality and meaningful way. The suggestion is just push through it all and if it all goes wrong the AVA can "fix" the grades! Makes no sense from a quality point of view.
How can you reduce the number of assessments and the pressure and demonstrate/evidence achievement of assessment criteria/grades? It simply doesn't work
But there is an argument for full coverage but reduced assessment, for example with short answer tests as suggested a long time ago. Thank you
Not all Access to HE providers support the main narrative of this meeting. We are working successfully with our AVA and using reasonable adjustments to mitigate where possible.
Totally agree Heather. Too much emphasis on the AVAs when they are as powerless as we are. The QAA can make this decision, nobody else.
The principles need a radical rethink please
Adaptations -Reducing unit assessments, for example two assignments, from any unit, reduced to one - this does not limit the LO's, so the course workload remains. Or are we able to remove LO's?
All valid points and needs reassessing by QAA to ensure students are not disadvantaged in comparison to other types of qual's at a time when most are struggling through a pandemic. Its difficult for all but seems to be increasing workload for staff and students by doing it this way?
I am going to keave this as I feel that one person has monopolised the question and answer and has not allowed others voices to be heard. We may not all share the same view.
Thank you to the AoC for the opportunity to attend this today and the information
I don't understand your point "Reduced number of assessments" What is the mechanism by which I reduce the number of assessments with no change in credits? all the units are 6 or 3 credits.
Lisa James, can I please ask you how you have achieved this? Do you feel you have been able to reduce the assessments in a way that is fair for your learners, and how has this been done?
#Beautifully said Angela B :)
many Uni's have reduced the burden of evidence for extenuating circumstances if linked to covid. so harder for access learners than uni students!
Thanks Marrianne xxx
Hi Beverly. We have our Access to HE provision embedded into our Adult ED area rather than A-level area which I think helps with our message. We have a separate teaching team. We also have an electronic marking system which enables us to electronically upload ACs and LOs onto a system that we share with our AVA (CAVA) and moderators so we can look at each student via the system and liaise with our moderator in real time to apply extenuating circumstances. Our students want to complete as they are concerned with what will happen with their progression if they have gaps in their course
Can we have this come back to us as soon as possible as course will be ending soon and it will be too late
Email me and I am happy to continue this conversation. Lisa.James@ccn.ac.uk
Can you give us a timescale in which you will come back to us about our concerns?
Thank you, Lisa.
Thank you Marguerite and Julie
Thank you to all for your time.
Thankyou Lisa and Margueritte for your time in listening to us - hopefully you will be able to support us in actions - last years model was close to workable and would appreciate a re-think around this.
What is stopping calculated grades for some units where there's EC if there are other units completed in the same subject area? So we use them as evidence?
CAVC centres agrees that students should complete the course, teaching and learning is important, it is the assessment load we are very concerned about, despite adaptations
This has been a very useful conversation to hear. Thank you.
Very good point Tanya. This is exactly what we are doing with our BTEC learners.
Amanda Redman - AoC Events Team
Maybe asking us earlier would have been beneficial as we tend to go to AVA's initially
Thank you Marguerite and Julie.