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QAA – Arrangements for Access to HE assessments 2021 Webinar - Shared screen with speaker view
Amanda Redman - AoC Events Team
25:46
Welcome to the QAA – Arrangements for Access to HE assessments 2021 webinar.Please post any comments/questions you have in the chat, thank you.
Ann-Marie Karadia
28:52
You may email the Access to HE team on ahe@qaa.ac.uk if you have any queries following this session.
Luisa Saunders
35:04
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 ....
Luisa Saunders
36:14
sorry ERF extraordinary regulatory framewrok
Antoinette Pennington
36:54
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?
Heather Brown
37:30
How can you reduce the number of assessment? If still delivering all of the criteria?
Antoinette Pennington
37:40
Agreed Heather!
Luisa Saunders
37:50
I agree unit reduction should be considered
Roshani Croos
38:10
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 ?
Michelle Tocher
38:18
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.
Heather Brown
38:37
Agree with Michelle
Marguerite Hogg
39:03
Thanks for all the questions. We will run through them all at the end. Keep them coming.
Roshani Croos
39:05
Please can you explain how we can reduce the number of units
Barbara Worms
39:11
Biggest hurdle is the insistence on achieving the same number of credits
Antoinette Pennington
39:31
Agreed Barbara :(
Michelle Tocher
39:40
Me too Barbara
Simon Farrar
40:21
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.
Antoinette Pennington
40:40
Agreed Simon - this is not Equal Opportunities.
Emma Baker
40:42
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.
Heather Brown
40:48
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.
Suzi Smale
41:01
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
Antoinette Pennington
41:04
Agreed Heather!
Luisa Saunders
41:27
Yes I would like to understand why VCRF regulation following consultation recently and TAGs are not considered for Access to HE
Michelle Tocher
41:37
Totally agree Heather
Damien Kilkenny
41:51
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.
Antoinette Pennington
42:08
Please define what is extenuating circumstances in detail..
Lynn Adam
42:09
I agree
Barbara Worms
42:13
Yes that means that Access learners lose a year of their life... not the case for A level learners
Antoinette Pennington
43:16
or BTEC Barbara..
Suzi Smale
43:17
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
Antoinette Pennington
43:26
Agreed Suzi.
Roshani Croos
43:32
me too
Heather Brown
43:33
This is a waste of time.
Michelle Tocher
43:38
Me too
Antoinette Pennington
43:51
Questions soon.. stay online..
Emma Baker
43:56
I agree Suzi
Marguerite Hogg
43:57
We will be posing your questions soon
Marianne Readman
44:17
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
Laura Rowan
45:28
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
Emma Chilvers
47:51
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.
Roshani Croos
48:44
This last point is particularly true for those who are single parents on our Nursing course.
Antoinette Pennington
48:47
Agreed Laura - same issues here on Access to Science and HSC
Heather Brown
48:53
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!
Michelle Tocher
49:09
Adaptating a qual doesn't address disparity
Heather Brown
49:48
EVERY student in the country has extenuating circumstances this year.
Angela Bate
50:57
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?
Suzi Smale
51:08
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
Angela Bate
52:38
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
Michelle Tocher
53:14
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
Antoinette Pennington
53:32
Agreed x
Suzi Smale
53:51
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?
Angela Bate
54:47
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?
Angela Bate
54:52
can't
Heather Brown
55:39
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.
Liam Carr
55:40
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"
Luisa Saunders
56:19
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
Luisa Saunders
56:53
sharing the good practice across this platform can help generate ideas...
Michelle Tocher
57:01
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?
Angela Bate
57:21
Re above - also how do we evidence this?
Michelle Tocher
57:41
Totally agree Angela
Laura Rowan
58:01
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
Liam Carr
58:54
Thanks from Liam at Newcastle College. I hope colleagues across the UK are coping well.
Angela Bate
01:00:11
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.
Angela Bate
01:00:26
Agreed Antoinette
Suzi Smale
01:01:47
Well said Antoinette
Lyndsay Cooper
01:01:50
Agreed
Heather Brown
01:01:52
Thanks Antoinette
Michelle Tocher
01:01:58
Agreed
Barbara Worms
01:02:12
Here here
Heather Brown
01:02:33
It is a disgrace
Lisa James
01:02:59
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
Angela Bate
01:03:40
We can't evidence parenting, digital poverty, shielding by association, etc, etc... What do you suggest?
Angela Bate
01:04:55
Thank you for the contingencies but sadly, they are not enough!!
Suzi Smale
01:05:27
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?
Lyndsay Cooper
01:05:47
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?
Angela Bate
01:05:47
Great point Suzi!
Michelle Tocher
01:05:58
Absolutely Suzi
Luisa Saunders
01:06:03
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.
Roshani Croos
01:06:20
Please reduce the number of units that students need to complete
Angela Bate
01:06:39
The solution is parity with every other L3 qual
Suzi Smale
01:06:53
Please reduce the number of credits students need to achieve to get awarded an Access Diploma this year
Amanda LAwton
01:07:00
Extenuation means delaying so students become overwhelmed that units are building up and they have to achieve them at some point
Michelle Tocher
01:07:10
Agreed Angela
Angela Bate
01:07:29
Th AV tell us they are powerless to change the process
Liam Carr
01:07:31
Can someone type that email address here... Sorry to have to ask I know the chat is busy.
Angela Bate
01:07:32
AV
Lyndsay Cooper
01:07:43
Extenuating circumstances don't remove the burden of work - students will still be required to complete the work??
Angela Bate
01:07:43
ahe@qa.ac.uk
Michelle Tocher
01:08:14
We've been in lockdown or tier 4 since sept how do we know if performance has changed
Heather Brown
01:08:29
Interesting point Michelle
Michelle Tocher
01:08:51
It's a 1 year course so we don't know what they can do if we're not in lockdown or tier 4
Michelle Tocher
01:09:20
Absolutely Antoinette
Barbara Worms
01:09:22
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.
Angela Bate
01:09:56
Reduction of units or evidenced prediction like last year
Amanda LAwton
01:10:08
Some adaptations have increased the workload of staff significantly
Lisa James
01:11:01
Extenuating circumstances are reasonable adjustments.
Michelle Tocher
01:11:24
Absolutely Heather
Suzi Smale
01:11:38
Heather spot on - thank you for verbalising the distress we are all feeling on behalf of our students
Emma Chilvers
01:12:02
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.
Lyndsay Cooper
01:12:34
I agree re impact on students
Emma Baker
01:13:03
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...
Amanda LAwton
01:13:23
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
Roshani Croos
01:13:31
Staff are also trying to write assignments for revalidated diplomas eg Business studies as well as all of this
Lyndsay Cooper
01:13:40
Agreed - the students need decisions quickly. We are nearly at the end!
Beverly Whitefoot
01:14:25
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.
Michelle Tocher
01:14:32
Thank you Marguerite
Angela Bate
01:14:46
Well said Heather!!
Barbara Worms
01:16:13
I think QAA and the AOC need to go back to the Minister for Skills and the Prime Minister please. Thank you
Heather Brown
01:19:02
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.
Lyndsay Cooper
01:19:43
How can you reduce the number of assessments and the pressure and demonstrate/evidence achievement of assessment criteria/grades? It simply doesn't work
Barbara Worms
01:19:51
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
Lisa James
01:20:12
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.
Emma Baker
01:20:16
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.
Barbara Worms
01:20:54
The principles need a radical rethink please
Tanya Phillips
01:20:56
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?
Cassie Hudson
01:21:24
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?
Luisa Saunders
01:22:09
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.
Luisa Saunders
01:22:25
Thank you to the AoC for the opportunity to attend this today and the information
Liam Carr
01:22:29
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.
Beverly Whitefoot
01:23:26
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?
Antoinette Pennington
01:25:15
#Beautifully said Angela B :)
Marianne Readman
01:25:29
many Uni's have reduced the burden of evidence for extenuating circumstances if linked to covid. so harder for access learners than uni students!
Antoinette Pennington
01:26:32
Thanks Marrianne xxx
Lisa James
01:26:50
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
Amanda LAwton
01:26:51
Can we have this come back to us as soon as possible as course will be ending soon and it will be too late
Lisa James
01:27:13
Email me and I am happy to continue this conversation. Lisa.James@ccn.ac.uk
Emma Baker
01:27:45
Can you give us a timescale in which you will come back to us about our concerns?
Heather Brown
01:28:38
Thanks Lisa
Beverly Whitefoot
01:28:39
Thank you, Lisa.
Cassie Hudson
01:29:16
Thank you Marguerite and Julie
Emma Chilvers
01:29:29
Thank you to all for your time.
Antoinette Pennington
01:30:00
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.
Angela Bate
01:30:05
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?
Tanya Phillips
01:30:10
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
Marguerite Hogg
01:30:32
marguerite.hogg@aoc.co.uk
Beverly Whitefoot
01:30:44
This has been a very useful conversation to hear. Thank you.
Lisa James
01:30:51
Thanks everyone
Emma Baker
01:30:53
Very good point Tanya. This is exactly what we are doing with our BTEC learners.
Amanda Redman - AoC Events Team
01:31:08
marguerite.hogg@aoc.co.uk
Amanda LAwton
01:31:18
Maybe asking us earlier would have been beneficial as we tend to go to AVA's initially
Emma Baker
01:31:30
Thank you Marguerite and Julie.