Call us: 0300 30 30 333
Home Menu

Latest information and updates from Pearson

assessment briefings 389x267

Pearson is a UK's awarding body. Its academic qualifications include Edexcel GCSE, Edexcel A level, Edexcel International GCSE and the Edexcel Certificate (International GCSE for UK state schools). Its vocational qualifications include Edexcel NVQ and BTEC from entry level to Higher National Diplomas.

For up-to-date information on the cancellation of the summer 2020 exams in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, please click here 

BTEC assessment update

In light of the recent announcements in relation to Covid-19 and school and college closures, Pearson has put together some questions and answers on its current plans for continuing with standards verification and its position on assessment for vocational qualifications.

This includes confirmation that while it works with other awarding organisations and Ofqual to decide how grades will be awarded for BTEC awards, it has decided to pause all BTEC standards verification activity.  As such all BTEC SVs have been asked to stop contacting their allocated centres until further notice. SVs have been instructed not to carry out any sampling until further notice. This includes reports for samples that may not yet have been submitted. You can access the full update here.

While BTEC exams will not take place in May and June, Pearson has confirmed that centres will still need to make entries for the May and June examinations if a centre was expecting students to re-sit or take an external assessment for the first time. Pearson has extended the BTEC entry deadline to 3 April 2020.


  • You can access information about Pearson GCSE qualifications here
  • You can access information about Pearson A level qualifications here
  • You can access information about Pearson vocational qualifications here.

Feedback and complaints
For questions about qualifications, products and services, or to leave feedback and/or make a complaint, you can contact Pearson here

Policy Watch

Policy Watch is Pearson's regular policy update service, covering national and international developments in the world of education. You can sign-up to Policy Watch here.

Pearson confirms changes to the grading boundaries of BTEC Level 2 Tech Awards

Updated 20 August 2019: Pearson has today confirmed that it will issue ‘revised grades’ for some students who may have been disadvantaged by missing out on the opportunity to resit exams. Pearson will be contacting all those affected schools and colleges to let them know that they will receive the updated result tomorrow. It has also confirmed that it will be writing to all colleges to inform them about the changes made so that they can take into account students' performance on the individual units when making their decisions.

Pearson has written to centres confirming changes to this year's grading boundaries for BTEC Tech Award qualifications.

Pearson found that, when setting the standard, learners' outcomes were significantly higher than statistical indicators had suggested, such that the qualification grading was more generous than the evidence suggested it should have been, particularly at the Level 2 qualification grades. 

As such, Pearson has confirmed that it is applying an immediate change to the grading criteria for BTEC Level 2 Tech Award, to ensure that the qualification remains rigorous and valid for the learners who use it to progress to other areas of learning or into employment.

What does this mean for students?

For some students taking health and social care, engineering or enterprise, they may have only sat the external assessment once in February and, based on knowledge of the original points thresholds, may have decided not to resit in the June session. If you have students in this situation please contact Pearson, and it can explain the options available.  

Where students have taken the external assessment for the first time in June, there will be the option for students to resit the assessment (two sittings of the external assessment are permissible). For some of your students, they may have college places at risk, and in light of this change, Pearson has written a letter to students, which is intended to explain the changes that have been made. 

You can access the full information from Pearson here.

Pearson confirms the introduction of "near pass" grade for most BTEC nationals

  • Pearson has confirmed that it will be introducing an N grade or "near pass" for most BTEC nationals (RQF, teaching from 2016). This means that learners can pass the qualification without passing the external assessment as long as they achieve the N grade and meet all other eligibility requirements, which remain unchanged. Learners will be able to do this if they narrowly miss the pass grade and still achieve enough points throughout the qualification.
  • These changes come into effect immediately and retrospectively for all learners who were registered on the new BTEC Nationals (RQF) in 2016 or 2017. Pearson has contacted all centres about this, and it will be in touch with any centres that have learners who were not eligible for an award when they 'claimed' previously, but who are now eligible for a qualification under the new rules.
  • Please note that these changes only apply to the externally assessed units, and no changes are being made to grades for internally assessed units. You can find further information about this on Pearson's website.

Key updates from latest meeting

NAHT meets with Pearson regularly, both on an individual basis and with other school leaders' and teaching associations. Key updates from the latest meetings are below.

Improvements to 2020 papers and free support for A level mathematics

Since the summer 2019 exam series for A level mathematics, Pearson has been continuing to gather feedback from teachers, parents and students. Building on this and analysis of students’ performance in the exams, Pearson has decided to take steps to improve the teaching, learning and assessment experience. 

This includes making a series of improvements to question papers from summer 2020 onwards, designed to enhance students’ experience of sitting the exams. The improvements will focus on ensuring early questions are accessible, dividing questions into parts and using clear, concise language. 

The next set of mock exams that exemplify some of these improvements will be available in January 2020. 

In addition to making improvements to the question papers, Pearson is also adding to its free materials for A level mathematics. 

You can access all the details on the changes, alongside the new free support guide here.

International GCSE and GCSE comparability  

The Department for Education (DfE) recently published findings comparing International GCSEs and GCSEs in England in 2018. The research showed a small difference in learner outcomes for 2018. 

While small variations between different qualifications and between years can be expected, the exception was Pearson's international GCSE English language and international GCSE English literature, where the coursework options will be slightly recalibrated. Pearson adjusted coursework boundaries as part of the awarding processes in 2019, and will continue these adjustments in 2020.

Pearson will also complete further specific research into mathematics outcomes during 2020, since the DfE's findings are not consistent with its own for 2018 and 2019. These findings will be taken into account as Pearson award international GCSEs in 2020 and itwill re-run its analysis using 2019 outcomes to ensure ongoing alignment. 

You can access the full details on Pearson's work around this here.

First published 20 August 2018