Consultation outcome: Regulating alternative academic and alternative technical qualifications at level 3


January 10
11:00 2023

Detail of outcome

Proposals for regulating alternative academic and alternative technical qualifications

Ofqual has decided:

  • to put in place the Condition (ATQ5) and the statutory guidance on which we consulted, relating to awarding organisations approaches to grading scales (the number of grades and the names of those grades) for alternative academic qualifications, with some minor drafting changes to improve clarity, but which do not alter the overall meaning
  • not to set a specific requirement in relation to titling for alternative academic or technical occupation qualifications and, as a consequence, not to disapply General Condition E2.1 (Requirements on qualification titling)

Proposed Conditions, requirements and statutory guidance

Ofqual has decided to implement the proposed Conditions, requirements and statutory guidance as consulted on, subject to some minor drafting changes to improve the clarity of the wording, but with no substantive changes to the overall meaning.

As a result of the decision not to set a specific titling Condition (ATQ4), the numbering of subsequent Conditions in the final version of the Qualification Level Conditions has been amended. Where we refer to the proposed Conditions on which we consulted, the original number is used. Where we refer to the final Conditions that we have decided to implement and which will appear in our Qualification Level Conditions, we have used the updated numbering.

For both alternative academic and technical occupation qualifications, we have decided to put in place Conditions and requirements in relation to:

  • assessment strategies and the associated requirements (Condition ATQ2 and associated requirements)
  • qualification reviews (Condition ATQ3)
  • withdrawal of approval for public funding (Condition ATQ6)
  • interpretation and definitions (Condition ATQ1)

For alternative academic qualifications only, we have decided to put in place Conditions, requirements and statutory guidance in relation to:

  • content (Condition ATQ8)
  • purposes (Condition ATQ7 and associated requirements)
  • assessment (Condition ATQ4 and associated requirements relating to Assessment by Examination, non-exam assessment, and the marking of assessments)
  • standard setting (Condition ATQ9 and associated statutory guidance)

In relation to the equalities and regulatory impact assessments, Ofqual has decided that the impacts raised would not lead us to change our proposals at this stage, but we will continue to monitor these impacts as the qualifications are developed and delivered.

Feedback received

Detail of feedback received

There were 33 responses to this consultation.

In relation to grading scales, there was overall agreement with the proposed approach and with the draft statutory guidance. The benefits of a longer term move towards a smaller number of more common grading scales were recognised. Respondents also noted the need for awarding organisations to have the flexibility to use approaches tailored to specific qualifications. Respondents felt the proposed statutory guidance setting out what awarding organisations should consider when determining their approach was helpful, with a small number of suggestions for how it could be made clearer.

In relation to qualification titling, there was support for a clear and consistent approach to titling. It was felt this would help users to navigate the future landscape, though respondents felt that some aspects of the proposals, in particular the different elements that would make up qualification titles, risked being overly complex.

Beyond grading and titling, the rest of the consultation sought views on the draft Conditions, requirements and statutory guidance. These proposals will implement the policy decisions already taken. The consultation also sought views on the equalities and regulatory impacts of these proposals. Respondents comments generally indicated support for the approach taken in the proposed Conditions, requirements and statutory guidance, with a small number making suggestions for how they might be made clearer.

With regard to the equality impacts, respondents were keen that potential equality impacts are monitored following the re-development of qualifications to meet these new requirements.

With regard to the regulatory impact of the proposals, respondents commented on the potential burden on awarding organisations to ensure qualifications meet new requirements. They also highlighted the burden for centres needing to familiarise themselves with the new qualifications

Original consultation


Consultation on Conditions, requirements and guidance; and proposed approach to regulating grading for alternative academic qualifications and titling for alternative academic and alternative technical qualifications

This consultation ran from

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