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New vocational courses designed to broaden the sixth-form curriculum need tighter controls on assessment if nationa...
New vocational courses designed to broaden the sixth-form curriculum need tighter controls on assessment if national standards are to be assured says OFSTED in a report published today.

The report looks at the piloting of General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQ) which took place in September 1992 in 115 schools and colleges.

The attempt to widen the basis of sixth-form studies has been widely welcomed by teachers and students alike with the introduction of vocational A-levels (GNVQ Level 3) proving satisfactory. However, standards of work at Intermediate level GNVQs (Level 2) are much more variable and in some cases are unsatisfactory.

Inspectors identify six key areas for improvement to ensure that GNVQs deliver consistent, national standards. They include the need for: clearer guidance to schools about the management and assessment of students' work and the allocation of teaching time; improvements in the teaching of the core skills in number, communication and information technology;

Development of more effective criteria for grading students' work to make it easier for teachers to grade it at the appropriate level; external verification of students' work by specialists; close regulation of external tests through a code of practice agreed between the NCVQ and the awarding bodies; more training for teachers to improve their assessment skills and update their vocational knowledge.
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