BTEC Information and Creative Technology

I spent Friday on a Person/Edexcel course: Getting Ready to Teach BTEC Firsts 2012: in Information & Creative Technology.

The Pearson representative at the event stressed that all the information shared was already in the public domain. So, in a similar spirit here are my raw notes straight out of the Evernote notebook (iPad predictive typos and all 🙂


Trainer: Alan J (with two people from edexcel/pearson). Teaches ICT at a FE college. Contributed to the development of the course.

Minder disclaimer: everything presented is public information (i.e. there’s no information shared on courses that isn’t in the public domain).

Course code: 12nnv05

Location: Centre Point, Central London.

Online course information:


  • Discussion on the best way to present assignments.
  • Generally felt that 3-4 assignments per unit was an optimal to break down the work.
  • Also recommended task deadlines within assignments for weaker learners.
  • Sample assignments provided were similar to our L3 BTEC IT assignments so we should continue with that model for L2.
  • Tip: add section for student to confirm that all work is theirs to assignment brief or student feedback form to cut down on paperwork.
  • Assignments must be vocational in nature and be suitable for near term aspirations of learners.

Supporting Resources

Schemes of work are available but are not free. They’re in the teaching assessment packs (TAPs) which cost money. See:

Student books are not yet available. Expected January 2013. Books do not cover all optional units. Sample chapters of unit 1 and 3 are available now.

Coming soon an online service myBtec (see Sounded like an online tool to help track progress (much like we currently use spreadsheets for).

Sample learners material on line and in packs.


Lead internal verifier needed. No testing (no OSCA 2).

Expected to use and stick to standardisation materials provided by edexcel.

See for details and note link to centre roles.

Osca details

QRD review for all BTECs at institution.

Look at processes etc. sampling plans, meeting minutes, IV documentation, etc. See

Unit Information

Naming nomenclature uses Creating…, Developing…, and …Computer… in titles to distinguish between different types of optional unit.

  • Creating units are using computing to create independent pieces of work, like a digital graphic, audio piece or animation.
  • Developing units involve creating some kind of user interface and will often involve creating an application or service (like a web page) with user interaction (like links or menus).
  • Computer units involve hardware or software specification, building or maintenance.

Integrate units where possible – enhances vocational nature (see also Help and Advice)

Programme Planning

Programme planning needs to include…

  • Recruitment – need right learners. But there is a level 1 fallback but should not be used as a plan, only a fallback for l2 that don’t make it. Q: how many of y 10 are really level 1 learners 
  • Induction
  • Schemes of work
  • Assessment schedules
  • Internal verification schedules
  • Review


June 2013 is first exam. First chance for anyone to take externally assessed units (Unit 1 or Unit 2).

Question about re-sits before 2013 summer break. Resist are possible but you need to wait for marks before booking resit slots. Not known how long marking will take so unclear how long between sittings will be possible. Later confirmed first date is early June.

Claim that exams will be marked on a curve but no information on numbers for each grade boundary.

Exam is marked, moderated and has exam boundaries

Resit possible, not clear how many times can resist. Other attendee mentioned cost of £13.50 per resit.

Exam 25% of course for certificate is exam, not clear if that is also 25% of marks.

Exam is an online test:

  • Multiple choice
  • Drag and drop
  • Matching
  • Images and animations
  • Less reading but reading and seconding questions for exam technique will be critical. Include eliminating answer they’re not sure, flag and return to a question. Go back and check answers.
  • Designed to be interactive and engaging

Online tests have local system requirements – we will need to check with RM on support.

Unit 2 sample exam is tough… many attendees thought unit 1 would be a better (easier!) option for their learners.

Overall Grading

Award is 120GLH so is GCSE sized.

Pass, Merit, Distinction equivalent to C, B, A respectively.

Level 1 pass is equivalent to a GCSE grade D.

Points awarded for p m d in each unit; weighted by unit size and then summed across units taken.

Table in specification provides details of points required for each final grade.

For award, learners must get 24 points across the core units (that’s unit 3 plus either unit 1 or unit 2).

It’s therefore possible for a learner to do poorly on the externally assessed units (unit 1 or unit 2) and compensate with distinction level work in other units. In extreme cases a student could fail the externally assessed unit but still pass by attaining a distinction on their digital portfolio (unit 3).

Digital Portfolio (unit 3)

Digital portfolio tips:

  • start early and have lessons each term to update
  • intended to be a record of course so include unit 1 / unit 2 activity work as well
  • most using blogs/VLEs
  • have an end of course exhibition to show off portfolios. Presentations, employers, local universities etc….
  • In future years you can share previous years work.
  • Prize for best work….
  • Show video evidence; animations etc…

DfE Tables

The course does not count in the 2014 school tables (we knew this already, but others on the course apparently didn’t).

The list of qualifications that will count for school tables in 2015 will be published in November. “Edexcel are confident that the course will be counted in the 2015 tables because that’s what Edexcel designed the course for”. (I think I remember the same being said for the 2014 tables but I can’t find a quote.)

Help and Advice

Some things that were recommended as being particularly helpful:

  • Assignment checking service
  • Policy watch newsletter – sign up at
  • Sample ‘authorised’ assignment briefs are now available. One per unit, but don’t cover all assessment criteria for the unit. Download from: from
  • For some learners try having TASK deadlines within each assignment.
  • Books will not cover all optional units.
  • Integrated units mean potentially less work for learners. For example create graphics and an animation that can be used in a web site. More applicable for certificate where learners need to take more units. Other ideas included integrating graphics and mobile app development. E.g. egg timer app with graphics of egg in egg cup in Graphics unit and then integrated into an app in the mobile development unit.
  • Mobile development unit is fun and easy if you can get the tools running okay on your school network (suggested MIT app inventor).
  • Vocational aspects… Get local businesses in, local charities etc, encourage wherever possible… Not essential but recommended.
  • For practical tasks use observation and have summary observation report with photos and/or video for main evidence. This cuts down a lot on student work load.

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