Grading the Specialised Diploma

Part of the Government’s response to the report of the Working Group on 14-19 Reform (2004) was to announce the introduction of Specialised Diplomas in fourteen lines of learning, each Diploma including both academic and vocational material and covering a specific occupational sector. Before the first five Diplomas are introduced for first teaching in September 2008 (and first certification in Summer 2009 or Summer 2010), there are several important issues which need to be resolved. One of these concerns grading. Results in individual units will be graded where appropriate, but there are a number of difficulties in grading the Diploma overall. While successful completion clearly needs to be recognised, the benefits of certificating achievement beyond the basic pass threshold are more debatable. Essentially, the question is whether there should be just a two-point scale (Pass/Fail) or a multi-point scale (eg Distinction/Merit/Pass/Fail). This is the issue addressed in this paper.

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