AlphaPlus - Supporting awarding organisations

Training services for awarding organisation teams

Grading and standards setting

Level:  Advanced

Duration:  5 hours

Description:  Recent changes in government policy have increased the emphasis on grading in a wide range of vocational and academic qualifications.

Grading qualifications presents many challenges both at component/unit level and for the qualification as a whole.

This programme helps awarding organisations to consider the options for how to implement grading and provides a basis for making evidence-based decisions appropriate to the qualification.

The session considers why grading is considered problematic in vocational qualifications (VQs), how grading interacts with key ideas such as (minimal) competence, and statistical considerations that affect grading. The session will also look at methods for setting standards on graded examinations and qualifications.  

Topics covered:

  • scores, pass/ fail
  • challenges fitting grading criteria to learning outcomes
  • scoring and grading models
  • establishing and communicating the meaning of grades in qualifications
  • statistical concerns
  • standards setting in vocational and academic assessments including: Angoff, bookmarking and contrasting groups.

Typical Task – Working with own qualifications to define a suitable grading model.


For more information about our AO training service, please contact Giilian Whitehouse:

Email Gillian

Phone: 07881 361718

Sample training materials

We recognise that many of our courses deal with complex topics which can take time to understand. All our delegates receive a complete training pack comprising the materials covered, a handbook covering the subject, copies of the exercises, and a targeted reading list for further study.

We've uploaded some of our training materials for you to view. Please click on the link below to access a zip file of these PDFs:

  • Vocational qualification development guidance
  • Vocational qualification development presentation
  • Vocational qualification development reading list

Download sample training materials