Standards below par for awarding bodies offering Tier 4 qualifications – what does this mean for your colleges?

Ofqual published a full report on Tuesday 21 January on their recent investigation of awarding bodies offering Tier 4 qualifications in the UK, after receiving complaints over postgraduate level tier 4 course standards.

Two thirds of the 13 awarding bodies sampled, which offered these qualifications, were not meeting the required standards for content and assessment, and a review by subject experts of students’ work provided by all awarding organisations (AOs), found that two thirds were performing below the minimum required level.

This report comes after two significant regulatory actions relating to AOs operating in the Tier 4 market: recognition has been withdrawn to award qualifications from the London Centre of Marketing and, a notice of intention has been published to withdraw recognition from the Accrediting & Assessment Bureau for Post-Secondary Schools Limited (to be decided on 5 February).

AOs have already taken action to address many of these concerns as Ofqual sets to carry out reviews on the remaining Tier 4 AOs as a result of the deficiencies identified in the review, and will take action if organisations are not up to standard. Ofqual has stated that it requires AOs to strengthen processes for developing qualifications and assessments, moderating student work, and approving and monitoring colleges. All AOs offering qualifications from the QCF must ensure that assessments are appropriate to the qualification and that passes can only be awarded when all of the required content has been covered.

If you run programmes for the international student market you may like to get in touch with your AOs to find out if they are planning to make modifications to their operating and monitoring processed which could affect your college.

Please contact us at if you have any concerns.