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Discussion in 'Music' started by cmf, Nov 13, 2009.
Not having much luck am I! Ok does anyone know if the Btec in a box comes with examples?
Looks like I have upset people. I am sorry didnt mean to. Thanks for reading.
Yes BTEC in a box comes with written examples but no audio examples. In my first year so sorry don't have any students work yet.
Thanks Russ. I am going to go for it and trust to luck I think. The reason I am moving from GCSE is it seems I am being told by the boards to spend money every 3-4 yrs on new cd's books etc when I cannot afford it. I only just get by with repairs and basic things like strings, drum sticks, skin, paper and books etc. Its about time I found something which is going to last so this seems like a good idea. Mind you I have no idea what I am letting myself in for!
I sympathise with the problem, but teaching the same set works for more than four years in succession can lead to some very dull teaching if you're not careful.
BTec seems a great mystery to me (and others, judging by the paucity of response to your original question). It is a proprietory exam run by Edexcel and details (even simple things like results) seem to be well hidden from the public at large.
Some schools have changed from GCSE to BTec because of the enormous bolst it gives them in league tables - an advantage that will almost certainly disappear after the next general election, so it's not a route that I'd go down if I had that choice.
We run Btec as well as GCSE music and both courses are as valid as each other. We felt it was important to see the wider picture when offering students the opportunity to study music and wanted to ensure they maximised their potential. This has led to very worthy and successful results with many of our GCSE students sitting the exam in one year and taking AS the following. Students who have taken the Btec course have found it equally beneficial and achieved As and Bs at AS/A2. We did not offer the course to bolst results and I believe what ever the outcome of the next election they will still form a very important part of the curriculum.
Whatever you or I think, the test of "validity" of an exam is down to how it is perceived in the world outside school.
Many of my students over the years went to Cambridge, who still say that "For courses that require a large amount of background technical
knowledge, VCE or Applied A levels, GNVQs or BTECs cannot, unless
otherwise stated, be used to replace the 'essential' and 'highly
desirable' A levels listed for each course".
Of course, other universities don't necessarily take this line. However, it is often very difficult for employers and admissions tutors to deduce what a BTec student has learnt because of the variety of options and dearth of traditionally-examined components.
Well, at the moment the tories are taking a very critical line on vocational exams, but such a stance is easy when in opposition.
Hello. I teach BTEC music.
Are you refering to the BTEC First Certificate or the BTEC First Diploma (they're different)? The Diploma is usually done in 6th form but the Certificate is usually for school pupils.
I'm teaching the 1st Certificate. I have examples of pupils' work. If you'd like more info then please email me at
We teach both the first certificate and diploma at KS4. They are both level 2 courses. The Btec National award is offered in the sixth form and is a level 3 qualification. Often students taking the certificate will spend extra time after school and lunchtimes to work towards the diploma qualification.
It's a great subject to teach and the students enjoy a more practical way of working. It's a shame that the media and therefore the public perception is rather bias towards the more traditional route. Weren't GCSEs criticised when first introduced??
It is only recently that we have been able to access GCSE and A level results and hopefully the same will happen for Btec courses. In order to progress to A level why should it matter which course has been followed? Which employer takes into consideration what has been studied?? Why shouldn't courses be more flexible in approach?? It is certainly not a second tier qualification our students are very talented and able musicians who have gone on to higher education with very successful outcomes.
You can find some good examples that teachers are sharing on www.teachingmusic.org.uk. Just type btec in the search box when you get there......
They've been on line since 1997 and were available in paper format before that.
That would certainly be a good thing, but BTec has been around for more than 25 years now (in fact the National Diploma goes back to the 1930s and is thus much older than A-level) and results have never been made available to the public in the same way that GCSE and A-level results are.
Students who have followed a course that provides a foundation for A-level work are going to find the course much easier than those who, say, cannot read notation or who cannot play an instrument. I'm not saying that BTec does not include these skills - it's simply the lack of transparency that makes it difficult for those not involved with BTec to know.
The bottom line for any qualification is that its content and standards must be readily accessible to the public at large, otherwise it becomes a meaningless bit of paper.
BTec has an additional problem in that it is a proprietory exam run by Edexcel, making it impossible to compare content and standards (even if they were known) with other boards, in the way that one can with GCSE and A-level.
I suspect that there is much to be admired in BTec Music, and I have no doubt that it attracts some very good students, it really does need to become much more transparent as a qualification.
poemeelectronique: "the BFD is not usually done in 6th Form."
I did BFD in 6th form - after gaining an A grade at GCSE (no A* in those days). I then did the BND and A level before going on to university. Schools often won't timetable for BND.
I could talk Btec vs GCSE all night but for now I'd say that in my opinion Btec (alone) is good for students who don't really intend to go on to study music but it's really very easy to gain a pass grade (distinction requires a lot more work but not necessarily more talent). However on arriving at University I found that my Btec was disregarded - they were only interested in my A level grade. I'd say again though that Btec certainly has a few advantages over GCSE in terms of what pupils COULD do.
I'll post more when I'm not so tired.
Lets face it folks. The BTEC's can be manipulated if you wanted to (I'm sure all of us have more integrity than that though!). I have pupils who would not get a C at GCSE because of the listening exam but can get a pass at BTEC (worth two C's).
You could pass a BTEC and not play a single instrument. You cannot do this at GCSE.
Obviously those of us with any sense will not allow students on the course if they do not intend to study an "instrument"- I would include sound tech stuff in this.
However, there are some people I am sure who have pupils not going to get their all important 5A*-C's who will push pupils into a BTEC and get them a pass just to improve grades. On paper this pupil looks like a musician but is not.
That is the rub with BTEC...
A pupil comes to me with GCSE OCR music at grade C: I know they have heard Bhangra, Disco, Salsa, Minimalism or whatever the spec is for OCR then and I know they played to about grade 3 standard and I now they did OK in a listening exam as well as having composed two pieces of their own.
A pupil come to me with pass at BTEC: They may have composed...or not. They may have performed....or not. They may read basic notation...or not. They will have created a music product...was it putting on a full show or making a bit of a rubbish CD in the classroom though? (or maybe they had a great tutor who took them to a recording studio and they learned lots about recording and layering and panning and can do it all for themselves).
I love the fact BTEC allows you to create what is right for the pupils you teach but I do think that a performance and composition element should be compulsory. What is a musician who cannot compose or perform? Are they a musician? I would argue not.
PS I do have some example of work for you.
At the FE college where I teach BTec ND, 1st Dip and Cert, it would be impossible for a student to pass without performance and composition skills, due to the units I teach. This may be a traditional instrument, voice or tech.
I believe the flexibility you like about the BTec is essential in terms of engaging with students who are marginalised from education and will not be participating in A Levels.
Surely there has to be some trust on the part of the BTec tutors that they have enabled each student to get the most out of the course, and that they have not 'pushed' learners into the BTec? Additionally, there has to be some trust that tutors have not passed a 'rubbish' CD (according to whose values?) as valid evidence of competence? If we cannot trust these tutors, can we trust GCSE teachers to ensure exam conditions and not to cheat?
Rather than looking at BTec in comparison to an allegedly more watertight set of qualifications, why not look at the extra benefits that the BTec qualifications can offer over and above a GCSE, particularly in terms of industry-related competence?
Lucky that some of you appear to have a choice in who take on the BTEC/GCSE courses. We get who we are given.
Our department is currently in the process of changing to BTEC (starting it in sept 2011) because GCSE just doesn't suit the vast majority of our pupils anymore, and after not gaining enough pupil interest to run a GCSE course (we had 11 choose and needed 12 to run it!) we decided a big change was needed.
However, we've also redesigned all of our KS3 SOWs in order to get pupils used to working in a BTEC style. My colleague and I, who are both co-hods feel that the BTEC teacher for a lot of the time will be more of a facilitator than a teacher, due to the vast independence that some of the pupils will need to work at
I've been on 2 courses (one run by edexcel called designing assignments and assessment) in desparate hope for some exemplat material...absolutely none. The edexcel course was pretty poor, and having not even started the course I felt far more in the know than many that were there and had already started!
my colleague went on a course deperate for material and said it was rubbish!
We are doing extended certificate which is equivilent to 2 GCSE's. We are doing this in place of GCSE. 3 hours per week over 2 years. This is the correct course isn't it for the guided learning hours?
We have been a bit bulldozed into swapping GCSE for BTEC but not enough students took GCSE for our headteacher to be willing to run the course (we need minimum 12).
As we've suffered a big dip in results since the new spec 2 years ago and now the new one again (first exam 2011) we think it's a shame for the traditional musicians but we have toget the numbers in and therefore do BTEC.
We can't do GCSE after school as I work part time and all lunchtimes and after school are taken with extra curricular!