as the nvq were based on a student’s practical skills, it was completed in the workplace and not in the classroom. the nvq was assessed through building up a portfolio of evidence based on the student’s professional experience. nvqs were based upon meeting national occupational standards which described the “competencies” expected in any given job role. nvq’s were not awarded by pass or fail: instead the nvq grading criteria was either awarding a successful ‘competent’ award (which was seen as passing the nvq). for example, someone working in an admin office role may take an nvq in business and administration.
although nvq’s such as a nvq level 3 can be roughly translated as being at the same level as a gce advanced level or btec level 3 extended diploma, in terms of depth and vigor of study, the nvq cannot be compared with other academic qualifications at the same level, i.e. gce advanced levels and the btec level 3 extended diploma (a* at a-level is equivalent to a d* at btec level 3). gov.uk lists the equivalents for academic qualifications between the regulated qualifications framework (rqf) and the framework for higher education qualifications (fheq). the following equivalences are used by the london school of economics’s research lab licentiateship (post nominal: lcgi) sits on level 4 of the national qualifications framework, and is therefore comparable to lower nvq level 4.  both graduateship (gcgi) and associateship (acgi) are at level six of the national qualifications framework, compared by ofqual to the highest category nvqs of level 4.  city & guilds itself ties each nvq to the level on the nqf with the same number.
 the last gnvqs were awarded in 2007. the qualifications related to occupational areas in general, rather than any specific job. there were different levels of gnvq, namely the intermediate level (equivalent to four general certificates of secondary education) and advanced level (equivalent to two advanced-level general certificates of education).  many schools and colleges offered these courses and they could be studied alongside gcses or a levels.
they were commonly used between early 2000 and 2005 as one-year courses for post-gcse students who wished to further their education within the sixth-form but not at an a-level standard. subsequent to 2005 many schools stopped using gnvq courses in the sixth form and after 2004 incorporated intermediate or foundation level gnvqs into the syllabus in years 10 and 11 along with gcses. the majority of one-year courses for sixth formers were then replaced with btec first diplomas and certificates. gnvqs ceased to be offered in late 2007. pupils in england and wales are able to undertake btec and ocr national certificates and diplomas instead.
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