Why are BTEC students underestimated? Watch

LaurenAlysArtist
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I'm Lauren, I study a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design and I've been considering this question for quite some time; why are BTEC students underestimated not just by A Level students, but by society too?

So, I have always been a pretty bright kid from a young age (I'm not bragging) and I may not have gotten all A*s (besides Art) in my subjects but I was always eager to learn and passed all my subjects with flying colours. I've always had common sense and initiative so it isn't like I am 'thick'. Why is it when I tell people I do a BTEC, they AUTOMATICALLY think I'm 'thick, dumb and stupid'? Here's one answer.

When you are in high school, looking over what courses and types of education you can go down to reach your career goal, they seem to hide BTEC courses and mainly focus on two routes; A Levels or Apprenticeships as these are the most common routes kids go down once they have left school. I have never seen a school advertise a BTEC course, unless it's sport, hairdressing or childcare. Some of the judgement sparks from there. As a Student Ambassador for my college, it is my job to say how great it is to study at my college and what we have to offer. But I end up answering more questions about A Levels and Apprenticeships which isn't great at all because when I take prospecting students around college and I tell them I study a BTEC I get asked "What are BTEC's? Are they the same as A Levels or Apprenticeships?" it does kind of make me sigh a little bit because schools stir their students away from progressing onto BTEC courses.

An example of my own is when discussing what I wanted to do when I finished school with my form tutor, she told me I was 'too smart' to do a BTEC course and it is just for 'thick people'. This is one of the main reasons I feel like BTEC is frowned upon by society. It is the BTEC students that may not be so well behaved that create this impact on the rest of the students who actually are passionate about the BTEC course they are on.

When I consider the A Level students perspective, they see it as we 'don't get any work, too much spare time and when we do the work is easy'. As an Art and Design student who also works all weekend, I get a tonne of work with no 'spare time'. In 6 weeks, I have to have filled an A3 sketchbook with thorough essays, annotations and evaluations. Also including drawings, paintings and artist research. When applying for Student Governor of my college (the head student of the entire college including BTEC, Apprenticeships, A Levels and Foundation Courses) the girl who earned the role of Governor, was a girl who looked down upon me when I applied to be a student ambassador as I am a BTEC student and she is an A Levels student. I am open about A Level students, but I do not get the same respect in return.

Overall, the reason I think BTEC students are looked down upon is because of the negative stereotypes BTEC students have created and the schools lack of advertisement of BTEC courses (other than what I have said previously).

Feel free to post reasons that you may think BTEC students are frowned upon.
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Binary Freak
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(Original post by LaurenAlysArtist)
I'm Lauren, I study a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design and I've been considering this question for quite some time; why are BTEC students underestimated not just by A Level students, but by society too?

So, I have always been a pretty bright kid from a young age (I'm not bragging) and I may not have gotten all A*s (besides Art) in my subjects but I was always eager to learn and passed all my subjects with flying colours. I've always had common sense and initiative so it isn't like I am 'thick'. Why is it when I tell people I do a BTEC, they AUTOMATICALLY think I'm 'thick, dumb and stupid'? Here's one answer.

When you are in high school, looking over what courses and types of education you can go down to reach your career goal, they seem to hide BTEC courses and mainly focus on two routes; A Levels or Apprenticeships as these are the most common routes kids go down once they have left school. I have never seen a school advertise a BTEC course, unless it's sport, hairdressing or childcare. Some of the judgement sparks from there. As a Student Ambassador for my college, it is my job to say how great it is to study at my college and what we have to offer. But I end up answering more questions about A Levels and Apprenticeships which isn't great at all because when I take prospecting students around college and I tell them I study a BTEC I get asked "What are BTEC's? Are they the same as A Levels or Apprenticeships?" it does kind of make me sigh a little bit because schools stir their students away from progressing onto BTEC courses.

An example of my own is when discussing what I wanted to do when I finished school with my form tutor, she told me I was 'too smart' to do a BTEC course and it is just for 'thick people'. This is one of the main reasons I feel like BTEC is frowned upon by society. It is the BTEC students that may not be so well behaved that create this impact on the rest of the students who actually are passionate about the BTEC course they are on.

When I consider the A Level students perspective, they see it as we 'don't get any work, too much spare time and when we do the work is easy'. As an Art and Design student who also works all weekend, I get a tonne of work with no 'spare time'. In 6 weeks, I have to have filled an A3 sketchbook with thorough essays, annotations and evaluations. Also including drawings, paintings and artist research. When applying for Student Governor of my college (the head student of the entire college including BTEC, Apprenticeships, A Levels and Foundation Courses) the girl who earned the role of Governor, was a girl who looked down upon me when I applied to be a student ambassador as I am a BTEC student and she is an A Levels student. I am open about A Level students, but I do not get the same respect in return.

Overall, the reason I think BTEC students are looked down upon is because of the negative stereotypes BTEC students have created and the schools lack of advertisement of BTEC courses (other than what I have said previously).

Feel free to post reasons that you may think BTEC students are frowned upon.
Most of the underestimation is because of the BTEC courses they offer at Level 2 (GCSE-equiv). They have stricter policies with doing work outside of class (most places at least). So if you turn up for class you're essentially predicted-no - guaranteed a top mark. They don't really have any formal lessons either. You turn up, read the book, cite down the relevant information, stick it in a portfolio, once complete, submit it.

I've made this point plenty of times with Level 3. The grades, and most of the assessment methods aren't very indicative of performance, or capacity in the subject(s); most places throw away 'top' grades, and SOME make you bleed on the floor for even a merit! With university you can see BTEC students of a wide variety. Some with D*D*D that can't even remember 40% of the content, and/or have much capacity for subject, and you just as easily have a student on a MM remember 60%+ of the content and/or have a reasonable capacity for the field. Most able students won't even mention they done a BTEC freely, since they don't really want to be subjected to generalizations. - This paragraph is the main reason from my experience.

Depends on the place IMO, place I attended and most local colleges had pretty good rep for BTEC standards. so they attracted a fair few students. Some others won't advertise BTECs, simply because A-level is the norm.

I wouldn't blame the advertisement whatsoever. The more motivated and capable students won't just cling on to the first piece of advertisement they see. They'll explore other options or places. Blame the poor moderation of the 'framework' and structure. Apprenticeships, although based around a BTEC provide training alongside.

It's just their past experiences. Some people will have good experience when talking or associating with BTEC students. Some other people will have bad experience. Generalizations come into play too, nobody wants to waste time, or effort in praising those select few. But rather just clump them into the same group.

Having an A*A*A*a and a First Class honours from an RG university means jack all if you're not able to put any of it into practice. There's a distinct difference between a book worm or someone that just regurgitates information for the sake of passing an exam and getting top marks and someone that takes patience into learning WHY or HOW.
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LaurenAlysArtist
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(Original post by Binary Freak)
Most of the underestimation is because of the BTEC courses they offer at Level 2 (GCSE-equiv). They have stricter policies with doing work outside of class (most places at least). So if you turn up for class you're essentially predicted-no - guaranteed a top mark. They don't really have any formal lessons either. You turn up, read the book, cite down the relevant information, stick it in a portfolio, once complete, submit it.

I've made this point plenty of times with Level 3. The grades, and most of the assessment methods aren't very indicative of performance, or capacity in the subject(s); most places throw away 'top' grades, and SOME make you bleed on the floor for even a merit! With university you can see BTEC students of a wide variety. Some with D*D*D that can't even remember 40% of the content, and/or have much capacity for subject, and you just as easily have a student on a MM remember 60%+ of the content and/or have a reasonable capacity for the field. Most able students won't even mention they done a BTEC freely, since they don't really want to be subjected to generalizations. - This paragraph is the main reason from my experience.

Depends on the place IMO, place I attended and most local colleges had pretty good rep for BTEC standards. so they attracted a fair few students. Some others won't advertise BTECs, simply because A-level is the norm.

I wouldn't blame the advertisement whatsoever. The more motivated and capable students won't just cling on to the first piece of advertisement they see. They'll explore other options or places. Blame the poor moderation of the 'framework' and structure. Apprenticeships, although based around a BTEC provide training alongside.

It's just their past experiences. Some people will have good experience when talking or associating with BTEC students. Some other people will have bad experience. Generalizations come into play too, nobody wants to waste time, or effort in praising those select few. But rather just clump them into the same group.

Having an A*A*A*a and a First Class honours from an RG university means jack all if you're not able to put any of it into practice. There's a distinct difference between a book worm or someone that just regurgitates information for the sake of passing an exam and getting top marks and someone that takes patience into learning WHY or HOW.
I chose to do a BTEC course as I want to go into teaching, my passion for art is better than ever and I was thinking about the marking system as when I was filling out my sketchbook they were telling me how brilliant it all was and they gave me my grade of a low merit. I am up late every night filling out my sketchbook and i do feel like I'm "bleeding for a merit". I'm always using my skills in practice for commissions and original pieces of art and when I look at A Level Fine Art all their work looks the same. There's no flair or passion in their work, you can just see a painting with no meaning.

I live in East Lancashire, I went to a local high school which wasn't brilliant. They brought in the same college every six weeks offering A Levels and Apprenticeships. There was no reps for BTEC's it was literally just those two options. I did my own research and attended another college the same distance away.

I'm predicted DDM due to the fact I didn't do another creative subject like Textiles or Graphics. However, we did a quiz on our last day about artists work, the artist themselves and some general knowledge questions too. Beat the kids who are predicted D*D*D* and DDD by 10,000 points. I always say to kids who want to do art as A Level or BTEC "It's not just how well you can draw, it's also how well you know artists, materials and techniques." You can be an amazing artist, but if you can't understand how you did it and what the materials components are like, then aren't going to pass.

Some of the kids from my high school went to the Royal Grammar Sixth Form for no reason. They just went there so they can say they went to Royal Grammar Sixth Form, my dad tried to enforce that on me as he went to the Royal Grammar School and left with 9 A*'s and 2 A's, but I wasn't having it. Is great to know skills, but if you can do them, that's even greater.
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ckfeister
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LaurenAlysArtist
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(Original post by ckfeister)
Well majority of BTEC is a joke, such as construction. Art and Design is another thing, if art is just about drawing than why would anything look down on it as a BTEC.
BTEC Construction at my college requires an entire class to build a bungalow.

In Art and Design, you study Textiles, Contextual Studies, Graphics, Printmaking, Drawing and Image Making, Fine Art and 3D Sculpture. You also do one project in which you write proposals, risk assessments, costs, and as I am teaching a KS4 class, a lesson plan, etc.

All of these require essays, annoations in detail, analysing materials, and artists work in depth. I get 12-15 hours of private study PER WEEK. Including the fact I work 10-12 hours a week too. It is a nightmare.

Sure some of the courses we provide are a bit "Why does that exist??" but it builds skills ready for progression to universities, or ready to put into practice at work.
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ckfeister
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(Original post by LaurenAlysArtist)
BTEC Construction at my college requires an entire class to build a bungalow.

In Art and Design, you study Textiles, Contextual Studies, Graphics, Printmaking, Drawing and Image Making, Fine Art and 3D Sculpture. You also do one project in which you write proposals, risk assessments, costs, and as I am teaching a KS4 class, a lesson plan, etc.

All of these require essays, annoations in detail, analysing materials, and artists work in depth. I get 12-15 hours of private study PER WEEK. Including the fact I work 10-12 hours a week too. It is a nightmare.

Sure some of the courses we provide are a bit "Why does that exist??" but it builds skills ready for progression to universities, or ready to put into practice at work.
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LaurenAlysArtist
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(Original post by ckfeister)
Well, constuction students are full of low achievers, chavy or really bad in lifestyle. If you get a BTEC Construction student vs A-Level Physics student which one would you think be generally better. In A-Level its a lot of independant studies but due to information you need to be taught to REMEMBER.
In the world of work, it's usually who can put their qualification into practice not what you know. You can't do much with an A Level with regards to skills and experience until you have progressed onto university. I've already put my BTEC into practice after one term.
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ckfeister
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(Original post by LaurenAlysArtist)
In the world of work, it's usually who can put their qualification into practice not what you know. You can't do much with an A Level with regards to skills and experience until you have progressed onto university. I've already put my BTEC into practice after one term.
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LaurenAlysArtist
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(Original post by ckfeister)
Bit different for prime minister/teachers/doctors eh
Not really, teachers need social skills and visual awareness with regards to health and safety and risk assessments that they complete on trips and lesson planning which you learn doing a PGCE*, not a degree or A Level. I can become a well rounded art teacher with my qualification and I do want to progress onto Manchester School of Art once I leave College. Again, PM's and MP's may need a degree in Law and Politics, but they also need a good sense of social skills and English language. Doctors also need social skills, and to retrieve symptoms on the spot using initiative which is a skill.

These careers need both intelligence and skills. You need skills from experience during BTEC's or Apprenticeships.

May I ask what you are currently studying?

*(Post Graduate Certificate in Education)
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FlyingBird
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(Original post by LaurenAlysArtist)
I'm Lauren, I study a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design and I've been considering this question for quite some time; why are BTEC students underestimated not just by A Level students, but by society too?

So, I have always been a pretty bright kid from a young age (I'm not bragging) and I may not have gotten all A*s (besides Art) in my subjects but I was always eager to learn and passed all my subjects with flying colours. I've always had common sense and initiative so it isn't like I am 'thick'. Why is it when I tell people I do a BTEC, they AUTOMATICALLY think I'm 'thick, dumb and stupid'? Here's one answer.

When you are in high school, looking over what courses and types of education you can go down to reach your career goal, they seem to hide BTEC courses and mainly focus on two routes; A Levels or Apprenticeships as these are the most common routes kids go down once they have left school. I have never seen a school advertise a BTEC course, unless it's sport, hairdressing or childcare. Some of the judgement sparks from there. As a Student Ambassador for my college, it is my job to say how great it is to study at my college and what we have to offer. But I end up answering more questions about A Levels and Apprenticeships which isn't great at all because when I take prospecting students around college and I tell them I study a BTEC I get asked "What are BTEC's? Are they the same as A Levels or Apprenticeships?" it does kind of make me sigh a little bit because schools stir their students away from progressing onto BTEC courses.

An example of my own is when discussing what I wanted to do when I finished school with my form tutor, she told me I was 'too smart' to do a BTEC course and it is just for 'thick people'. This is one of the main reasons I feel like BTEC is frowned upon by society. It is the BTEC students that may not be so well behaved that create this impact on the rest of the students who actually are passionate about the BTEC course they are on.

When I consider the A Level students perspective, they see it as we 'don't get any work, too much spare time and when we do the work is easy'. As an Art and Design student who also works all weekend, I get a tonne of work with no 'spare time'. In 6 weeks, I have to have filled an A3 sketchbook with thorough essays, annotations and evaluations. Also including drawings, paintings and artist research. When applying for Student Governor of my college (the head student of the entire college including BTEC, Apprenticeships, A Levels and Foundation Courses) the girl who earned the role of Governor, was a girl who looked down upon me when I applied to be a student ambassador as I am a BTEC student and she is an A Levels student. I am open about A Level students, but I do not get the same respect in return.

Overall, the reason I think BTEC students are looked down upon is because of the negative stereotypes BTEC students have created and the schools lack of advertisement of BTEC courses (other than what I have said previously).

Feel free to post reasons that you may think BTEC students are frowned upon.
I think BTEC courses are seen as less academic as they're normally courses like media production, travel and tourism...Also they're mostly coursework which is perceived as easier than exams.



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LaurenAlysArtist
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(Original post by FlyingBird)
I think BTEC courses are seen as less academic as they're normally courses like media production, travel and tourism...Also they're mostly coursework which is perceived as easier than exams.



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I do a creative arts and media course and a lot of it is independent study to go with coursework. It is all year round with deadlines for practically impossible things yet I feel it is easier to learn things and do an exam at the end of the year. BTEC is all strict marked coursework and it is IMPOSSIBLE to get a D*.
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ckfeister
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(Original post by LaurenAlysArtist)
Not really, teachers need social skills and visual awareness with regards to health and safety and risk assessments that they complete on trips and lesson planning which you learn doing a PGCE*, not a degree or A Level. I can become a well rounded art teacher with my qualification and I do want to progress onto Manchester School of Art once I leave College. Again, PM's and MP's may need a degree in Law and Politics, but they also need a good sense of social skills and English language. Doctors also need social skills, and to retrieve symptoms on the spot using initiative which is a skill.

These careers need both intelligence and skills. You need skills from experience during BTEC's or Apprenticeships.

May I ask what you are currently studying?

*(Post Graduate Certificate in Education)
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LaurenAlysArtist
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(Original post by ckfeister)
I come from a straight to work family, I'm the only one EVER go to into university and only one getting As and above. I'm doing GCSEs this year and A-Level next year then Master degree in Physics with Education at Cambridge I have been held back but I ignored it unlike my family.

I'm the most logical, average social person in the family I have a work-attiude like BTEC students but in A-Level route due to higher wages and have a talent in physics/chemistry.
You can't actually say anything about the behaviour of BTEC students as you haven't experienced college yet. Funny thing is, I'm the first person in my family who's gone into FE and been a prefect. Once you leave school GCSE's mean NOTHING it's all about A Level Grades and UCAS points. I feel that if you want a science career path a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science is best for you, coming from someone who knows a lot about college. Advanced BTECs spark a lot of interest as you will focus primarily on science 15 hours a week. Take a look at the BTEC science courses provided before you make your judgement unless you want to do another subject like English/Maths.

You seem very quick to judge BTEC students, have you had a bad experience with them? Are you aware of the degree system?

A BTEC Level 3 course is advanced (which is the A in A levels) course which is the equivalent of 3 A Levels.
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ckfeister
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(Original post by LaurenAlysArtist)
You can't actually say anything about the behaviour of BTEC students as you haven't experienced college yet. Funny thing is, I'm the first person in my family who's gone into FE and been a prefect. Once you leave school GCSE's mean NOTHING it's all about A Level Grades and UCAS points. I feel that if you want a science career path a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science is best for you, coming from someone who knows a lot about college. Advanced BTECs spark a lot of interest as you will focus primarily on science 15 hours a week. Take a look at the BTEC science courses provided before you make your judgement unless you want to do another subject like English/Maths.

You seem very quick to judge BTEC students, have you had a bad experience with them? Are you aware of the degree system?

A BTEC Level 3 course is advanced (which is the A in A levels) course which is the equivalent of 3 A Levels.
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1secondsofvamps
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Both my friend and I are BTEC students, currently doing level 3 extended diploma in health and social care.
That question is something I always ask myself. But now it's gotten to the point where I just don't care. People always assume that BTEC student are dumb and not academically strong enough to do A-levels. However that's not the truth. My friend and I did alright with our GCSEs meaning we were able to do A-levels, we just chose not to. In fact a lot of the girls in my class are pretty bright. It's just with the career we wanted to go into we felt that BTEC was more beneficial, not forgetting the fact that it allows us to do more work experience than the A-level health and social care.
At the end of the day why should it matter what we're doing in college. I'm doing something I enjoy, I can still get into uni and find a good job.
There's really no need to look down on BTEC because there are no exams/difficulty in getting in Oxbridge etc etc etc
I can write a long essay for this if I wanted to but I'm not gonna
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LaurenAlysArtist
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(Original post by ckfeister)
Why should I do BTEC Science if I can do A-Level get A*A*A and go to Cambridge university? No trying to be rude but.. and I know GCSEs don't really matter but they do to A-Level chances.
I just checked Cambridges site, you can't do a physics degree unless it is POST GRADUATE. You clearly don't know what you are saying at this moment in time. You need to complete an UNDER GRADUATE course BEFORE a POST GRADUATE course. BTEC Advanced in Applied Science is concentrated in the field you want to go down and develops skills and intelligence at once. It's even harder to get D*D*D*, as BTEC's marking system is stricter than the examining board for A Levels.
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(Original post by 1secondsofvamps)
Both my friend and I are BTEC students, currently doing level 3 extended diploma in health and social care.
That question is something I always ask myself. But now it's gotten to the point where I just don't care. People always assume that BTEC student are dumb and not academically strong enough to do A-levels. However that's not the truth. My friend and I did alright with our GCSEs meaning we were able to do A-levels, we just chose not to. In fact a lot of the girls in my class are pretty bright. It's just with the career we wanted to go into we felt that BTEC was more beneficial, not forgetting the fact that it allows us to do more work experience than the A-level health and social care.
At the end of the day why should it matter what we're doing in college. I'm doing something I enjoy, I can still get into uni and find a good job.
There's really no need to look down on BTEC because there are no exams/difficulty in getting in Oxbridge etc etc etc
I can write a long essay for this if I wanted to but I'm not gonna
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(Original post by ckfeister)
Why should I do BTEC Science if I can do A-Level get A*A*A and go to Cambridge university? No trying to be rude but.. and I know GCSEs don't really matter but they do to A-Level chances.
are you for real?
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(Original post by LaurenAlysArtist)
I just checked Cambridges site, you can't do a physics degree unless it is POST GRADUATE. You clearly don't know what you are saying at this moment in time. You need to complete an UNDER GRADUATE course BEFORE a POST GRADUATE course. BTEC Advanced in Applied Science is concentrated in the field you want to go down and develops skills and intelligence at once. It's even harder to get D*D*D*, as BTEC's marking system is stricter than the examining board for A Levels.
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