Vocational assessment

Vocational assessment

Student using drill

Vocational assessment is important as once a candidate has a vocational qualification they may become licensed to practice. It is vital therefore that the qualifications are valid, reliable, fair and fit for purpose. 

The vocational landscape is changing and research has a key role in ensure the quality of qualifications as well as helping to identify trends and anticipate emerging issues and challenges. It ensures that our vocational qualifications – whether knowledge, competence or skills focused – are assessed using methods which are both valid and manageable.

Published materials

Related materials

Reforming vocational education: plugging the skills gap


28 January 2014

With nearly one million 16-24 year olds unemployed in the UK it is easy to see that there is some way to go to ensure that young people leaving the education system are appropriately prepared for the world of work.  

Driving up standards in vocational education


16 March 2012

Find out how OCR's new Cambridge Technicals help to equip students with the skills they need to progress into the workplace or higher education.

Bridging the gap into work or an apprenticeship


23 October 2013

Can ‘traineeship programmes’ ensure that young people develop the necessary skills to enter the rapidly changing world of work?

A brand new option in vocational learning


14 March 2012

A new range of vocational qualifications designed for students aged 16+ has been launched today by our UK exam board, OCR.

Vocational qualifications - are they adequately preparing people for today's labour market?


22 October 2013

For decades it has been argued that England lacks a well defined and rigorous vocational and practical education route. So what can be done?

Learning comes first: shifting the focus from examining to the curriculum


31 January 2012

What makes a good education? View films and download podcasts from our debate on 31 January 2012.

Effective Vocational Education and Training


18 January 2013

In a significant new paper, our Director of Assessment Research and Development, Tim Oates, looks at the whole issue of vocational and technical education in Britain and Europe.

Is 14 the new 16?


07 June 2011

Should there be a national examination at 14 rather than 16? Our debate considered whether the age at which children take GCSEs should be lowered to 14 as well as the pros and cons of a routed system.

OCR and The Open University carve out new career path for vocational learners


22 November 2012

Our UK exam board OCR has partnered with The Open University to open up a new route into university for vocational learners in England, offering flexibility in today’s challenging economic climate.

OCR welcomes Government's backing of Wolf Report


13 May 2011

Our UK exam board, OCR, is delighted with the Government's response to the Wolf Report which confirms that "vocational education is immensely valuable".


Ewart Keep

Tim Oates' and Ewart Keep's views on vocational training (4:10)

Tim Oates and Professor Ewart Keep share their vision of vocational qualifications in the labour market.

Voc Qualifications skills

Seminar delegate views (2:48)

Participants include: Professor Anna Vignoles, University of Cambridge; Neil Brookes and Carol Holloway, Sandwell College; Gemma Gathercole, OCR; Patrick Craven, City and Guilds; Fiona Pethick, Ofqual.


Podcast Icon

Seminar: Vocational qualifications in the labour market (27.6MB)

Professor Ewart Keep talks about vocational qualifications and the labour market

Research Matters

Research Matters 22 cover

Research Matters is our free biannual publication which allows us to share our assessment research, in a range of fields, with the wider assessment community.