Students who achieve the very top grade in their T-level qualification will have the equivalent of three A*s at A-level, it has been announced.
University admissions service Ucas says a starred distinction will be worth 168 Ucas points – the same as three A*s, each worth 56 points.
Those who are awarded a merit will have the equivalent of three Bs at A-level.
The government says the “size and rigour” of the new T-level course is comparable to studying three A-levels.
The two-year qualifications are being brought in England in next September.
What are T-levels?
T-levels will give 16 to 19-year-olds a mixture of classroom learning and “on-the-job” experience, including a placement in the workplace of at least 315 hours.
The qualifications – in subjects such as accountancy, catering, finance, hair and beauty and manufacturing – have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses to meet the needs of industry and prepare students for work.
Candidates will be awarded one of four overall grades after their two years of study, ranging from distinction* to a pass.
They will also get a nationally recognised certificate which will show their overall grade and a breakdown of what they have achieved across the T-level programme.
How was their Ucas value decided?
Ucas, which oversees applications to universities, revealed on Tuesday how many points T-levels will be worth for those wanting to progress to degree-level study.
While a distinction* will be worth 168 points (the same as three A*s), a merit will be worth 120 points – the equivalent of three Bs at A-level.
Ucas said the points system was “based on the size of the qualification (the number of learning hours) and the grade achieved by the student, using regulated information”.
Director of external relations Helen Thorne said: “Universities and colleges make their own admissions decisions and accept a broad range of qualifications for entry to higher education, including vocational and technical qualifications.
“Our information and advice for students, their teachers and universities is being updated to help them understand more about the new T-levels and the opportunities they can offer.
“It’s important to remember that not all universities use tariff points in their entry requirements and offers, so we encourage students to check the Ucas website and with universities directly about the qualifications they accept.”
A spokeswoman for Universities UK said: “Awarding Ucas points to T-levels is an important first step in opening up possibilities for T-level students.
“University admissions officers are working with government to ensure that students who take T-levels have a range of opportunities available to them.
“It is for individual universities to decide which students they admit for each course and the qualifications they will need.”
What does the government say?
Responding to the Ucas announcement, the Department for Education said: “The size and rigour of a T-level programme is comparable to a three A-level programme.”
A DfE spokeswoman said it was “the gold standard technical course of choice for young people post-16” and equivalent to A-levels.
“This means young people, parents and employers can be confident T-levels will be just as stretching as their academic equivalents, and will offer students the option of progressing to the next level, whether that is a job, higher technical training, a degree or an apprenticeship.
“Last week, the education secretary also announced that T-level results would be published on the same day as A-levels from 2022, so that all students receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work.”
When were T-levels announced?
The new qualification was announced in 2017 by the then Chancellor, Philip Hammond.
Mr Hammond said technical qualifications had not always been on an equal footing with academic ones and that he wanted that to change.
The aim is to have teenagers “work fit” in a number of key industries to help bolster the UK’s workforce after Brexit.