On 25 November 2010, ministers announced plans to reform the diploma to make it easier to teach and award. This will bring the diploma into line with other vocational qualifications. The diploma components have been designed with the aim of preparing learners for employment or further study.
The purpose of the national evaluation is to provide policy makers and practitioners with systematic and robust evidence which will enable them to make informed judgements about the outcomes of the diplomas for different stakeholders and to make improvements to design and delivery, if appropriate.
It aims to review the implementation and delivery of the diplomas - in terms of the processes and factors facilitating or hindering successful implementation; the structural issues related to design and content; and the systems for planning, organising and resourcing provision and supporting progression.
The overall research design for the evaluation provides a complementary mixed-method approach to address the complex range of issues and aims associated with the implementation of the diplomas.