How FE qualifications could be assessed this year

Ofqual has set out how technical and vocational qualifications could be assessed this summer
14th May 2020, 12:30pm

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How FE qualifications could be assessed this year

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/how-fe-qualifications-could-be-assessed-year
Ofqual: How Technical Qualifications Will Be Assessed This Year

Ofqual has detailed plans today how technical and vocational qualifications could be assessed this summer. 

In a new document, Summer 2020 results for vocational, technical and other qualifications, the exams regulator set out its regulatory framework for qualifications, which involves qualifications split into three categories: those used for progression to further or higher education; qualifications that are used to signal occupational competence; and qualifications with a "mixed purpose". While the plans are not final, the document offers additional detail prior to the publication of Ofqual's final consultation response. 


Background: Ofqual plan for awarding technical qualifications

More: Functional skills grades to be 'calculated'

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Qualifications used for progression to further or higher education would receive calculated results judged by teachers, Ofqual stressed. 

For qualifications that are used to signal occupational competence, the regulator said adjustments to assessment should be made. However, Ofqual said that there "may be no option but for learners to wait until assessments can take place as normal again" because the assessments would not be safe or meet employers' requirements.

If qualifications have a mixed purpose, Ofqual said it expected awarding bodies to consider which of the above categories the qualification it is most closely aligned with and then either give a calculated result with an adapted assessment potentially being made available where this is not possible, or provide an adapted assessment. 

Which qualifications are covered?

  • The qualifications covered by the new framework are those used for progression either to further or higher education, or into and through employment, or used for both purposes, those approved for public funding in England for 14-16, 16-19, 19+ learners (including advanced learner loans) and qualifications at entry level through to level 6 (level 7 and 8 qualifications are specifically excluded). 
  • The guidance says that apprenticeship end-point assessments are not covered by the framework as the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has overall responsibility for this. 
  • However, both functional skills and Esol Skills for Life qualifications are in scope of the framework.

The guidance says that "if a qualification is determined as being in scope of the framework, as far as possible, all learners of that qualification, no matter their age or the type of centre or setting within which they are taking their assessments, should be able to access a calculated result or sit an adapted assessment where that is made available by their awarding organisation. Where that is not possible, learners will have to take their assessments at the next opportunity". 

Calculated results 

Ofqual have previously said that calculated results may be based on the outcomes of any completed assignments or modules, and/or centre judgements (for the whole qualification, or for uncompleted modules or units) of the result each learner would most likely have achieved had they been able to complete their assessments in summer 2020.

In order to ensure calculated results are "valid and trusted", Ofqual said it expected each awarding organisation to:

  • Identify the evidence that is available, and that is potentially available, with the centre or within the awarding organisation for each learner taking a qualification in scope.
  • Evaluate the level of trust they would place in each source of evidence.
  • Devise an approach that maximises the most trusted source of evidence.

Adapted assessments 

Adaptations to assessments could take a variety of forms. For example:

  • Changing the way that assessments are delivered (replacing a paper-based test with an online version). 
  • Adapting assessment methods (using simulation in place of an observation). 
  • Changing invigilation requirements.
  • Waiving or adjusting placement requirements.
  • Changing quality assurance methods from those previously agreed with Ofqual (standardisation or moderation taking place remotely or online). 

For more detail, read the guidance in full here

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