Spelling and grammar increased in functional skills

There will be more focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar in new English functional skills qualifications, says Ofqual

George Ryan

The results of an Ofqual consultation were published on Thursday and show that there will be an increased the weighting given to spelling, punctuation and at the entry levels in the functional skills English papers

The reformed English functional skills qualifications will have a greater emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar than originally planned.

In its consultation, which launched last September, Ofqual had proposed the weighting of spelling, punctuation and grammar being 30-35 per cent at levels 1 and 2 and 40-45 per cent at entry level. In its response, published today, Ofqual reveals that almost two-thirds of respondents felt this “did not reflect the importance of spelling, punctuation and grammar”.

The exams regulator has now decided to keep the weightings the same as they currently are in the English functional skills paper at levels 1 and 2 (40- 45 per cent) and at 50-70 per cent for entry level.

What is in the new functional skills test?

All of the exam regulator’s other proposals have been adopted unchanged, however Ofqual has revised:

  • Its approach to the monitoring of speaking, listening and communicating assessments as well as the assessment criteria.
  • Proposed rules on issuing results and certificates to make its expectations clearer.
  • Rules on standard setting to make them simpler and clearer, and to reflect the different information that will be available to awarding organisations at the different qualification levels.

The new functional skills qualifications in English and mathematics will be introduced for first teaching in September 2019.

In February, the Commons Education Select Committee chair has called for functional skills to replace the "resource swallowing" GCSE English and maths resits. 

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George Ryan

George Ryan

George Ryan is a further education reporter for tes

Find me on Twitter @GeorgeMRyan

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