Functional Skills update

Functional Skills update: December 2021

Results turnaround time

We wanted to let you know that for a short period of time, we must temporarily put our 6 working day results turnaround for Functional Skills on hold for the reasons below.

To ensure we meet our regulatory obligations, we have to maintain our bank of assessment papers on a regular basis for each assessment. This requires us to introduce new assessment papers periodically to ensure the bank remains fresh, and to allow us to evaluate and improve them.

As new assessment papers are introduced into the bank, they need to go through an awarding process with live learner data to allow us to set a valid and reliable pass mark for that paper.

To enable us to apply a reliable pass mark that does not disadvantage learners, and to ensure a valid process, a suitable number of assessments must be sat by learners. Once we have met the sufficient number of assessments, we will return to our market-leading results turnaround time.

Online external assessments 

New onscreen external assessments will be introduced from 1 January 2022. Learners booked onto Functional Skills online external assessments between 1 January and 11 February will be subject to amended results release timescales to allow for awarding. Results for assessments sat in this time will be issued on 18 February 2022.

Paper-based 

New paper-based external assessment papers will be introduced from 6 January 2022. Learners booked onto Functional Skills paper-based external assessments between 6 January and 11 February will be subject to amended results release timescales to allow for awarding. Results for assessments sat and returned to NCFE in this time will be issued on 18 February 2022.

If you don’t receive the learners’ results within 6 working days after the assessment is uploaded to our online assessment system, or returned to NCFE if paper-based, then you will receive the result by the above advertised date.

We will be introducing other new papers into our bank of paper-based assessments throughout the academic session to ensure we have a wide range of papers available for learners.

External assessment administration

Since the reintroduction of on-demand paper based external assessments, there has been a spike of errors in the administration of these assessments in centres, and this has had a negative impact on some learners. This has been both learners being given the wrong paper to complete by the invigilator, and errors with the two sections of the Maths external assessment.

Please ensure Invigilators reference the Invigilators Register when preparing for an assessment, ensuring learners receive not only the correct qualification paper, but also the correct paper version. External assessment papers are packaged by bookings in line with the Invigilators Register, so there is no requirement for centres to reorganise papers after receipt. Upon receipt, centres must check that the learners have been correctly booked on to the intended external assessment, and ensure they receive the relevant paper.

If you require support on how to distribute assessment papers, please refer to our Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessments or drop our Customer Support team a message if you have further queries.

QualHub

Over the coming months we will be updating the information available on our Functional Skills pages. This will include removing all information for Legacy qualification that are no longer on offer, moving all Functional Skills qualification information into one location so you have information on all these qualifications in one location, and much more.

Paper Based External Assessments

Functional Skills Reformed qualifications have been available on-demand since April 2021, supporting centres to make flexible bookings of any date/time for registered learners.

Bookings are made in our Portal, and the booking cut off is 5 working days before the assessment date, this is to ensure the safe and timely dispatch of external assessment papers to centres.

We would like to remind our centres to ensure external assessment papers and accompanying Invigilator Registers are returned to NCFE on the same day the external assessment was undertaken, wherever possible. If papers cannot be returned to us on the scheduled day of the external assessment, please ensure that they are stored securely in line with NCFE’s Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment, and despatched no later than the next working day.

Reformed Qualifications - Results Release

As part of our on-demand offer new papers have been, and continue to be introduced into our assessment bank for each qualification, increasing the number of paper versions available for learners.

When we introduce new papers into our bank, they must be subject to an awarding process, which uses completed assessments from a range of learners and a range of scores to set the most appropriate and accurate grade boundary for that paper. To do this requires us to temporarily put our 6 working day results turnaround on hold, however once awarding is complete and grade boundaries confirmed, we will return back to our usual turnaround. 

Further details on how new papers are introduced for each assessment mode, and the results release dates, can be found below.

Paper Based

New paper based external assessment papers will be introduced from the 1st of August 2021. Learners booked on to Functional Skills paper based external assessments between 1st August and 5th September will be subject to amended results release timescales to allow for awarding. Result for assessments sat in this time will be issued on the 10th of September.

Should you not receive the learners results within 6 working days after the assessment is uploaded the learner will receive the result by the above advertised dates. 

We will be introducing other new papers into our bank of paper based assessments throughout the academic session to ensure we have a wide range of papers available for learners, and we will update this page with further details and dates as appropriate.

Online external assessments

New onscreen external assessments will be introduced from the 1st of September 2021. Learners booked on to Functional Skills online external assessments between 1st September and 8th October will be subject to amended results release timescales to allow for awarding. Results for assessments sat in this time will be issued on the 15th of October 2021.

Should you not receive the learners results within 6 working days after the assessment is uploaded the learner will receive the result by the above advertised dates. 

We will be introducing other new papers into our bank of online assessments throughout the academic session to ensure we have a wide range of papers available for learners, and we will update this page with further details and dates as appropriate

Remotely Invigilated Online external assessment

New papers for our remotely invigilated onscreen external assessments will be introduced at several stages throughout the session, with the first stage from the 13th September 2021.

Stage 1: Learners booked on to Functional Skills remotely invigilated online external assessments between 13th September and the 20th of October will be subject amended results release timescales to allow for awarding. Results will be issued on the 27th of October 2021.

Stage 2: Learners booked on to Functional Skills remotely invigilated online external assessment between 18th October and the 24th November will be subject to amended results release timescales to allow for awarding . Results will be issued on the 1st December 2021.

Learners may be allocated an unawarded paper or an awarded paper during the above timeframes, dependent on which paper version the learner is allocated within the system result will be issued within a 6 working day turn around or on the results release day above/within the timetable.

We are unable to advise if the learner has been allocated a new paper in advance. Should you not receive the learners results within 6 working days after the assessment is uploaded the learner will receive the result by the above advertised dates. 

Results Release Timetable - Unawarded external assessments

 
 

Assessment Mode

Assessment Date

Results Release Date

 

Paper Based External Assessments

1st August – 5th September 2021

10th September 2021

 

Online External Assessments

1st September – 8th October 2021

15th October 2021

 

Remotely Invigilated Online Assessments

13th September – 20th October 2021

27th October 2021

 

18th October – 24th November 2021

1st December 2021