Updated 29 May

FAQs – for Essential Skills Qualifications in Wales

We have been working with Awarding Bodies, regulators and other key stakeholders around the flexibilities for our Essential Skills qualifications in Wales.

Further to QW’s announcement and guidance published on 20 April, we have now produced a set of FAQs jointly with other Awarding Bodies which we hope will answer some of your early questions.

Please find these FAQs below and download the further guidance.

How will Essential Skills qualifications be awarded during the current Covid-19 period where learners have been unable to complete all parts of the assessment?

  • For these learners, we will use two methods to award Essential Skills qualifications during this period: Partial completion and calculated results.

What is partial completion and how will it work?

  • Learners registered from 1 September 2019 for ECommS and EAoNS who have successfully completed either the controlled task or confirmatory test may be awarded the qualification without completing the other assessment component if they were on track to complete prior to 31 July 2020
  • Learners registered from 1 September 2019 for EDLS and EES who have successfully completed the controlled task may be awarded the qualification without completing the structured discussion. Learners must be on track to complete prior to 31 July 2020.
  • Completed controlled tasks will need to have undergone a successful EQA centre sampling activity in line with the awarding body’s procedures.

What about learners who were registered before 1 September 2019?

  • Learners registered before 1 September 2019 will be able to certificate via partial completion as long as they were due to complete between 20 March – 31 July 2020. Please refer to your AB guidance for further details on this process.

What about centres who have not yet been through the EQA process?

  • Centres will need to follow the calculated result guidance outlined below.

What is a calculated result and how will it work?

  • Learners that have not successfully completed either controlled task or confirmatory test assessments prior to 20 March 2020, and are due to complete their Essential Skills Wales qualifications between March and the end of July 2020, will receive a calculated result.
  • Calculated results should be based on each learner’s performance over the course of study and a realistic judgement of the likely outcome for each learner if they had taken their assessment this summer. Further details of evidence required can be found here.

Can evidence from the WEST tool be used when determining centre assessment grades?

  • An Initial Assessment test result on its own would not be sufficient evidence to support a centre's request for certification for either a partial award or complete calculated result. However, if the IAT forms part of a wider portfolio of evidence where the learner's skills can be demonstrated, we would accept a WEST assessment as part of that evidence base.

Can centres use evidence from 20 March onwards when determining their centre assessment grades?

  • There is no requirement for centres to set additional work for determining centre assessment grades and no learner should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after centres were closed. However, if there is evidence available from 20 March 2020 onwards which supports a centre assessment grade, this can be used alongside other evidence.

What about learners who do not receive a pass based on a calculated result?

  • Learners that do not pass the qualification based on a calculated result will be given the opportunity to develop their skills further and take the confirmatory test for ECommS or EAoNS, or the controlled task for EES and EDLS in order to pass when centres re-open.
  • This opportunity will be available until 30 November 2020.

What about learners due to complete their qualifications between 1 August 2020 and 30 November 2020?

  • Learners due to complete their qualifications between 1 August 2020 and 30 November 2020 are only required to complete the confirmatory test for ECommS and EAoNS, or controlled task for EES and EDLS in order to be awarded the qualification.
  • For learners taking the confirmatory test between 1 August 2020 and 30 November 2020, in the absence of the requirement to complete the controlled tasks, centres should ensure that learners are provided with appropriate learning, support and formative assessment in order to prepare them for the confirmatory test.

What will the Awarding Body do?

  • Provide detailed guidance on the process for calculating grades, including how to submit calculated grades to City & Guilds.
  • Review the information provided by the centre against historical data to validate that the estimated grades submitted for the qualification are acceptable.

How will the four Awarding Bodies approach this consistently?

  • All four awarding bodies are working together to ensure all centres are treated fairly and consistently.

What will centres have to do

  • Centres should identify all learners who they would expect to have completed the qualification between 20 March and 31 July 2020, including resits.
  • Centres will be able to calculate results for qualifications at all levels - Entry level – Level 3
  • Submit information for award in summer 2020 to the awarding body by the end of July 2020.
  • Head of Centre will be required to sign off all calculated and partial completion results.
  • Retain all evidence on which the centre has made its judgements. The awarding body may request that evidence or carry out retrospective quality assurance activities.
  • Further details regarding centre action can be found here.

What evidence will teachers be asked to use to make decisions?

  • For each qualification at a centre, where possible all teachers that have taught the learner should be involved in estimating whether they would have passed / failed using available evidence.
  • There are different sources of evidence centres might use and these can be found here.

More detailed guidance covering the centre calculation and evidence submission process will follow.

This document has been jointly produced by the four Essential Skill awarding bodies: Agored Cymru, City & Guilds, Pearson and WJEC.