Functional Skills - Frequently Asked Questions

1.       Why have Assessments for Functional Skills changed?

In 2014 Ofqual produced a Thematic Review of the current Functional Skills landscape. The report was on the whole was positive about Functional Skills but suggested four areas of improvement to make the qualifications offered from all awarding bodies more robust, reliable and consistent.  They are:

  • The quality of assessment materials
  • Reducing the risk of malpractice
  • Strengthen standard setting procedures
  • Evaluating better how far these qualifications are meeting user needs.

As a result, all awarding bodies have made changes to their assessments to make them more comparable. To accommodate the Ofqual recommendations City & Guilds have improved the design of our assessments for Functional Skills Levels 1 & 2.

2.       What has changed for City and Guilds?

At the end of 2015, we have made a few changes to our Functional Skills offering, some of these are part of our response to the Ofqual Thematic Review and some of these were part of our ongoing improvements. They are:

  • A redesign of our externally-marked FS English and FS Mathematics assessments
  • Offer an additional ‘in-app’ delivery model for FS ICT which is a new method of delivering onscreen assessments for our e-volve system that allows candidate to use MS Office.
  • Improved forms and guidance for FS English Speaking, Listening and Communications (SLC)

3.       What will these changes mean to you and your centre?

Pass mark ranges have changed. The revised assessments are structured in a different way from their predecessors so the pass mark ranges have changed to reflect this. Indicative pass marks can be found in the latest versions of our subject specifications and tutor guides on the Functional Skills qualification pages on our website.  

4.       What support is available to help you through these changes?

A qualification handbook and a subject specifications and tutor/assessor guide documents for each functional skill, along with a number of sample assessments are available to support you. A detailed assessment guidance and troubleshooting guide have been developed to help guide you and your learners on what to expect, all of which can be found under the Document tabs on the Functional Skills (3748) section of our website.

5.       What if I have any other questions?

If you have any further questions or feedback about the content of our Functional Skills assessments, please do not hesitate to get in touch via our Customer Services team on 0844 543 0000 or by email to

Functional Skills Teaching Guide

A short guide explaining the essentials in delivering Functional Skills qualifications. Learn how to navigate the website, access all the key information and guidance.

View Guide