17 Feb 2021

Remote assessment and invigilation of functional skills


Background

After the cancellation of the summer exams, Ofqual, the exams regulator, moved to a system of centre assessed grades (CAGs) for functional skills qualifications. However, Ofqual has ruled out the use of centre-assessed grades to award vocational and technical qualifications, including functional skills, from the 1st of August 2020.

The regulator ran a consultation on how to grade BTEC and other vocational learners, including functional skills learners, next year should Covid-19 continue to disrupt normal assessments. The outcome of the consultation, published on the 7th of September, is that rather than using calculated results, awarding organisations will be required to adapt their assessment arrangements to mitigate any impact of the pandemic. This could include:

  • changing the way in which assessments are delivered, for example by using an online rather than paper-based test, or carrying out an assessment remotely rather than face-to-face;
  • changing invigilation requirements, for example by allowing the use of online invigilation so that assessments can take place in a wider range of settings.

Current situation 

It's recognised that many learners are currently experiencing difficulty in taking functional skills assessments: they may be unable to attend their normal place of study or work (apprentices) or travel to an exam centre. Awarding organisations have been working on putting in place arrangements for those learners to access alternative venues or to undertake remote assessments. Below is a brief rundown and links to current information relating to remote assessment and remote invigilation for functional skills qualifications. Click on the awarding organisation name for further information. 

City and Guilds

Currently developing a new remote invigilation service, which will be available in the coming months, allowing assessments on their online platform to be taken from home or the workplace and removing the need to travel to a test centre. They will supply invigilators. They are evaluating the use of remote invigilation for future functional skills delivery.

Highfield

Are able to offer remotely invigilated online assessments using screen share, webcams, digital audio and a tethered smart device.

NCFE

"NCFE are delighted to let you know that we are proactively working on a remote invigilation solution for Functional Skills, with a view of making this available to all centres in early 2021. We are currently going through a phased roll-out of a pilot on this to ensure the system, process and support materials are all safe, sustainable, effective and created around your and your learners’ requirements. The valuable insight that we are collecting from centres and learners will ensure your experience is seamless from the start. If you want more information on this, please contact customer support on 0191 239 8000 or by emailing customersupport@ncfe.org.uk.“ There is more information and a link to a registration of interest form here 

NOCN
The NOCN online Functional Skills platform enables assessments to be taken online. Remote invigilation is subject to NOCN approval. 

Open Awards

Introduced remote invigilation of functional skills in 2019/2020 as an extension to online testing for Maths and English at Levels 1 and 2.

Pearson

"Video conferencing software such as Teams, Zoom, Google Meet etc can be used to remotely invigilate an onscreen Functional Skills English or maths test. This is an interim solution to facilitate remote invigilation enabling learners to complete their Functional Skills and progress while we develop a longer-term solution."

Skillsfirst

Their remote invigilation (proctoring) solution is now available, following a six week pilot with more than 320 learners.

Further information

  • For an overview of the current situation regarding the assessment and awarding of GCSE and functional skills maths and English qualifications in 2021, click here.

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