Approach to awarding for 2021-22 | NCFE | NCFE

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Approach to awarding for 2021-22

As we work together to support learner success in 2021-22, we want to keep you up to date every step of the way.

On this page, you can find key information on NCFE’s approach to awarding and adaptations this year.

Update on assessments

All our timetabled external assessment details can be found in our External Assessment Timetable and learners should continue to prepare for and sit these assessments as normal. Please note that adaptations are in place for our qualifications, and you can find more details on these below.

You should also refer to our external assessment contingency planning document.

Reminder on adaptations – a summary

NCFE will not be making provisions for advance notice this year. However, we'll continue to make additional adaptations to address any continued impact of last year’s disruptions and you can find further information on these in the specific adaptation addenda on QualHub for each qualification.

Our blueprint outlines our qualification and assessment adaptations for the 2021-22 academic session, given the flexibilities afforded by the Ofqual VCRF Regulatory Framework. You can also see on this page a high-level summary of each assessment type and associated adaptation.

Download the blueprint

The package of adaptations for each qualification looks to ensure that Vocational and Technical Qualification (VTQ) learners are not advantaged or disadvantaged compared with learners taking only general qualifications – and compared with each other. 

Performance table VTQs – resit opportunities for external assessments in 2022, 2023 and 2024

The Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual have confirmed that for external assessments, learners will be permitted two resit opportunities for all performance table VTQs (i.e. for Applied General, Technical Level, Technical Certificate and Technical Awards) for 2022, 2023 and 2024. Assessment opportunities where learners have received results based on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) and Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) do not count towards these resit opportunities.

Marking and grading in 2022

We wanted to provide some clarification to support delivery staff and exams officers on the marking and moderation of assessments in light of the recent measures announced on grading.

When it comes to internal assessments, we’ll be quality reviewing against our package of adaptations to ensure standards meet the revised guidance. For external assessments, when our examiners mark your learners’ assessments, they’ll be marking in accordance with the relevant mark scheme, and our examiners are always encouraged to mark positively.

All examiners across all qualifications are subject to standardisation and we conduct examiner sampling processes to ensure accuracy of marking. However, it’s worth noting that we’ll be determining through evidence during awarding, whether learning loss has impacted on learners’ ability to achieve the pre-pandemic standard and adjusting grade boundaries accordingly, where needed. This is a separate process that takes place after marking and is a transitional measure on the journey back to the pre-pandemic standard during 2022 and 2023.

Managing absences

Our qualifications are flexible, and our external assessment timetable has been created to provide learners with multiple opportunities to sit assessments throughout the session, which we hope will support you in managing absences.

  • If your learner is booked to sit a set-time, set-date assessment and is unable to attend, the preferred option is to book them onto the next available opportunity.
  • If this is not possible, for example, if a learner needs to sit the assessment to complete the qualification imminently for progression, you can submit a special considerations request. These requests should be carefully considered and based on each learner’s specific circumstances.
  • If your learner is booked to sit an on-demand assessment and is unable to attend, these can be rearranged for when your learner is well enough to sit.
  • Please note that we are assured that you have a process for managing and validating absence in your centre, and won’t require evidence to be attached at the point of submitting a Special Consideration, but reserve the right to request this evidence later if needed.
Our Quality Assurance Policy for Awarding for 2021-22

The guidance provided in our new Quality Assurance policy will give you a clear overview of how you can prepare for external quality assurance reviews this year.

Read more

Top tips on certification

We wanted to share with you some top tips with you on the key things to remember during the certification process ahead of results this year.

View the infographic

Qualification specific information

Early Years Educator and Early Years Practitioner qualifications adaptations including information on our knowledge-only pathway can be found here.

You can find information relating to adaptations for V Cert qualifications, including both set-date assessments and synoptic project assessments here.

Saving your units as you go and what this means

We’d like to remind you that you can now mark units for our non-graded and graded qualifications as you go which means:

  • Non-graded: You can mark your learners’ units throughout the year and save these.
  • Graded: You can submit learner grades for unit achievement throughout the year, these will be banked via DCS or be sent to your EQA if needed.

You must remember to go into the certification area and submit your claim so these can be sent to your EQA if needed and certificates can be dispatched. Read more.

Our Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS) strategy and qualifications not eligible for Direct Claim Status (DCS)

Last year, we shared with you that all awarding organisations were required to introduce a CASS strategy no later than September 2021. We completed a full review of our existing portfolio in line with CASS and we previously let you know which qualifications were and weren’t eligible for DCS from 1 August 2021. Please check which qualifications are no longer eligible for DCS here. To support you further, you can find our FAQs document here.

Further support

We stand ready to support you and your staff, and our Customer Support team is available to answer any questions you may have about this year’s arrangements – call us on 0191 239 8000, email us at [email protected], or speak to us on webchat.

Adaptation blueprint

View the adaptations we have put in place for the 2021-22 academic session.

Download the blueprint

Good practice guide

Take a look at our good practice guide to designing and creating centre-based assessment activities. 

Download guide

Our Quality Assurance Policy for Awarding for 2021-22

The guidance provided in our new Quality Assurance policy will give you a clear overview of how you can prepare for external quality assurance reviews this year.

Read the policy

External assessment contingency planning document

This document sets out guidance on what your centre should have in place for any local or regional disruption that may occur, as well as what you can expect from NCFE.

Access the document

Special considerations policy

Learners may be eligible for special consideration if their ability at the time of the assessment has been affected by an event outside of their control. Take a look at our special considerations policy.

Read the policy

Archive information for 2020-21

Information on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) for last year – all grades relating to last session should now have been submitted.

View archive information

Catch up on our webinar

Adaptations for 2021-22.

Watch now