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Preparing learners to sit Functional Skills assessments

Our Lead External Quality Assurer for Functional Skills has detailed some areas for consideration to support your learners to achieve in their assessments.

It is important to ensure that your learners are fully prepared for the rigours of the Functional Skills assessment papers. For both English and maths, you may wish to consider the topic in the assessment before selecting it, to ensure it is appropriate for your learners.

Maths
  • Where fraction answers are required, learners should use simplest form.
  • Learners should be taught to include the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions that require such a response and always include a £ sign for answers with a monetary response, as these marks could be easily lost.
  • Diagrams showing the position of objects in relation to one another could be drawn from an aerial / bird’s eye view, front on perspective or side elevation. Learners should be familiar with diagrams drawn from all viewpoints.
  • Learners should be familiar with a variety of measuring equipment, such as rulers, jugs, scales.
  • Learners should be taught to write their own sums.
  • Some papers ask learners to measure an item on the assessment paper, the mark scheme allows for this to be verified by the Assessor, who can measure the image once it is printed, and mark the learner against the ‘actual’ measurement.
  • Learners should be familiar with days of the week and months of the year.
  • Learners should be prepared for the problem-solving aspect of the maths papers which require them to read and make sense of information before carrying out a calculation. Some of the questions could appear very complex to an underprepared learner. Learners must also be prepared to write a written response, even in a maths paper.
  • Learners should be prepared through appropriate practice assessment and be encouraged to look at the marks awarded per question, to ensure they include sufficient detail in their response.
English
  • Learners should be taught irregular plurals and their correct spellings.
  • Learners should be familiar with the icons used to represent various social media platforms.
    Where the Presentation or Discussion topics ask ‘what...?’, learner should be prepared to provide full answers, which could include descriptions or reasons to justify their responses or include examples. The question ‘what...?’ could lead to minimal responses and limit opportunities for discussion for underprepared learners.
  • Learners should be prepared and practiced in producing written responses of a suitable length and including relevant detail. Some writing questions require learners to make judgements about what to include, so learners should be given ample opportunity to practice this before they take a live assessment.
  • Where learners are asked to find a dictionary definition, they should provide this ‘in context’, where the question dictates this.

For more information, please contact your EQA.