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 1st 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 31st July 2020
  • Learners registered from 1st 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 31st 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 1st September 2019?

Learners registered before 1st September 2019 will be able to certificate via partial completion as long as they were due to complete between 20th March – 31st 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 20th 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 20th 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 20th 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 30th November 2020.

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

  • Learners due to complete their qualifications between 1st August and 30th November 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 1st August 2020 and 30th 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 Agored Cymru.
  • 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 20th March and 31st 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.
  • SeeSummary of Contingency Arrangements for Essential Skills Wales Qualifications

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 foundhere.

Additional guidance will follow.

These documents have been jointly produced by the four Essential Skill awarding bodies: Agored Cymru, City & Guilds, Pearson and WJEC.

Additional FAQs from Agored Cymru Centres

What determines if the candidate falls into the ‘due to finish by the 31st July’ or ‘August to November’?

This could be determined by when funding finishes or if the candidate needs the result for progression purposes.

If learners were registered before 1st Sept 2019, are they still counted under the new considerations?

We have to take this on a case by case consideration. We would expect to see evidence that the learner was actively engaged in skills development after 1st September 2019.

If learners have not been registered yet, but fall into the category of completing by 31st July, or August to November, are they still entitled to be considered under the changes?

If learners need to get this qualification, then the centre must register them as soon as possible.

Is additional evidence required for claiming if we have the successfully completed controlled task?

This is really strong evidence. You just need to make a realistic judgement about whether they would have been successful if they had completed the full qualification in the summer. This also ensures that your learner has the required skills to progress onto the next tier of their career.

If learners are expected to finish in August to November 2020 and they are a resit would they just do the confirmatory test?

Yes - they would complete the confirmatory test and centres would need to ensure that have enough evidence to make a realistic judgement that the learner would be successful if they were to attempt both components under normal circumstances.

Will there be EQA activity taking place to consider the judgements?

EQA activity will take place following receipt of your estimation documents.

What is the procedure for learners registered before 1st September 2019?

Add the learners’ names to the spreadsheet that we send to you and collect any evidence of their continued engagement in learning since that date.

Could we give learners a mock task to complete to use as evidence?

That would be fine as long as you could be sure that the evidence is the learner’s own work.

If we only have a mock test and nothing else, would we need to request additional evidence?

You need to have enough evidence to make a sound judgement that the learner can pass the confirmatory test and controlled task.

Could we carry out a recorded remote activity to assess that learners have the required speaking and listening skills?

That would be appropriate if it allows you to make a judgement on learner ability.

What If centres are still not open by the end of November?

Together with the regulators, we are monitoring the situation all of the time and will communicate any new guidance as it becomes available.