Reformed Functional Skills | Standardisation explained

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Welcome to an update on the reform of Functional Skills English and maths.

Our paper based assessments at Level 1 and 2 for Maths and English are now live for booking and the first tests have taken place. In addition, our Entry Level tests are now live for Mathematics on our secure site for download.


With the teaching already started on the new standards, thoughts are moving towards the standardisation of practitioners for the internally assessed components of the Functional Skills. Our OSCA materials for Level 1 and 2 English are available for download to ensure your assessors have access to exemplar Speaking, Listening and Communicating materials. Completion of the OSCA form also gives a centre Direct Claim Status for these units, so it is important to complete these in a timely fashion. To give more background to this, we have produced our first Fundamentally Functional podcast where Lottie Kenyon and I discuss standardisation and OSCA and share some ideas on how you can standardise your teams. To further support practitioners, we also have exemplar speaking and listening assessment record sheets, as one of the key questions I am always asked is how much should we write. These forms will show you what is needed.

The marking of Entry Level Functional Skills needs to be standardised as well, especially with the changes to the assessments. This does not need to be done straight away, but it is a key task before the main assessment windows. There are a number of ways to do this, but there were two options I prefered.

The key starting point is having some marked learner work. From the first assessment cohort, as Lead Internal Verifier, I would choose some suitable scripts, anonymise them and mark them. This would then be the standard for the other practitioners. They would be given the scripts to mark and that marking could then be standardised. A meeting is good for this, as it allows for discussion of marking, especially if there are any contentious areas. It also keeps the security of the tests sacrosanct.

The second way is to do this individually with practitioners, producing an intranet guide for internal use. This was a particularly useful way of doing this with practitioners spread out across the country.

Having completed this training, the practitioners are then free to mark their Entry Level tests, and the records of the meetings are a key document for your standards verifier visits.


The production of free resources continues at a pace and we will shortly have lesson plans and teaching resources available for every level. These will be added to the interactive schemes of work in due course and will be downloadable from our website. In addition we will shortly be releasing feedback from our trial of our sample assessments in the form of recorded webinars which will available to view on our website. These will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the cohorts that trailed the assessments.

Upcoming Events

Our Network events during autumn will look at the trial results and will also incorporate in the results of the first live tests. They will be an opportunity to discuss the reform with your peers and with Pearson and to ensure you are fully up to date. Our Getting Ready to Teach events which were held over the summer are available again during autumn, if you missed them last time they are available to register now.

Chris Briggs

Sector Manager Post 16 English and Maths

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