Functional Skills Maths
We ran three Problem Solving in Level 1 and 2 Functional Skills maths sessions, but this did not stop the questions on other areas of Functional Skills maths coming in too. So here goes.
Can the Level 1 and 2 Functional Skills maths papers say that learners are allowed to use a dictionary or bilingual dictionary?
Yes, they can, we will be implementing a change to the front covers for papers released from September onwards.
You mentioned at the beginning that the learners are not good at doing the checks. Would you mind outlining the checks that you expect to see please?
For Level 1 and 2,
- We can ask the learner to perform a simple check with no restrictions.
- We can ask the learner to perform a reverse calculation.
- We can ask the learner to use estimation.
- We can ask the learner to check a specific part of their working out.
Is it possible for the board to give teachers some idea of the scenario of the exam papers, so that we can prepare them for the exam?
Each question on the Level 1 and 2 exam paper is in a different context, it would not be feasible or helpful to supply these in advance. Functional Skills learners need to be able to apply their learning in a variety of contexts.
We can't understand how mean from a frequency table falls into Functional Skills? The learners will never use it in their day to day lives.
The content for Functional Skills was decided by the Department of Education after a public consultation.
Are learners allowed to use a highlighter to highlight key words and numbers in the Functional Skills English and Maths paper-based exams?
Learners are allowed to use highlighters, we even provide a highlighter tool on our onscreen exams. Highlighter doesn't show up on the scanned images so doesn't cause any issues with marking either.
Functional Skills English
We ran three sessions on Developing Functional Skills Writing Skills. As with maths, there were lots of questions.
Can an Entry Level learner have a reader?
The Quality Assurance Handbook states that:
Computer/screen readers (assistive technology) may be used in the Reading component of the Functional Skills qualification in English where their use reflects learners’ normal way of reading. A computer/screen reader (assistive technology) is an acceptable arrangement, since it still allows learners to meet the requirements of the reading standards independently. A ‘human’ reader cannot be used to demonstrate the requirements of the standards as this does not meet the requirement for independence.
So, a learner is not allowed a reader.
Are examples of a good pass available for Functional Skills writing?
We have examples of marked learner work on our website. This includes examples of good pass, a borderline pass, a borderline fail and a fail.
Where can the retired papers be found on the website?
Our retired past papers are available here:
Can we request marked papers to be returned?
Our papers stay live for up to a year, so we are unable to return scripts. Feedback on Level 1 and 2 scripts is available from ResultsPlus.
My learner has dyslexia. Is this taken into account when marking their spelling? And My learners are ESOL learners, is that ever taken into consideration when marking?
The background of learners is not taken into account when marking their work. The response would be judged on its merits, with the MS carefully applied. If word order errors affect clarity, coherence and accuracy/effectiveness significantly, the response would be placed in the bottom band for Composition. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are considered holistically so a response that uses standard English grammar and is punctuated accurately but spells only some words correctly only is not automatically placed in the bottom band. Depending on overall SPaG accuracy, such responses would receive a mark at the top of the bottom band or the bottom of the middle band.
For webforms, we find learners can get confused if asked to write, for example, a complaint. They know it requires a formal tone but are unsure about salutations and endings. Is there any guidance on this please?
No particular formatting features are required. In real life, some forms would have a screen/section either before or after the box for the complaint content. We don't replicate this in the exam and so don't expect candidates to use particular features, including salutations and valedictions.
Is it still the case that both the sender's and recipient's address is required only at level 2 and only the sender's address is required at level 1?
No. Candidates at both levels should use standard letter formatting conventions.
Chris Briggs - Sector Manager Post 16 English and Maths