Summer 2021 Qualification Explainer Tool




This explainer tool shows what's happening with your vocational, technical, and other general qualifications this year


This information was last updated on 10 August 2021

This explainer tool shows how qualifications will be assessed and awarded in the period up to 31 August 2021. It covers qualifications regulated by Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA Regulation (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively).

The information about how each qualification will be assessed and awarded included in this 'qualification explainer tool' has been provided by awarding organisations. If you believe the information to be incorrect please contact the relevant awarding organisation.

The way that your qualification is being assessed and awarded may be changing from 1 September 2021. Ofqual has published a notice which notifies awarding organisations about the changes that are being made to some qualifications following consultation. Further information on this is provided in the questions and answers.

In addition to the information provided in this explainer tool, further details about the approaches awarding organisations are taking to the assessment and awarding of qualifications in 2021 can be found on their websites.

If you are a learner outside England, Northern Ireland or Wales, you will need to check with your awarding organisation, or your college, training provider or school about the approach being taken for your qualification.

More information is provided in the questions and answers.





If you have any queries about this interactive tool, please contact public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk. For qualifications relating to Wales or Northern Ireland, please contact enquiries@qualificationswales.org or ccearegulation@ccea.org.uk.

If you need an accessible version of this information to meet specific accessibility requirements, please email publications@ofqual.gov.uk with details of your request.

Return to the Ofqual Analytics home page.


Contents


This section covers:


What does this qualification explainer tool show?


This explainer tool shows what is happening in the coming weeks and months for exams and assessments that were scheduled to be taken up to 31 August 2021.

It covers qualifications regulated by Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA Regulation (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively).

You can search for and select your qualification and find out the arrangements being put in place by awarding organisations to assess and issue a result for that qualification.

If you are not a learner in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, you will need to check with your school, college or training provider what approach is being taken for your qualification.

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Why are these arrangements being put in place?


It is not viable for some exams and assessments to take place this year because of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular following the national lockdown in January 2021.

Ofqual has been working with awarding organisations to ensure that learners who are taking qualifications that are important for progression, and which are used alongside or instead of GCSEs, AS and A levels, are able to receive a grade this summer and progress with their plans to continue their education, go into the workplace, or further their career.

Ofqual has put in place arrangements that allow awarding organisations to award fair and valid results to as many learners as possible when exams and assessments cannot continue as normal. For many of these qualifications, learners will receive a result based on teacher judgement, called a Teacher Assessed Grade.

For other qualifications, exams and assessments will continue and they cannot be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade. These are mostly qualifications which test occupational or professional skills, knowledge and understanding, or proficiency in a particular skill area. For these types of qualifications, it is essential that learners demonstrate and are directly assessed on occupational or professional skills, knowledge and understanding so that they can be effective and safe within the workplace.

There are also some other qualifications used for progression where exams and assessments will continue. These tend to be shorter qualifications which learners sit at different times of the year when they are ready to do so. If learners are ready but are unable to safely sit an exam or assessment, either in person in a school, college or training provider, or remotely, then they may be able to receive a result based on a Teacher Assessed Grade.

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How will learners get results this summer?


For most qualifications that are used for progression to further or higher education, learners will be able to receive a result that is based partly or completely on a Teacher Assessed Grade.

To do this, awarding organisations will provide information and guidance to colleges and training providers on the evidence teachers should use to make a professional judgement of the grade each learner is performing at. Awarding organisations may also use results they already hold for the learner in addition to any Teacher Assessed Grades to determine a result.

For other qualifications, where exams and assessments continue, they may take place as normal or there may be some changes or adaptations to the assessments. For example, some assessments may take place on-line or remotely instead of in the classroom.

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When will learners get results this summer?


For qualifications that are used for progression to further or higher education, learners will be able to receive a result no later than the results days for AS and A levels (10 August 2021) and GCSEs (12 August 2021).

For other qualifications, where exams and assessments continue, awarding organisations will issue results in line with their usual arrangements.

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What changes are being made to the way qualifications are assessed and awarded from 1 September 2021?


The Vocational and Technical Qualifications Contingency Regulatory Framework (the VCRF), sets out the regulatory requirements for awarding organisations offering vocational, technical and other general qualifications in the academic year 2020 to 2021. That framework divides vocational and technical qualifications and some other general qualifications into two categories:

  • Qualifications where assessments continued in 2020/2021, with adaptations where necessary.
  • Qualifications where many learners will have received a result based on teacher judgement, called a Teacher Assessed Grade, because their exams and assessments have not been able to go ahead.

The Department for Education has made the decision that all exams and assessments should go ahead in academic year 2021 to 2022. Therefore, from 1 September 2021, results must be based on evidence from exams and other assessments and Teacher Assessed Grades will no longer be permitted.

However, all students who would have been eligible to receive a Teacher Assessed Grade before 1 September 2021 may continue to receive them, and students who are appealing a result based on a Teacher Assessed Grade will be permitted to do so.

Any students who did not complete their qualifications this summer can also carry forward any results based on TAGs (or CAGs from 2020) into the next (or subsequent) academic years.


How do I find my qualification?


Please search for your qualification in the qualifications box. You can do this by using a keyword (e.g. 'English' or 'First Aid'). The search will return all qualifications having that keyword in the qualification title. Please scroll up or down and select your qualification from the list.

You can also narrow down the list of qualifications by first selecting the awarding organisation offering your qualification and/or qualification level.

Please note that you can enter or remove text in all the three fields (qualification, awarding organisation and qualification level).

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Are all Functional Skills Qualifications (FSQs) included in the explainer tool?


All FSQs that are currently available to learners are included in the Explainer Tool, both legacy and reformed, and across all 3 subjects and all levels.

Some AOs only offer reformed FSQs, such as AQA; and some only offer legacy FSQs, such as EAL and OCR.

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Why does my qualification appear more than once?


Sometimes different qualifications offered by the same awarding organisation have the same title. In these cases, we have provided the Qualification Number alongside qualification title to help you identify your qualification.

It is important to make sure that you are looking at the right qualification because awarding organisations may have different approaches to assessment even if the qualification title is the same. If needed, please contact your college, training provider or school to find out your qualification number.

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What if I am unable to find my qualification?


Please check that you have correctly spelled the keyword that you are using.

If you are able to select the name of the awarding organisation and/or qualification level before searching for your qualification, it should narrow down the list of qualifications to select.

If these steps do not help and you are unable to find your qualification please contact your college, training provider or school.

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What is the source of this information?


Ofqual collected information on how qualifications will be assessed and awarded England, Wales and Northern Ireland from awarding organisations.

Data related to qualifications taken only in Wales or Northern Ireland was provided to Ofqual by Qualification Wales and CCEA Regulation respectively.

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How do I find out when a specific qualification on this tool was last updated?


We only update the tool once an AO has contacted us with new information about the delivery of their qualification.

To find out when a specfic qualification was last updated, you will need to download the full file. Column I shows when the last update for any qualification occurred.

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I have a question about my qualification. Whom do I contact?


Please contact your college, training provider or school in the first instance with any queries about your qualification.

For questions about this interactive tool, please contact Ofqual at public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk.

For qualifications relating to Wales or Northern Ireland, please contact enquiries@qualificationswales.org or ccearegulation@ccea.org.uk.

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If you have any queries about this interactive tool, please contact public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk. For qualifications relating to Wales or Northern Ireland, please contact enquiries@qualificationswales.org or ccearegulation@ccea.org.uk.

If you need an accessible version of this information to meet specific accessibility requirements, please email publications@ofqual.gov.uk with details of your request.

Return to the Ofqual Analytics home page.