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Frequently asked questions

Your most common queries of the week with quick answers

Where can I access NCFE’s approach to awarding for 2020-21 and which qualifications can be awarded through Teacher Assessed Grades?

Our approach to awarding for 2020-21 document, covering information on grades, is here. You can find which qualifications can be awarded through Ofqual’s qualification explainer tool.

What are the key dates and timings for Teacher Assessed Grade submissions and results, and when can I start submitting Teacher Assessed Grades?

Take a look at the key dates for your diary here. The Teacher Assessed Grade portal window will open mid-April and close on 18 June 2021.


How can I catch up on previous webinars?

As part of our support package to you, we are running an extended series of webinars to provide practical advice, examples and the opportunity to ask questions in advance to our expert team. You can catch up on our previous webinars through the links on our support for you page, or on our YouTube channel. You can also sign up for our upcoming webinars here.

What support materials do you have to help us form a decision for a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG)?

We are here to support you every step of the way with awarding in 2020-21 and that includes providing materials to help you make decisions on TAGs. Our Approach to Awarding for 2020-21 document contains a five-step guide on how to use evidence to generate a grade for your learners, and this is supported by both our generic and qualification specific webinars, which you can catch up on or sign up to here.

There is also qualification specific information found within each qualification addenda, found on the QualHub qualification page, as well as a range of past papers and sample assessment material for external and controlled assessments set by NCFE. You can also find grade descriptors which exemplify standards for graded qualifications within the qualification specification.

Where can I find the Quality Assurance Policy for Awarding for 2020-21 and strategy form?

We have recently published our new Quality Assurance Policy for Awarding for 2020-21. This policy will support you with QA for 2020-21 and provides you with a clear overview of the quality assurance process expected for qualifications in Ofqual’s category A, B1 and B2. The policy outlines what is expected from centres in relation to preparing a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) strategy, internal quality assurance and how to prepare for the external quality assurance process.

Once you’re familiar with the QA policy, we need you to begin summarising your centre TAG strategy by completing our TAG strategy form. You can read more about our QA policy and the next steps here.

What evidence do we need to submit for a TAG?

You can find information on this in our approach to awarding for 2020-21 document including step-by-step guidance and scenarios and you can also sign up to our webinar on TAG guidance here.

Please find the answers to more frequently asked questions below.

When do I need to contact my EQA to arrange a review if I am planning to submit teacher assessed grades?

We will be publishing our confirmed QA policy soon, which will give further detail on the requirements and timelines for external quality assurance for Teacher Assessed Grades. In the meantime, if you are in a position to arrange a date for your review, please contact your allocated EQA.

How do I check if a booking has been made for my learners?

You can see a record of all bookings made on the bookings screen within the NCFE Portal. For cancelled external assessments please make a representative booking following the instructions available here. This is so that we have an accurate record of your plans for the rest of the year, and will be needed in order to process your Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) for your learner where required on a cancelled external assessment.

If a learner achieved a Centre Assessed Grade (CAG) last year, can we submit a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) this year for the same unit?

Yes - where an assessment was achieved in 2020 as a CAG and the learner is eligible for a TAG in 2021 for the same assessment, this can be submitted if required (following all published guidance and evidence requirements). It will not be prohibited solely on the grounds of previously receiving a CAG. Please note that all TAGs submitted will be reviewed through our external quality assurance processes, including monitoring for potential eligibility and maladministration concerns.

How many attempts do learners get at the external assessment for PTQs?

As instructed by Department for Education earlier this session, learners are permitted a further 2 resit attempts in 2020-21 (regardless of how many attempts have been made in a previous session). Centres should continue to plan for a Teacher Assessed Grade to be submitted in place of planned bookings onto external assessments which are no longer going ahead. Please see our external assessment page for details on our requirements for making bookings on cancelled external assessments.

If the learners’ work for their synoptic project isn't ready for the submission date, can we submit on the later date or submit a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG)?

Yes – if a learner’s work isn’t ready for the first submission date, then they can submit the work on the later date, but centres should note that this does not give the learners the opportunity for any resubmissions. Where centres are unable to meet the synoptic project deadlines or complete all synoptic project work in line with permitted adaptations, centres can submit a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG). Centres are reminded that you are still required to have suitable evidence to form the basis of a TAG. For more information, please take a look at our approach document.

Where can I quickly find out which external assessments have been cancelled?

On QualHub, you will find an updated document showing the status of all previously timetabled external assessments (between February 2021 and August 2021), and their updated status following the Ofqual consultation outcome. Read more on our external assessment timetable page.  Please note that unless stated otherwise, our 2021-22 dates are unaffected, all previously confirmed dates are still accurate, and further details will be confirmed shortly.

Can I claim a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) for a mid-flight learner?

Mid-flight learners (i.e. those who are not certificating this year), will be able to submit a TAG for unit level components for the units/assessments they would have expected to complete this academic year. If learners are submitting a TAG for an external assessment, learners may still be eligible for a resit opportunity next session where possible. The highest grade achieved from the TAG submitted this year and the resit taken next year will count as their final grade. Qualification grades awarded using alternative assessment arrangements in spring and summer 2021, will not be used to create performance table measures or qualification achievement rates at school or college level for use in accountability. The Department for Education (DfE) will provide further information on accountability arrangements in 2020-21 and 2021-2022 for mid-flight learners separately.

For the Level 1/2 Technical Award in Engineering, there is now the option to deliver the original brief or the revised remote brief. Do I need to let you know which version of the synoptic project we will be submitting?

Centres will need to choose a brief for their full cohort of learners to follow and upon claiming their results for the first or second submission, their nominated EQA will be in touch to undertake an external quality review. EQAs will be in touch upon centres making claims to confirm which synoptic project brief the centre is undertaking. Please note that there are different submission dates dependent on the brief that centres go ahead with. Read more here.

What is a Teacher Assessed Grade?

A Teacher Assessed Grade is a formal judgement of learner attainment against the requirements of a given assessment, offered by a centre where it has not been possible for the learner to complete the assessment that would usually be required.  

A Teacher Assessed Grade should:

  • Be based on as much teaching, learning and assessment activity as possible.
  • Only be offered where learners cannot complete prescribed assessments e.g. because exams or other forms of assessment have not been completed.
  • Represent a holistic view of learner attainment, offered by centres and teachers based on teaching, learning and assessment activity that has been completed.
  • Be supported by substantial evidence of learner attainment collated by learners, teachers and centres with reference to our minimum requirements (see below).
  • Be offered to us with respect to each assessment that would normally form part of the qualification requirement, where the assessment has not been completed.

A Teacher Assessed Grade should not:

  • Be offered in the absence of teaching, learning and assessment activity.
  • Represent centres and teachers’ view of how a given learner would have performed if cancelled exams and other assessments had gone ahead.
  • Represent centres and teachers’ view of how a given learner has the potential to perform or might perform in the future.
  • Represent centres and teachers’ view of how a learner may have performed had the pandemic not impacted their course.

To ensure that Teacher Assessed Grades are accurate, valid and evidenced, centres must:

  • Continue with teaching and learning as far and as long as possible in the remainder of the 2020-21 session before formulating a teacher assessed grade; and,
  • Assess learners against the purpose of the qualification and achievement criteria set out for the relevant qualification.

Where can I find out more?

  • For more information on our approach to awarding for 2020-21, read more here.
  • For more information on qualifications that can be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade, read more here.
  • For more information on qualifications that can not be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade, read more here.
  • For more information on the support package we have in place for centres, read more here.

If you are a learner, you can access more information here.

We have also included below, some useful links from Ofqual: