Use of external aids and AI in online NCFE assessments | NCFE

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Use of external aids and AI in online NCFE assessments

Updated on 11  2023

This webpage will provide you with a reminder of the policies and procedures around the use of tools, particularly ones that use Artificial Intelligence (AI), that could provide students with an unfair advantage in NCFE online assessments, resulting in investigation, sanctions, and the possible disqualification of students from external assessments.

The use of external aids, particularly in relation to spelling, punctuation and grammar, for example, dictionary, spelling and grammar checking software, or other cloud-based or AI tools, is not permitted in any external online assessments. This is in line with JCQ Suspected Malpractice Policies and Procedures.

Your responsibilities before the assessments

For learners sitting online assessments using a device at your centre, it’s the responsibility of your centre to ensure that all external aids (unless by prior approval as a reasonable adjustment requirement) are disabled prior to the assessment taking place, and that your invigilators are aware to look out for these tools being used. If you’re unable to remove external aids on computers which are to be used for an online assessment, you must notify NCFE immediately by email at [email protected].

We’ve created a short guide on how to disable Grammarly (an external aid which supports with spelling, punctuation and grammar) from students’ Google Chrome, PCs and laptops. Please note that there are other similar AI tools available which are also prohibited, and these must also be disabled.

Access the step-by-step instructions

It’s also your responsibility to ensure that learners are provided with the most up-to-date guidance on remote invigilation before they sit any online assessments outside of your centre.

Learners’ responsibilities before assessments

For learners sitting online assessments at a location other than your centre, via remote invigilation, it is the responsibility of the learner to ensure that all external aids (unless by prior approval as a reasonable adjustment requirement) are disabled prior to the assessment taking place. The step-by-step instructions linked above can be used to support with disabling external aids. If a learner is unable to remove external aids on computers which are to be used for an online assessment, they must notify NCFE immediately by email at [email protected].

Learners must also ensure to access the most up-to-date version of the learner guide to remote invigilation before sitting any online assessments.

Where can I find more information on NCFE’s approach to AI in assessments?

You can find more information in our policy and procedure documents, including:

What if an invigilator identifies a student using an external aid during an assessment?

In this situation, follow the below instructions:

  • Report the incident to the designated person within your centre immediately.
  • Pause the assessment in Surpass and then remove/block the unauthorised software. If necessary, the invigilator should summon assistance.
  • At the discretion of your centre, a student can continue with the assessment once the unauthorised software has been removed, but NCFE must be notified via the NCFE learner malpractice form with precise details of when and how it was identified,
  • The invigilator or designated person has the right to stop the external assessment immediately. This decision must only be made in exceptional circumstances where malpractice is irrefutable. Once stopped, no allowance can be given retrospectively if the decision is deemed invalid.
  • In all cases, the head of centre has a duty to report all potential malpractice identified to NCFE using the malpractice notification form NCFE learner malpractice form.
Further support

If you have any queries on the use of external aids or AI in assessments, please contact our Customer Support team at [email protected].