Preparing for the summer assessment series | NCFE

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Preparing for the summer assessment series

T Levels summer 2024 assessment series – what you need to know 

Please read the information below to support you through the summer assessment series, as these useful reminders will help ensure these assessments go smoothly.

Please see below for more information on:

  • reminders on social media sharing and risk of malpractice
  • booking cut-off dates
  • reasonable adjustments
  • special considerations
  • assessment variation request
  • changes to student declaration requirements
  • everything you need to know about Occupational Specialisms (OS)
  • key reminders on the Employer Set Project (ESP) 
  • key reminders on core exams – including a note on the use of AI tools.

At all times, please remember that live assessment material, including project briefs, assessment materials and other related documents must not be shared or discussed on social media or through messaging apps or with individuals in other organisations that are not directly involved in the set-up of the assessment. If you have questions about the materials, queries should be directed to us so that we can support you. Any instances where materials are discussed on social media groups will be investigated as malpractice and could result in sanctions on providers, staff and students. Please review and take note of the JCQ guidelines on malpractice and maladministration (specifically looking at section 3.3.1). These guidelines outline the importance of maintaining security of all external assessment materials, which is part of your centre agreement with us. 

The booking cut-off for all assessments has now passed and any bookings made now will be subject to late booking fees. Please see the T Level fees section of our fees and pricing document, pages 17-18.

Reasonable adjustments can reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that will otherwise place a student at a substantial disadvantage during an assessment. Reasonable adjustments must be put in place before the assessment and should be declared at the point of registration. For external assessments, these can be added to the Portal up to the date of the assessment. For internal assessments (moderation), you must record any reasonable adjustments on the evidence upload checklist required per student and submit the JCQ form VQ/IA for inspection during the moderation process.  

Special considerations are intended to support students who face an unexpected disadvantage at the time of an assessment for reasons outside of their control. Requests for special considerations can be made after an assessment. The deadline for making these requests is five working days following the date of the assessment or the last day of a window if that is sooner.       

All students must complete a declaration form (known as an External Assessment Cover Sheet, or EACS) for Employer Set Project (ESP) and Occupational Specialism (OS) external assessments. 

However, following feedback from providers, it is no longer mandatory to upload these to NCFE alongside assessment materials. You must still ensure they are completed, stored securely, and presented to us if requested. 

Pre-assessment key reminders
  • The OS is intended for students in the second year of their T Level qualification and all assignments must be completed within the same series to be eligible for certification. If you have year one students scheduled on the OS who are not intending to sit this summer, please amend the booking via the Portal. 
  • You can access pre-release and live assessment materials digitally via the Portal. These will be available seven working days prior to the assessment for pre-release and for all other assessments three working days prior, unless otherwise specified in the Key Dates Schedule. These materials will include advanced assessment materials where available, and provider guides including checklists to support you with uploading the evidence. Please note that where we refer to working days, this excludes school holidays, therefore materials will be released earlier if the dates don’t fall in term-time. 
  • Please ensure you check the Key Dates Schedule and tutor guides for requirements and completion deadlines, as some pathways have specified dates and times for tasks within a window, but others have more flexible opportunities within windows. 
  • We have a range of useful resources to support you in preparing for the OS, including provider guides which you can access via the Portal and for the Health occupational specialism, we have instructional videos which you can access on our YouTube playlist. 
  • If any issues are encountered before the student has answered any tutor questions, received any feedback or left the room, then the assessment can be re-recorded. If the error is discovered after any of the above points, then a special consideration must be requested. 
  • Where an assessment requires an audio or video recording, you should test all recording equipment prior to assessments to ensure there are no issues on the day. You should also have back-up systems and processes in place to ensure recordings are carried out, saved and stored securely. Please contact us on 0191 240 8862 or [email protected] if you encounter any issues. 
Post-assessment – submit marks for your students
  • The Portal will close at the end of the assessment window, as outlined in the Key Dates Schedule.   
  • All student marks must be entered before the Portal closes. Failure to do this may result in potential maladministration and will be referred to our Provider Assurance team for further review. It also may impact final moderation and delay results.  
  • Providers must inform students of their marks prior to submitting them to NCFE to allow students the opportunity to request a review of provider marking.  
  • If a student did not attend an assessment, you need to submit a Did Not Attend (DNA). Once the Portal closes, students selected for remote moderation will be displayed in the ‘Bookings’ area of the Portal the following day. For more information, watch our ’view students selected for moderation and upload evidence’ video. You’ll need to log into the Portal to see which students have been selected for sampling. 
Post-assessment – moderation
  • Submitting student evidence for moderation: You must upload the required evidence for each student in the Portal within three working days of the assessment window closing. Providers must ensure that adequate resource is available during this time to upload evidence required for moderation. Checklists detailing the evidence requirements are included within the assessment materials. Following initial moderation, we’ll contact you if our moderators need to moderate further students. We’ll contact the programme contact and exams contact to request additional student evidence so please be prepared. Once prompted, we’ll require evidence to be submitted via the Portal in three working days. 
  • Resources to support the moderation process: To support you with the moderation process, we’ve included various resources on our moderation page. Following results release, a range of reports and results information will be available on the Portal for you to download and you can read more about these on our moderation page. 
  • Guidance for uploading moderated student evidence: In order to efficiently upload the relevant supporting electronic evidence (referred to in the individual evidence upload checklists), please refer to our upload guidance. 
    • File names must include the student’s name and the name of the task.  
    • Where possible, files should be no bigger than 1GB.  
    • Up to 10 files, with an individual file size limit of 2GB can be uploaded at one time . 
    • Larger file sizes will take longer to upload.  
    • Files larger than 2GB will need to be compressed. 
    • Zip files cannot be uploaded.  

It’s your responsibility to ensure that all files produced by students for moderation are uploaded and that all files can be opened, aren’t corrupted, or password-protected in any way. Please ensure that this evidence is stored in a central location with access made available to the staff who will be responsible for uploading it to the Portal for moderation.  

Post-assessment: T Level Education and Early Years only – Submitting evidence for remote moderation (stage 2 and 3)
  • Moderation visits have been taking place throughout the assessment window for Assignment 2 of the OS; these visits are stage one of the moderation process. If a provider is marking in tolerance during stage one, then no further sampling is required.  
  • Stage two and three moderation for Education and Early Years will take place remotely once the assessment window closes on 17 May. This is only required if a provider is marking out of tolerance. You can find further information on this on our website under the Education and Early Years specific information - preparing for moderation. Students will be selected for remote moderation and will be displayed in the Portal in a sampling plan the following day.  For more information, watch our view students selected for moderation and upload evidence’ video. 
  • You must upload the required evidence for each student to the Portal within three working days of the assessment window closing. Checklists detailing the evidence requirements have been supplied by your moderator and saved within the OneDrive folder used for stage one sampling evidence. The evidence required for each stage of sampling remains the same. Please see the moderation section above for guidance on how to upload evidence. 
  • Following stages two and three sampling if the moderator requires further student samples, contact will be made with your programme contact and exams contact to request this so please be prepared. Once prompted, we’ll require evidence to be submitted via the Portal within three working days. 
  • Failure to submit evidence within the required timescales will result in delays to final moderation and student results. This will also affect your provider's risk rating following moderation. Failing to submit evidence may result in potential maladministration and will be referred to our Provider Assurance team for further review.    
Pre-assessment
  • You can access assessment material digitally via the NCFE Portal. This will be available three working days prior to the assessment, unless otherwise specified in the Key Dates Schedule. These materials will include advanced assessment materials where available, and provider guides including checklists to support you with evidence upload.  
  • Please ensure you check the Key Dates Schedule and provider guides for requirements and completion deadlines, as some pathways have specified dates and times for tasks within the window.  
  • You should test recording equipment prior to assessments to ensure there are no issues on the day. You should also have back-up systems and processes in place to ensure recordings are carried out, saved and stored securely. Please contact us on 0191 240 8862 or [email protected] if you encounter any issues.  If any issues are encountered before the student has answered any tutor questions, received any feedback, or left the room then the assessment can be re-recorded immediately.  If the error is discovered after any of the above points, then a special consideration must be requested.    
  • We want to remind you that all T Level assessments should be completed independently by students, who are demonstrating their own knowledge and understanding. Where AI is misused, students may be investigated for malpractice and maladministration. 
Post-assessment – evidence upload
  • Following your feedback and to overcome the challenges some providers faced when uploading evidence during the summer 2023 assessment series, we’ve made several improvements to our Portal to make things easier for your colleagues. This includes improvements to the speed and capacity of the NCFE Portal. The Portal will also now tell you how much of your evidence has uploaded and confirm when uploads are complete. 
  • Although we’ve made many improvements to our Portal, we understand that with many providers using it at the same time and varying internet connections can impact upload speeds. To support you with using the Portal, we’ve created an upload guidance document and handy video guide with all the information you need, including maximum file sizes and formats. Please also use the checklists which are contained within the assessment materials on the Portal. Important: you must ensure the maximum file size that you’re uploading is 2GB! 
  • The upload window will now be open from the start of the assessment window, this means that you’ll be able to upload tasks as they’re completed to extend the available time to complete the upload. 
  • Evidence must be uploaded three working days after the closure of the assessment window. This has been extended from two days in summer 2023. We’ve made this change to give you more time as we understand some of you found it challenging last year to upload all the evidence before the deadline. 
  • We’ll check the evidence after it has been uploaded, and if necessary, we’ll let you know if there’s any missing or corrupt evidence or if there are any other problems with the evidence you’ve uploaded. We’ll apply strict timescales to our review and response, minimising any risk to students’ results. 
  • If your students were booked onto the ESP this series but will not complete it, please ensure you’ve notified us by submitting a completed and signed invigilator’s register, also uploaded via the Portal. 
  • You can now decouple the two core sub-component (core exams and ESP) so that students do not need to sit both in the same series; however, to receive a core component result, students will still have to sit both the core exams and ESP before they can certificate. 
  • As a reminder, students must complete both core papers A and B in the same series for all attempts, with a core exam sub-component result based on the combined outcomes within a series. They can’t split their attempts on each paper across different series, or resit just one of the two core exam papers.  
Use of AI in T Level assessments

JCQ has recently updated their guidance on AI use in assessments, aimed primarily at use within non-examined assessments and provider-based assessments. All providers must read and take note of this guidance. 

We want to remind you that all T Level assessments should be completed independently by students, who are demonstrating their own knowledge and understanding. Where AI is misused, students may be investigated for malpractice and maladministration. 

Please ensure you disable all external aids prior to the assessment. Follow our step-by-step instructions on how to disable Grammarly and other external aids. 

Invigilated assessments

We’d like to remind you that there is a 30-minute flexible window on the start time (as stated in the Key Dates Schedule) with no requirement to notify us. You can submit an assessment variation request for our approval if the 30-minute flexibility is insufficient. 

Paper-based assessments
  • You’ll receive papers from three working days prior to each assessment. 
  • Please return papers using the Yellow Label service. Papers must be returned after each assessment, and you should not, for example, retain paper A papers to return alongside paper B papers. 
  • There is no need to return unused assessment papers. 
Online assessments

Please open SecureClient on the devices that will be used during the assessments to allow updates to run prior to the first assessment. We recommend that this is done at least one day before the assessment, not on the same day as any scheduled assessments. 

Assessment variation requests

There may be times when, for known and accepted reasons, a student may not be able to complete an external assessment at the date or time scheduled by NCFE. Our Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment contain guidance on handling timetable clashes, and windowed assessments have built in flexibilities. However, if you know there will be a clash, you can request a variation to a timetabled external assessment. Where windowed assessments have inbuilt flexibilities, there is no need to submit an assessment variation request. Requests must be submitted in advance of an assessment. 

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Further support

If you need any further support in relation to the summer assessment series, please get in touch with us any time via email at [email protected]