AIM approach to learner assessment in 2020/21
We recognise that this year continues to prove challenging to centres and their learners with the recent uncertainty around January exams, statement around cancelled GCSE and A-Level exams in the summer and the release of new frameworks to regulate the summer assessments. We will continue to provide our centres and their staff with as much information as quickly as we can. With that in mind, throughout this year, AIM will:
- use the detailed guidance from our regulators to inform our decisions
- work closely with our centres to ensure that learners are given the best chance to complete their qualifications, whilst maintaining the validity of those awards
- provide timely and regular information to our centres, starting with this statement and continuing into regular centre ‘clinic’ meetings
- make reasonable adaptations to our qualifications’ assessment strategies where necessary. For example, we may choose to replace an exam with an externally set task. Where we do this, we will provide a sample assessment for learners to use as a mock.
We believe that learners have the best chance in their future if they study and are assessed on as much of their qualification content as possible. This means we expect centres to:
- take a proactive approach to assessing their learners, having already modified internally assessed components to take account of remote learning (e.g. for those learners who may have been self-isolating)
- look for opportunities to cover knowledge, skills and understanding from several components in one assessment opportunity: holistic assessment
- review and, if necessary, change the qualification components that learners are registered on, where that option exists. For example, if a centre has registered learners on a practically taught and assessed component this could be swapped for a more theoretical one to better enable learners to be assessed
- apply the regulatory expectations and guidance to allow learners on eligible qualifications who have been unable to access their assessment to be awarded
- recourse to special consideration for learners who have not been able to meet the expected evidence requirements of a qualification and were not on a qualification eligible for alternative assessment arrangements. This means we may be able to award qualifications to learners who have not fully completed all assessments
These principles are a starting point for our communications for this year and we will add to this list as and when we receive notification from our regulators.
For all AIM qualifications regulated by Ofqual (commonly known as being on the RQF framework or Vocational and Technical Qualifications - VTQs) we will be following the requirements outlined in the Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF) announced in February 2021. This will allow awarding organisations like AIM to assign a grade to as many learners as possible this summer in a fair and consistent way, enabling those learners to progress to the next stage of their learning or employment with qualifications that would be recognised by educational establishments and employers. (See VCRF page).
For all our Access to HE diplomas, we are following the guidance provide by QAA in September 2020. This model follows the existing grading scheme and allows for adaptations to be made to assessment and teaching where necessary and appropriate. We are working closely with QAA to remain informed at all times.
The guidance and further information can be found on our Access to HE page.
How we are supporting you
As soon as we receive new information from our regulators we will update the following webpages and email you with details of the most important updates.
You will shortly find there is specific support page for each of regulatory areas and for specific qualification groupings (these match the qualification search choices):
- QAA - Access to Higher Education
One point of contact
One point of contact – please email email@example.com for all queries and this will be directed to the most appropriate person to respond.
Consultations and requests for feedback
We will be using the provider groups, clinics and questionnaires to request feedback from delivery centres around the progression they are making in qualifications and any concerns over the content.
We are running subject specific clinics to support centres where there are qualification nuances that need bespoke information. Information on these can be found on our training and events page.
External Verification and Moderator activity
You have access to the external verification and moderation team throughout the academic year. You can arrange for interim activity to review plans and progress so far, final activity to claim certification or you can drop them an email to answer a query you may have when needed
Centre Lead support and guidance
Every centre has a named centre lead who is available for guidance and advice around your provision, plans and alternative qualification offers.
We have a section of Frequently Asked Questions available for you to use. This includes general FAQs and a separate section for COVID specific questions which will be updated as we move through the next few months of changes.
Acronyms and definitions
We are aware that there are a lot of phrases and acronyms being used currently. Some are explained below: