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Assessment and certification January 2021

This information relates to the externally set controlled tasks January 2021 for the following qualifications:  

  • AIM Qualifications Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills 603/3985/8 (live)
  • AIM Qualifications Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills 601/3284/X (expiring) 
  • AIM Qualifications Level 3 Counselling 603/3986/X (live)
  • AIM Qualifications Level 3 Counselling 601/3286/3 (expiring) 
  • AIM Qualifications Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice 603/3987/1 (live) 
  • AIM Qualifications Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice 601/3288/7 (expiring) 

Level 2 and Level 3 

The Level 2/3 counselling qualifications have been grouped into Category B. As a result, the January assessments will potentially be eligible for further mitigations such as Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs).

The learners' assessments that were completed in January have been assessed and internally verified by centre staff and these will be verified by the external verifiers to allow certification to take place. 

Following on from the standardisation activities that took place during early March 2021, the finalised mark schemes along with additional guidance are available to download on the AIM portal. Any changes to the mark scheme are clearly identified and you must ensure you are using the updated version and grade boundaries.

Centres are now required to review their initial assessments to ensure that the completed and standardised mark scheme is applied fully. The centre-based assessments should be provided to the internal verifiers (IV) to ensure they have been applied correctly, we would expect the IV to have checked for unconscious bias and record this on the IV report.

Centres will then be asked to present these to the EV for final sign off. The EV will be reviewing the submissions against the centre’s usual assessment and grading pattern to ensure there is parity across previous cohorts and other cohorts during this session.

Level 2/3 certification plans

Ofqual has identified two groups of learners and a range of scenarios within each group. Each group has their own awarding plan. There is potential for confusion within these, and we have therefore contacted affected centres directly with the options for each group. Please contact enquiries@aim-group.org.uk if you need any assistance with this. 

The different groups of learners are detailed below: 

Certificating learners and non-certificating learners

Certificating learners are learners who were due to complete the qualification in full and receive their qualification certificate following this assessment.

  • Ofqual has specifically identified these learners as not being eligible for TAGs under the VCRF.

Non-certificating learners are learners who were not due to complete the qualification in full at this stage and had further assessments to complete.

  • Ofqual has specifically identified these learners as being eligible for TAGs under the VCRF. This means that they can be awarded a grade based on your internal teacher assessments instead.

Certificating learners who sat the assessment

Learners who you believe have achieved the grade you expected them to achieve, should be awarded the assessment based on the grade achieved in their assessment.

  1. Centres can submit an eRAC with these learners and achievement now and present this to their EV for verification. All other learners should be left blank on the eRAC.
  2. All claims must be made by 23 April 2021.
  3. Results available to see on Portal by 7 May 2021.

Learners who you believe did not achieve the grade you expected them to achieve, are eligible to be awarded the assessment based on the grade achieved in their assessment. Where centres feel a learner was disadvantaged by the COVID-19 closures and did not achieve their expected grade, they can apply for special consideration as per the AIM special consideration policy. Centres will be expected to provide evidence to support ythe request.

  1. Centres should submit an eRAC with these learners and achievement now and present this to their EV for verification. All other learners should be left blank on the eRAC. The eRAC would be updated by AIM should a special consideration be awarded.
  2. All claims must be made by 23 April 2021.
  3. Results available to see on Portal by 7 May 2021.

Certificating learners who did not sit the assessment but were initially scheduled to do so

Learners who did not sit the assessment in January, will not be awarded for the January assessment. Centres will be able to commit these learners to the summer assessments, which we anticipate to be awarded by TAGs (we are awaiting confirmation of this in the confirmed VCRF documentation).

  • Centres should not submit any eRAC for these learners claims for the January assessment.

Non-certificating learners who sat the assessment

Learners who you believe have achieved the grade you expected them to achieve, should be awarded the assessment based on the grade achieved in their assessment.

  1. Centres can submit an eRAC with these learners and achievement now and present this to their EV for verification.  All other learners should be left blank on the eRAC.
  2. All claims must be made by 23 April 2021.
  3. Results available to see on Portal by 7 May 2021.

Learners who you believe did not achieve the grade you expected them to achieve, may potentially be awarded the assessment based on your expected TAG. Centres will be expected to provide evidence of the learners' expected grade achievements. Examples of supporting evidence might include a completed mock exam paper or an essay that has been completed in preparation for the assessments. Centres will be provided with further guidance on the application process for TAGs once AIM can progress the claims.

  1. Centres should not submit an eRAC for these learners just yet as AIM cannot award this scenario until the VCRF is live. We will provide further guidance on this once we can progress these claims.
  2. All claims must be made by 23 April 2021.
  3. Results available to see on Portal by 7 May 2021.

Non-certificating learners who did not sit the assessment but were initially scheduled to do so

Learners with supporting evidence, may potentially be awarded the assessment based on your expected TAG. Centres will be expected to provide evidence of the learners’ full coverage of the assessment in their supporting evidence (mapping this to the learning outcomes and standards) and associated internal quality assurance activity. Examples of the centre/learner generated evidence might include a completed mock exam paper or an essay that has been completed in preparation for the assessments.

Centres will be provided with further guidance on the application process for TAGs once we can progress the claims.

  1. Centres should not submit an eRAC for these learners just yet as we cannot award this scenario until the VCRF is live. AIM will provide further guidance on this once we can progress these claims. 
  2. All claims must be made by 23 April 2021.
  3. Results available to see on Portal by 7 May 2021.

Learners without supporting evidence, may potentially be awarded the assessment based on the expected teacher assessed grade. We will be providing an alternative assessment that your learners can complete.

Learners in this situation must be given sufficient time to complete the additional assessment and for quality assurance to take place. We do not envisage these learners being ready for submission and certification until the May summer assessment activity.

You will be provided further guidance on the application process for VCRF TAGs once we can progress 
the claims.

  1. Centres should not submit an eRAC for these learners just yet as we cannot award this scenario until the VCRF is live. AIM will provide further guidance on this once we can progress these claims.
  2. All claims must be made by 31 May 2021.

Learners who were not initially scheduled to sit an assessment in January 2021 are not eligible for any awarding from the January assessments. Centres may choose to include them in their summer assessment activity where they will be subject to the requirements set out for the qualifications awarding plan alongside the other summer assessment learners.

The summer 2021 assessment information for this qualification will follow when the VCRF is live and we can provide confirmed information. Centres will not need to schedule  their learners for the summer 2021 Level 2/3 assessments, but must ensure they are registered as a learner on the qualification.

ERAC claims

Centres must claim all assessments using the DIRECT ENTRY eRACs and not via the excel spreadsheet. A video to explain how to do this has been communicated to centres.

In the eRAC decision notes, please state whether the learners are claiming TAGs or No TAGS.

‘Direct entry claims’ allows centres to upload the same eRAC multiple times whereas the excel spreadsheet must be processed before being used again making it slower than direct entry. 

To allow for efficient claims and processing, centres will need to complete a separate direct entry upload of the eRAC for the following groups of learners in that cohort:

  • Certificating learners – all 
  • Non-certificating, sat assessment, grade achieved matches assessment 
  • Non-certificating, sat assessment, claiming TAG as grade does not match expected achievement 
  • Non- certificating, did not sit assessment and claiming TAG for January assessment

Level 4

The Level 4 counselling qualification has been grouped into Category A  as it is a qualification which closely relates to a licence to practice qualification. As a result, the January assessment is NOT eligible for further mitigations such as teacher assessed grades.

The awarding for the January learners has been completed and results have been released to centres. Further information on the summer 2021 plans and mitigations will be released soon.