FAQs about Edexcel Functional Skills (2024)

Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Functional Skills.

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Contents

  • General
  • Assessment Processes and Exams Officers
  • Speaking, Listening and Communicating
  • Entry level Functional Skills
  • Functional Skills English
  • Functional Skills Mathematics

General

What are Functional Skills?

For an introduction to Functional Skills qualifications, see About Functional Skills.

What format do Functional Skills assessments take?

You’ll find an explanation of how Functional Skills are assessed on the About Functional Skills page.

How many times can learners resit their assessments?

Learners can resit the tests as many times as required. You’ll have to make a new entry each time for Level 1 and 2.

At Entry Level there are three sets of assessments per level for each subject. If a learner does not pass their assessment, they may sit the alternative test, providing there is a gap of at least 14 days.

How long do we have to wait for results?

Results for external Functional Skills assessments take a maximum of 20 working days. On average, 95% of our assessments are marked in under 10 working days.

How do I make registrations for Functional Skills?

You can find general information on making vocational registrations here.

You’ll find more specific details in the Functional Skills section of the Information Manual.

When can I make test entries?

Test entries only apply to Levels 1 and 2 – you don’t need to make test entries at Entry Level.

You can make entries for the paper-based sessions without late fees up to 3 weeks before the test date. You can make entries for the onscreen tests and ICT on-demand tests up to 2 hours before you wish to sit the test, provided learners’ details are already registered.

How do I access live assessments for Entry Level Functional Skills?

You can access the live assessments once you’ve registered learners. You’ll find them in the secure section of the Edexcel website. To access these assessments you’ll need your Edexcel Online username and password.

What are the fees for Functional Skills?

You can find details of Functional Skills fees on our fees page.

All resits require marking, and are therefore chargeable at Level 1 and 2. Entry Level resits are free, as a registration is only closed after claiming a certificate.

How do I apply for special consideration for learners?

For details of how to apply for special consideration, see the special consideration page.

Are there any age limits on learners taking the tests?

There are no set age limits for taking Functional Skills tests, but do consider learners’ maturity and their readiness for assessment when entering them for these tests. Formative assessments by your centre should inform your decision on the level it would be appropriate to enter learners for.

What are the pass marks for Functional Skills?

They will not be the same for every paper. The papers are awarded (that is, the pass marks are set) by senior examiners for every series. This awarding process takes into account the Functional Skills standards and learner performance on that particular paper.

Are there any qualifications that act as a proxy for Functional Skills?

There are no proxies for Functional Skills. However, for Apprenticeship learners there are alternative qualifications. Please see the Specification for Apprenticeship Standards in England (SASE) on the Apprenticeships website.

What is the appeal process for centres and learners?

Where centres and/or students are dissatisfied with a decision relating to the awarding ofaresult there is an opportunity to appeal. This guidance provides information on how to appeal a decision.

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Assessment Processes and Exams Officers

How long are registrations live for entry level?

Five years.

Are you able to register learners on a framework for apprenticeships rather than doing it separately?

Functional Skills are not part of our bundled frameworks.

If a student is incorrectly registered on level 1 and they should be on level 2 would the centre be charged two registrations fees or can they be moved over to level 2?

Pearson does not charge for registration for Levels 1 and 2, so this will not be an issue.

If we register as Entry Level 1 and pass, do we have to claim or could we let them sit Entry Level 2 and then claim this instead if they pass?

The learners are registered on specific levels, so you will need to claim and then re-register.

Can you split the English entry level over 2 sessions?

Yes, you can, if a learner needs it to be split.

Can a support assistant invigilate the assessments at Level 1 and 2?

Yes, they can.

For Entry Level, we print a fresh copy of the marks schemes and guidance notes every time. Then destroy it. This is time consuming and costly and potentially more of a security risk. Can we just keep one master copy of the mark schemes and guidance notes, held securely in our exam store when not in use?

The reason why we ask centres to print the live assessments (including mark schemes) each time that a cohort of learner sit the tests is because Pearson need to ensure that should we make any changes on the live assessments during the academic year (and this has happened in the past), centres use the most updated version of the materials. Although we communicate with centres when changes are done on the materials, there is a risk that communication does not reach the right member of the staff at your centre. If this is the case, potentially you would be using an outdated mark scheme and disadvantaging your candidates.

If you book a test for say 10 pupils to sit at the main site to do an on-demand paper and it is then decided that 1 pupil will need to sit at one of your other buildings, do you have to complete an alternative site form or re-book?

No, we have rules in place within our ICE document which should cover this scenario for the movement of test papers between sites or buildings within a centre.

With the paper-based assessments, if a candidate is taking it on a different day to the main cohort, do they need to be in isolation (so the others don't tell them what's on the paper)?

No, they do not. We have a number of live papers in use at any one time, so there is no guarantee that they will be sitting the same paper as their peers.

If a learner arrives late to a paper based exam how do we manage this in terms of timing with part a and b?

Late arrivals' is not applicable for on-demand assessments. Tests are booked for a specific date and can be taken at any time on that date. You must be clear on when a learner starts and finishes each section and you need to manage that process in the most effective way within your centre. This may mean only allowing the learner to take the test after all other learners have finished or, if you are able to manage it effectively, allowing the learner to start as soon as they arrive. In either situation, you must be able to manage the distribution process of each section, as well as the calculator when required, ensure the learners are given the correct amount of time for each section and they do not have access to a calculator for the non-calculator section.

Is there no scribe, spell check etc on the writing paper across all awarding bodies?

Yes, this is the same for all Awarding Organisations.

Can Claro read be used on Reading paper exams?

Yes, it can.

Can learners have a thesaurus for both reading and writing assessments?

Learners can only use a thesaurus, if they require one, on the reading papers

How will the extra time be split between part A and B of the maths assessments?

The extra time will be split equally, i.e. a learner will get their additional percentage time on both sections.

With the Standards Verifier how may scripts are required for a sample at entry level?

It is a minimum of 5 scripts per subject / per level / per component.

Does the background on onscreen tests have various colours/font size options?

Yes it does.

Is it possible to have two lead IVs, one for each subject, English and Maths?

Yes, it is.

Do the English Reading and Writing assessments have to be held in one session, or even on the same day?

No, they don't.

We work with psychiatric patients. Could we split levels 1 and 2 if this is better for their calmness and mental concentration?

Supervised rest breaks are allowed. Please refer to the JCQ guidelines.

If a student fails each set available do we revert back to set 1 or do we request a separate set from Pearson?

They would revert to set 1.

Do the Entry Level assessments change throughout the year or are those available in September available for the whole year?

Those available in September are live throughout the year.

After 5 days can we give teachers the papers for paper-based?

No, these papers will remain live.

Does the onscreen test have an onscreen calculator?

Yes, it does.

Can bilingual dictionaries be used for reading as well as Mathematics?

Yes, they can.

With the Entry level writing assessments can we see all the assessments and choose which assessment suits each learner best?

What large print and braille assessments are available and how long will it take to order adapted papers?

Full information about modified paper is available here:

  • Modified Papers

This includes the form for requesting a paper. Modified tests need to be ordered ten weeks in advance.

Do we have to video all speaking and listening tests for all levels?

No, you do not.

How will the invigilator know which questions the students are allowed dictionaries for?

The learners will be allowed dictionaries for the full reading assessment.

If you have one student taking an assessment does the Standards Verifier process still apply?

Yes, it does.

The on-demand papers are live from the moment they arrive at the centre to 5 days after the booked date, does this mean exams can be run before the booked date?

Yes, they can.

For all levels in Maths how do we arrange for extra time between the non and calculator exams?

25% can be added via EOL. In terms of timings, that 25% will be added to both sections.

Is the mini (practice) test run on the POP software? (exam dashboard, invigilator dashboard and test player?)

No, it is run on the same version of POP as the practice tests.

When you said for English writing, students can't use spell check, is this overruled if the student has access arrangement in place such a scribe -which would be normally be replaced with word processor with spell check enabled?

No, it would not.

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Speaking, Listening and Communicating

Does Pearson provide exemplar Speaking, Listening and Communicating videos?

Yes, we do. The Entry Level videos are available on our Course Materials page, and the Level 1 and 2 videos are part of the OSCA process. You will need an EdexcelOnline account to access these resources.

Does Pearson provide exemplar Speaking, Listening and Communicating paperwork?

Yes, we do. The Entry Level paperwork, and the Level 1 and 2 paperwork are available on our Course Materials page here.

Where can I get word versions of the Speaking, Listening and Communicating paperwork?

The word versions of the Speaking, Listening and Communicating paperwork are available on our Course Materials page.

How often will I receive a visit for Level 1 and 2 Speaking, Listening and Communicating?

Due to changes in the Ofqual requirements, each centre will now be moderated each year. This will either be through a face to face or a remote visit. Your Standards Verifier will inform you.

How often will I receive a visit for Entry Level ?

You will receive an annual visit which will cover all of Entry Level Functional Skills.

When will my Standards Verifier be assigned to my centre?

A Standards Verifier will be allocated to your centre before Christmas. They will usually contact you in the new year to arrange a remote visit.

When will the visits happen?

Visits usually take place between February and June, depending on the availability of live assessment material. If you need a visit before this, then you may request one by contacting the assessment team. The visit must take place before the end of July.

What do I need to have ready for my Level 1 and 2 Standards Verifier visit?

The Standards Verifier will inform you of everything you will need. This will include: - Assessment Record Sheets - Videos of live assessments (audio recordings not accepted) - Evidence of internal verification and standardisation - Lead IV feedback. Please refer to QA Handbook.

What do I need to have ready for my Entry Level Standards Verifier visit?

When your Standards Verifier contacts you they will provide a list of what they need to see. This will include videos of assessments as well as live assessments on the day (if possible), Assessment Record Sheets including evidence of internal verification, information on learner recruitment, induction and tracking and review of testing facilities and test delivery.

Do I have to video every learner?

No. For levels 1 and 2, we need to see evidence of each task at each level, which can be in the form of a video, though the preference is for live assessments. For Entry Level, we need evidence of one learner completing each task at every level you are offering, which can be in the form of a video, though the preference is for live assessments.

What is the procedure if a learner does not want to be videoed?

It depends. For face-to-face assessments only a sample have to be videoed and so it would be possible not to video the activity (provided that it wasn't the only assessment). We require all remote assessments to be videoed and so the centre would have to apply for an exemption.

Can I use Teams or other onscreen video communication tools?

Yes, you can. Please ensure that these calls are recorded.

Can I assess different Entry Levels at the same time?

As the tasks are different for each level, we do not recommend this.

Can I assess Level 1 and 2 at the same time?

Yes, you can, but consideration needs to be given to the needs of the Level 2 learners who need the tasks to be longer and more detailed.

Can my learner use sign language?

If it is their usual way of working, yes they can.

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Entry Level Functional Skills

How do I access live assessments for Entry Level Functional Skills?

You can access the live assessments once you’ve registered learners. You’ll find them in the secure section of the Edexcel website. To access these assessments you’ll need your Edexcel Online username and password.

What do I need to have ready for my Entry Level Standards Verifier visit?

When your Standards Verifier contacts you they will provide a list of what they need to see. This will include videos of assessments as well as live assessments on the day (if possible), Assessment Record Sheets including evidence of internal verification, information on learner recruitment, induction and tracking and review of testing facilities and test delivery.

How often will I receive a visit for Entry Level?

You will receive an annual visit which will cover all of Entry Level Functional Skills.

When will my Standards Verifier be assigned to my centre?

A Standards Verifier will be allocated to your centre before Christmas. They will usually contact you in the new year to arrange a remote visit.

When will the visits happen?

Visits usually take place between February and June, depending on the availability of live assessment material. If you need a visit before this, then you may request one by contacting the assessment team. The visit must take place before the end of July.

Is there IV paperwork for the Entry Level papers?

There is no specific IV paperwork. The IV signs the bottom of the assessor paperwork.

Is it possible to have two lead IVs, one for each subject, English and Maths?

Yes, it is.

With the Entry level writing assessments can we see all the assessments and choose which assessment suits each learner best?

Yes, you can.

What happens if a learner fails all the Entry Level assessments at their level?

If this happens, the learner can retake the first assessment they took. We strongly recommend that suitable teaching and learning takes place before this.

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Functional Skills English

Is there no scribe, spell check etc on the writing paper across all awarding bodies?

Yes, this is the same for all Awarding Organisations

Can Claro read be used on Reading paper exams?

Yes, it can.

Can learners have a thesaurus for both reading and writing assessments?

Learners can only use a thesaurus, if they require one, on the reading papers.

Do the English Reading and Writing assessments have to be held in one session, or even on the same day?

No, they do not.

Can bilingual dictionaries be used for reading?

Yes they can.

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Functional Skills Mathematics

Can learners use a scientific calculator in the assessment?

The learners are allowed to use a scientific calculator on the calculator sections. The only exemption to this is on the remotely invigilated assessments where the learners must use the onscreen calculator. We do recommend using the onscreen calculator on all our onscreen assessments as the copy to working button helps reduce transcription errors.

Learners are not allowed to use a programmable calculator.

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Teaching support for Functional Skills

FAQs about Edexcel Functional Skills (2024)

FAQs

What is a pass for Edexcel Functional Skills? ›

You'll receive a Pass (P) or Unclassified (U) for each unit and then, when you've passed all three units, you'll receive a certificate. To achieve an overall Pass for our Edexcel Functional Skills English qualifications you need to obtain a Pass in each of the three units at or above the level you are studying.

What happens if you fail Functional Skills? ›

Resit process

If you fail your Functional Skills exams don't worry, a failed exam is not the end of the road! If you fail an exam, a subject specialist tutor will get in touch with you to offer support tailored to your individual needs. The next steps will consider: Areas of development found in the exam.

Can I just sit Functional Skills exam? ›

There are different options for sitting your functional skills exams. You can take them in a local exam centre (but the results take much longer), or you can take the functional skills exams online. Whatever your preference or need, our functional skills support team can help you find the right exam set-up for you.

What is Edexcel Functional Skills English? ›

Pearson Functional Skills are qualifications in English, Mathematics and Digital that are available in England only from Entry 1 to Level 2. Suitable for learners of all ages, they're also an accepted part of all Apprenticeship standards in England.

Is functional skills easy to pass? ›

Functional skills are better suited to students who have failed in maths and English; however, that does not mean functional skills are easier. Just like GCSE and any other exams, you will still need to put in the hard work and revision.

What percentage do you need to pass functional skills? ›

The pass mark can vary from exam to exam. The functional skills maths level 2 pass mark is usually around 50% to 55%. Yes, you can sign up to the free version of our level 2 courses, and get access to free resources, past papers and the pre-assessments for both maths and English.

How long does it take to pass level 2 functional skills? ›

It can take as little as 6 weeks to complete your Functional Skills Maths Level 2 course and pass the test. Much quicker than GCSE Maths, especially if you have to wait 6 months to sit your GCSE Maths exams.

How long do functional skills last? ›

Do Functional Skills Expire? No, Functional Skills Level 2 qualifications do not expire. So, once you have successfully passed your exam online, you should have your Functional Skills qualification for life.

How long does functional skills take to complete? ›

On average the course takes learners between 8 and 12 weeks however we have had learners complete the course very quickly and similarly if you need longer we allow up to a year for all of our Functional Skills courses. Do universities accept Functional Skills?

How hard is functional skills? ›

Functional skills assessments are not as difficult as people think, despite low pass rates, exams regulator Ofqual has said. An evaluation of functional skills (FSQs) assessments was conducted after concerns were raised that FSQ exams were “too academic” and “challenging” for students who were unable to pass GCSEs.

What is level 3 functional skills equivalent to? ›

The qualifications are available at five different levels: Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Levels 1 and 2. Level 1 is roughly equivalent to half of a grade D/E GCSE, while Level 3 is roughly equivalent to half of a grade B GCSE.

What is the minimum age for functional skills? ›

What is the minimum age for learners doing Functional Skills qualifications? There is no minimum age. You must ensure that a full initial assessment has been completed with learners to check that the qualification is appropriate for them. This should include their progression routes.

What does Q mean in Functional Skills? ›

If the candidate is showing as 'Q' on the results section on Interchange, a result is pending or is currently unavailable. In each instance we should have contacted your centre in advance to explain why the result is pending.

How are Functional Skills graded? ›

Functional Skills assessments are graded as either a 'pass' or 'fail'. There are no proxies and no portfolio elements for these qualifications. All Entry Level examinations are paper-based. They are assessed internally and are moderated by the centre.

What grade is Functional Skills equivalent to? ›

Functional Skills are recognised GCSE alternative qualifications, with a Functional Skills Level 2 course being equivalent to a GCSE grade 4 (C), providing a clear answer for those wondering 'What is Level 2 equivalent to?'

What is a pass grade for functional skills? ›

Pass Marks
  • Functional Skills Maths Level 1 – 31-32 out of 60.
  • Functional Skills Maths Level 2 – 30-33 out of 60.
  • Functional Skills English Reading Level 1 – 17-20 out of 30.

What is a pass in functional skills equivalent to? ›

A level 2 qualification in functional skills is equivalent to a grade 4/C at GCSE. Here at Pass Functional Skills we offer level 2 qualifications in both maths and English.

What is the pass mark for Edexcel functional skills English Level 1? ›

Reading Pass Mark – 14 marks. Writing – 50 minutes, 35 marks. Writing Pass Mark – 24 marks.

Is a Level 1 functional skills a pass? ›

A level 1 functional skills qualification in maths isn't equivalent to a GCSE but a level is. As the equivalent GCSE grade to a level 1 is a 2/3 it is just below a pass.

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