Rules Confirmed to Improve Awarding Organisation Centre Controls

Analysis of responses and decisions following a technical consultation related to new Conditions, requirements and guidance

Ofqual has today (12 February 2020) published an analysis of responses and decisions in relation to its technical consultation into the Conditions, requirements and guidance associated with the introduction of Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS). These decisions follow Ofqual’s analysis of the risks associated with the practice of delegating assessment judgements to training providers, schools and colleges (collectively known as ‘centres’). Ofqual announced in September 2019 that all awarding organisations will be required to introduce CASS by no later than September 2021 for all qualifications assessed in this way. This approach forms part of Ofqual’s overall strategy to improve the controls awarding organisations have over centres offering their qualifications.

Today’s decisions improve the controls that awarding organisations have over centres and include:

  • requiring all centre-marked assessments to be subject to a form of CASS, and confirming the minimum requirements these must meet

  • requiring awarding organisations to put in place, comply with, and keep under review a CASS strategy for all assessments marked by centres

  • amending the definition of moderation and making clear that it is a distinct form of CASS, which must take place for all cohorts of learners before results are issued, for some type of qualifications

  • allowing all other forms of CASS to take place before or after results are issued

  • allowing awarding organisations to revoke certificates incorrectly issued by centres

  • Ofqual has decided that some qualifications must be subject to moderation – these are GCSEs, AS and A levels, Technical Qualifications that form part of T levels, and Project qualifications. This list will be kept under review. It will be for awarding organisations to determine the most appropriate arrangements for other qualifications and assessments as part of their approach to CASS, subject to minimum requirements and guidance that seek to balance the need to retain flexible delivery with managing associated risks.

Phil Beach CBE, Executive Director for Vocational and Technical Qualifications, Ofqual:

These changes help to address some significant areas of weakness that we have identified in recent years that, if left unchecked, could undermine standards and public confidence. They will make sure that awarding organisations put in place appropriate controls where they allow centres to mark assessments on their behalf. As a result, accountability will sit in the right place – so that everyone can trust that learners’ awards provide an accurate reflection of their skills and knowledge in the subject and performance in assessments.