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Creating Confidence

By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Top Tips for Speaking, Listening & Communication

1. Ensure you have a comprehensive Functional Skills Staff Scheme File in place to include:
 CVs and CPD Logs
 Schemes of Work
 Session Plans
 Standardisation Meeting Minutes
 Regulations for the Conduct of Controlled Assessment
 Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment
 Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy
 Functional Skills Amplification Guides

2. Ensure Functional Skills Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers (IQA) are appropriately qualified. Plan and deliver Functional Skills Standardisation meetings to ensure consistency and quality provision.

3. Ensure tracking and monitoring of learner progress and achievement is in place along with IQA planning and tracking, linked to Assessor competence.

4. Ensure you have ALL of the Functional Skills documentation available to support the Speaking, Listening & Communication assessment, these will be emailed to the Programme Contact upon candidates being registered to the qualification. Ensure you are familiar with the assessment process outlined in the Assessor Guidance.

5. Ensure you are familiar with the Functional Skills assessment criteria and marking schemes. Be aware they may change with level differentiation.

6. Ensure your learners are prepared and have undertaken a practice assessment so that they are familiar with the style of assessment.

7. Ensure you make sufficient notes related to individual learners to inform your Functional Skills Observation Grid.

8. Ensure all learners receive feedback related to areas for improvement, along with what has been done well; to enable them to improve and maximise assessment outcomes.

9. Ensure you choose the most suitable assessment for the learner and provide a location that meets the requirements in awarding bodies Regulations for Conducting Controlled Assessment.

10. Ensure Functional Skills Assessors are aware of the need to provide specific examples of how individual learners achieved all areas of the assessment criteria, without repeating the assessment criteria itself. Ensure authenticity and validity of assessments, auditable to the IQA and External Moderator.
By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Exam Tips for English Writing

1. Many candidates lose relatively easy marks by incorrectly formatting their answers. Along with correct paragraphing, appropriate introductions and conclusions, we expect to see: o Letters– two addresses, a date and correct open and close o Reports – heading, subheadings/bullets where appropriate o Articles – heading, subheadings/bullets where appropriate o Emails – addressee, subject header

2. The source documents are there to help candidates with context and additional information. Lifting chunks of these passages word for word will not gain marks.

3. Allow sufficient time for proofreading and editing your work. A significant proportion of marks are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar.

4. For candidates sitting online writing tests it’s vital to ensure that candidates have been given the opportunity to write, review and proofread on screen as these are very different skills to doing so on paper – especially punctuation where capital letters and the personal pronoun will not be autocorrected.

5. Do not write in block capital letters. Candidates using capital letters for an entire answer will not gain any of the marks available for punctuation.

6. Answer both questions. It is impossible to pass this test unless candidates answer both questions, and in sufficient detail.

7. Answer the question set. A common error for some more able candidates is to provide a well-written response in terms of structure and spelling, punctuation and grammar, but that has little relevance to the task set. Candidates must read the question with care to ensure they are providing a functional response.

8. Provide a sufficient response. Most candidates write responses of a suitable length, which enables markers to accurately assess their skills across the range of marking categories. However, some write very short responses. Whilst there is no mention of a specific word count in the Functional Skills English standards, candidates should aim to write between 250 and 300 words per response. Markers need to be able to establish confidence in candidates’ writing skills and are instructed to penalise very short pieces, typically fewer than 100 words at level 1 and 150 words at level 2.

9. Some questions require candidates to identify language features which may include bias, persuasion, humour, alliteration. Centres should make sure that their candidates are fully aware of the terms used before they sit these papers. Many candidates are leaving these sorts of questions blank – indicating that they don’t understand the question.

10. Tone/Register – candidates must refer to the task and adopt and appropriate tone. Many of those candidates failing to achieve a pass are adopting an inappropriate tone – either too formal or too informal.
By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Exam Tips for English Reading

1. Pay attention to the wording of the question. If candidates are asked to explain or describe something, the examiners are looking for more than just a simple list.

2. It's a test of your reading skills - candidates must make sure the answer is taken from the documents rather than from your own ideas or experience.

3. Look at how many marks are allocated to a question. For questions with more than one mark, candidates should provide sufficient detail. Candidates can prepare for this by working on practice materials that require detailed answers.

4. Don’t waste time writing in full sentences or on double checking correct spelling, punctuation or grammar. Candidates aren’t marked on these skills in the reading test. Do ensure that responses are legible and make sense though.

5. Read the wording of multiple choice questions carefully – candidates may be asked to choose more than one response.

6. Identify the purpose of a text. Do not give an overview or comment on the text that focuses on content. Answers should be limited to the purpose – for example: to advise about x, to persuade about y, to advertise and so on.

7. Complete the paper. Candidates must answer all questions to give themselves the best chance of success. This could be an issue of time management/exam technique.

8. At level 1, for assessment criterion 1.2.3, utilise information contained in texts, candidates must marshal a higher order reading skill, requiring candidates to interpret the information they have been given rather than simply find a piece of information in the document. Learning to infer meaning and use context clues would prepare candidates for these sorts of questions.

9. At level 2, for assessment criteria 2.2.3 centres candidates need to identify features of texts such as headings, subheadings, bullet points, numbers or images. You should prepare candidates by teaching them to look out for the features that are deliberately written into the source documents which can include headings, subheadings, bulleted or numbered lists and images. Language features may include bias, persuasion, or humour.

10. Some questions require candidates to identify language features which may include bias, persuasion or humour. Centres should make sure that their candidates are fully aware of the terms used before they sit these papers so that candidates have the knowledge needed to answer the question.
By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Exam Tips for Maths

1. It’s not unusual to read the task instructions (and scenario) more than once. At the second reading, a common feature of an organised approach, that is often beneficial, is to list and label information as it’s identified. Another approach, which can be helpful is to rephrase, when reading, using more informal language (‘your own words’).

2. We may approach problems from different perspectives, so it’s important for learners to know that there may not just be 1 correct approach that’s expected. There may be more than 1 approach that’s valid.

3. Similarly, there are sometimes different methods that are equally valid and will result in the same correct answer. For example, if a learner is asked to calculate 15% of 50 grams, there are a variety of methods that are all correct. Different methods are expected but do need to be displayed.

4. A full, clear display of the method used is important so that examiner can award marks for what has been done correctly, for example, a wrong conversion at the initial task stages will affect a response. However, there may be marks available for subsequent valid calculations or comparisons.

5. Likewise, learners should be encouraged to always attempt a task, for example, in a MSS task the conversion of sides of 250cm and 175cm in to metres accurately may be worth a mark.

6. Final answers should always be displayed with units (for example, cm or kg or £). Money should always be displayed to 2 decimal places, for example, £1.70, unless the task requests otherwise.

7. If rounding an amount, I would advise writing/typing the unrounded value as evidence of rounding (this is important if there’s been an error and the final value isn’t correct, as there may be 1 mark available for accurate rounding).

8. The level of accuracy expected from learners is to work to 2 decimal places, unless otherwise requested or indicated. For example, if working with converted amounts, a length converted to 18.24512 metres will result in more accuracy in a subsequent sum as 18.25 rather than just 18.

9. Checks should be carried out when requested: reverse calculations are expected. For example, the calculation of a mean average of 60÷10=6 would be checked with 6x10=60. If a ‘check using estimation’ is requested then rounded values should be used in a repeat or reverse calculation.

10. Online exams: it’s often beneficial for learners to practise their completion of an online assessment prior to their final, for familiarity and confidence with the format. Learners should be familiar with the accepted ICT symbols for division, multiplication, addition and subtraction. If learners are presenting area then ‘m2’ or ‘m sq’ are both acceptable. Learners should be reminded that the examiner will only see what they type in with online assessments (and will not receive the paper that they use for working).
By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Exam Tips for ICT

1. Organising files: Learners are expected to show the ability to organise their work into folders, with suitable folder names. Some assessments may make specific demands for folders, and others will not, but learnerss should have an understanding of how to organise their work.

2. Finding information: Make sure that internet searches are efficient. Searches should make use of a range of keywords in the search box to reduce the number of irrelevant results. Learners should save evidence of the search terms used.

3. Email: Make sure that emails are composed correctly, including a correct email address, and a relevant subject line. Although allowances are generally made for small errors in emails, learners should check their work before sending.

4. Documents, posters, flyers etc.: Learners should show the examiner what they are capable of. Given a page of basic text and images, the learner can make use of a whole range of ICT tools to develop the document. This might include text formatting, columns, tables, text boxes, text and page borders etc.

5. Images: These rarely come in the right size, or they are not in the right place. Learners should be well practised in inserting, re-sizing and positioning images, and there are a range of formatting tools in common applications. Learners must also exercise some design skills however, making sure that images are effective.

6. Working with numbers and calculations: The obvious choice for such work is a spreadsheet. Learners should be familiar with the use of formulae and cell references. Learners often put ‘SUM’ at the start of any formula, but depending on the level, learners should understand the different formulae for calculating additions, multiplications, divisions, maximum/minimum, averages and percentages.

7. Charts and graphs: Many learners are not fluent in the use of axes titles or data labels. The result is charts that only give part of the required information. Particularly at level 2, learners may also need to select data that is not in adjacent rows or columns.

8. Databases: The principles of a database are expected to be understood. For example the basic structure of a database and the facilities for producing queries and reports. Some database style features can be completed in a spreadsheet, e.g. filters and sorting, and learners should be familiar with these, as well as the nature and purpose of large databases.

9. Security and safety: Learners need to have a broad knowledge of issues regarding personal safety online and the protection of data from risks presented by viruses etc. Wider reading or the use of quiz-type material in lessons would benefit learners.

10. Practise: The most reliable preparation is practise, with exposure to a range of information search requests, document styles and spreadsheet problem-solving scenarios. Make sure that learners have taken practise assessments. When using the online assessment, the use of a sample online test is particularly important to ensure that learners are familiar with the on-screen environment and navigation through the questions.
By S Picton 12 Apr, 2016
Well Done to all the team congratulations from all of us here at Creating Confidence

ICT

By S Picton 21 Mar, 2016
By S Picton 21 Mar, 2016

Please find below link to mathematics free GCSE and Functional Skills resources which may help before you sit your exam.

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsYBW17i6sMKBrk3-xaNfiZthKdWwMVAz

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Creating Confidence

By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Top Tips for Speaking, Listening & Communication

1. Ensure you have a comprehensive Functional Skills Staff Scheme File in place to include:
 CVs and CPD Logs
 Schemes of Work
 Session Plans
 Standardisation Meeting Minutes
 Regulations for the Conduct of Controlled Assessment
 Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment
 Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy
 Functional Skills Amplification Guides

2. Ensure Functional Skills Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers (IQA) are appropriately qualified. Plan and deliver Functional Skills Standardisation meetings to ensure consistency and quality provision.

3. Ensure tracking and monitoring of learner progress and achievement is in place along with IQA planning and tracking, linked to Assessor competence.

4. Ensure you have ALL of the Functional Skills documentation available to support the Speaking, Listening & Communication assessment, these will be emailed to the Programme Contact upon candidates being registered to the qualification. Ensure you are familiar with the assessment process outlined in the Assessor Guidance.

5. Ensure you are familiar with the Functional Skills assessment criteria and marking schemes. Be aware they may change with level differentiation.

6. Ensure your learners are prepared and have undertaken a practice assessment so that they are familiar with the style of assessment.

7. Ensure you make sufficient notes related to individual learners to inform your Functional Skills Observation Grid.

8. Ensure all learners receive feedback related to areas for improvement, along with what has been done well; to enable them to improve and maximise assessment outcomes.

9. Ensure you choose the most suitable assessment for the learner and provide a location that meets the requirements in awarding bodies Regulations for Conducting Controlled Assessment.

10. Ensure Functional Skills Assessors are aware of the need to provide specific examples of how individual learners achieved all areas of the assessment criteria, without repeating the assessment criteria itself. Ensure authenticity and validity of assessments, auditable to the IQA and External Moderator.
By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Exam Tips for English Writing

1. Many candidates lose relatively easy marks by incorrectly formatting their answers. Along with correct paragraphing, appropriate introductions and conclusions, we expect to see: o Letters– two addresses, a date and correct open and close o Reports – heading, subheadings/bullets where appropriate o Articles – heading, subheadings/bullets where appropriate o Emails – addressee, subject header

2. The source documents are there to help candidates with context and additional information. Lifting chunks of these passages word for word will not gain marks.

3. Allow sufficient time for proofreading and editing your work. A significant proportion of marks are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar.

4. For candidates sitting online writing tests it’s vital to ensure that candidates have been given the opportunity to write, review and proofread on screen as these are very different skills to doing so on paper – especially punctuation where capital letters and the personal pronoun will not be autocorrected.

5. Do not write in block capital letters. Candidates using capital letters for an entire answer will not gain any of the marks available for punctuation.

6. Answer both questions. It is impossible to pass this test unless candidates answer both questions, and in sufficient detail.

7. Answer the question set. A common error for some more able candidates is to provide a well-written response in terms of structure and spelling, punctuation and grammar, but that has little relevance to the task set. Candidates must read the question with care to ensure they are providing a functional response.

8. Provide a sufficient response. Most candidates write responses of a suitable length, which enables markers to accurately assess their skills across the range of marking categories. However, some write very short responses. Whilst there is no mention of a specific word count in the Functional Skills English standards, candidates should aim to write between 250 and 300 words per response. Markers need to be able to establish confidence in candidates’ writing skills and are instructed to penalise very short pieces, typically fewer than 100 words at level 1 and 150 words at level 2.

9. Some questions require candidates to identify language features which may include bias, persuasion, humour, alliteration. Centres should make sure that their candidates are fully aware of the terms used before they sit these papers. Many candidates are leaving these sorts of questions blank – indicating that they don’t understand the question.

10. Tone/Register – candidates must refer to the task and adopt and appropriate tone. Many of those candidates failing to achieve a pass are adopting an inappropriate tone – either too formal or too informal.
By S Picton 16 Jun, 2016
Ten Exam Tips for English Reading

1. Pay attention to the wording of the question. If candidates are asked to explain or describe something, the examiners are looking for more than just a simple list.

2. It's a test of your reading skills - candidates must make sure the answer is taken from the documents rather than from your own ideas or experience.

3. Look at how many marks are allocated to a question. For questions with more than one mark, candidates should provide sufficient detail. Candidates can prepare for this by working on practice materials that require detailed answers.

4. Don’t waste time writing in full sentences or on double checking correct spelling, punctuation or grammar. Candidates aren’t marked on these skills in the reading test. Do ensure that responses are legible and make sense though.

5. Read the wording of multiple choice questions carefully – candidates may be asked to choose more than one response.

6. Identify the purpose of a text. Do not give an overview or comment on the text that focuses on content. Answers should be limited to the purpose – for example: to advise about x, to persuade about y, to advertise and so on.

7. Complete the paper. Candidates must answer all questions to give themselves the best chance of success. This could be an issue of time management/exam technique.

8. At level 1, for assessment criterion 1.2.3, utilise information contained in texts, candidates must marshal a higher order reading skill, requiring candidates to interpret the information they have been given rather than simply find a piece of information in the document. Learning to infer meaning and use context clues would prepare candidates for these sorts of questions.

9. At level 2, for assessment criteria 2.2.3 centres candidates need to identify features of texts such as headings, subheadings, bullet points, numbers or images. You should prepare candidates by teaching them to look out for the features that are deliberately written into the source documents which can include headings, subheadings, bulleted or numbered lists and images. Language features may include bias, persuasion, or humour.

10. Some questions require candidates to identify language features which may include bias, persuasion or humour. Centres should make sure that their candidates are fully aware of the terms used before they sit these papers so that candidates have the knowledge needed to answer the question.
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