Ofqual Handbook: Essential Digital Skills Qualifications

Standard setting (Condition EDSQ8)

Rules and guidance about setting standards for Essential Digital Skills Qualifications

Condition EDSQ8 - Standard setting

EDSQ8.1 An awarding organisation must ensure that the specification for each EDS Qualification which it makes available, or proposes to make available, sets out specified levels of attainment which comply with any requirements which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time.

  1. EDSQ8.2 In respect of each EDS Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must comply with any requirements, and have regard to any guidance, which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time in relation to –
    1. (a) the promotion of consistency between the measurement of Learners’ levels of attainment in that qualification and similar qualifications made available by other awarding organisations, and
    2. (b) the setting of specified levels of attainment.

EDSQ8.3 In setting the specified levels of attainment for an EDS Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must have regard to an appropriate range of qualitative and quantitative evidence.

  1. EDSQ8.4 In respect of each EDS Qualification which it makes available, the range of evidence to which an awarding organisation has regard for the purposes of Condition EDSQ8.3 will only be appropriate if it includes evidence of –
    1. (a) the Level of Demand of the assessments for that qualification,
    2. (b) the level of attainment demonstrated in those assessments by –
      1. (i) an appropriately representative sample of Learners taking that qualification, or
      2. (ii) individuals (whether Learners or otherwise) as part of robust technical pre-testing of those assessments,
    3. (c) following the first time that a qualification designed in line with these Qualification Level Conditions is awarded, the level of attainment demonstrated by Learners who have previously been awarded that qualification.
  1. EDSQ8.5 An awarding organisation must maintain a record of –
    1. (a) the evidence to which it has had regard in setting the specified levels of attainment for each EDS Qualification which it makes available, and
    2. (b) its rationale for the selection of and weight given to that evidence.

Requirements in relation to specified levels of attainment

Conditions EDSQ8.1 and EDSQ8.2(b) allow us to specify requirements and guidance in relation to the specified levels of attainment for EDS Qualifications and the setting of specified levels of attainment for EDS Qualifications.

We set out below our requirements for the purposes of Conditions EDSQ8.1 and EDSQ8.2(b).

Specified level of attainment in EDS Qualifications

In relation to each EDS Qualification, an awarding organisation must ensure that there shall be a single specified level of attainment – ‘Pass’.

An awarding organisation must ensure that a Learner is issued a result of ‘Fail’ where he or she does not meet the criteria to be awarded a Pass.

Setting the specified level of attainment

In setting the specified levels of attainment for an EDS Qualification, an awarding organisation must ensure that these are set for the qualification as a whole.

Guidance on standard setting

Condition EDSQ8.2(b) allows us to specify requirements and guidance in relation to standard setting for EDS Qualifications.

We set out below our guidance for the purposes of Condition EDSQ8.2(b).

Approach to standard setting

We expect that the approach taken by an awarding organisation to standard setting for an EDS Qualification that it makes available will –

  1. (a) follow an appropriate technical methodology,
  2. (b) include appropriate scrutiny of decisions made,
  3. (c) promote comparability, including over time, and
  4. (d) be kept under review.

Evidence used in standard setting

Condition EDSQ8.3 states that in setting the specified levels of attainment for an EDS Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must have regard to an appropriate range of qualitative and quantitative evidence.

Condition EDSQ8.4 states that such evidence will only be appropriate if it includes evidence of –

  1. (a) the Level of Demand of the assessments for that qualification,
  2. (b) the level of attainment demonstrated in those assessments by –
    1. (i) an appropriately representative sample of Learners taking that qualification, or
    2. (ii) individuals (whether Learners or otherwise) as part of robust technical pre-testing of those assessments,
  3. (c) following the first time that a qualification designed in line with these Qualification Level Conditions is awarded, the level of attainment demonstrated by Learners who have previously been awarded that qualification.

Examples of the evidence that may be used by an awarding organisation in setting the specified levels of attainment for an EDS Qualification which it makes available may include –

  • question papers/tasks and final mark schemes,
  • senior Assessor input into decisions, for example comments on how the assessments have worked and recommendations for the setting of specified levels of attainment,
  • technical information about how the assessments have functioned, for example mark distributions, mean marks, standard deviations, item-level statistics,
  • samples of current Learners’ work selected from a range of Centres and assessed/Moderated by Assessors/moderators whose work is known to be reliable,
  • details of changes in entry patterns and choices of options,
  • archive Learners’ work exemplifying specified levels of attainment in previous assessment series for the qualification, together with the relevant question papers/tasks and mark schemes,
  • pertinent material or data deemed to be of equivalent standard from similar qualifications or other relevant qualifications,
  • information on Learners’ performance in previous assessment series, and
  • marking guides for assessments where the evidence is of an ephemeral nature.

In determining whether it has sufficient evidence of the level of attainment demonstrated in the assessments for an EDS Qualification by an appropriate percentage of the Learners taking that qualification, an awarding organisation should consider whether the marks on its system reflect –

  • all possible routes through the qualification, and
  • a representative proportion of Learners’ marks for the qualification.