Frequently asked questions

Here you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about our Edexcel ESOL qualifications.

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General

There is a total of 20 qualifications in the suite from entry 1 to level 2. At each level there are three separate awards comprising of one unit in reading, writing and speaking and listening. In addition, there is an overall certificate qualification (including reading, writing and speaking and listening) at each level comprising the 3 units at the same level. Here is the full list of qualifications:

QAN

Title

Credit

601/3902/X

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Certificate in ESOL Skills for Life (Entry 1)

    27

601/4384/8

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening) (Entry 1)

    12

601/4389/7

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Reading) (Entry 1)

     6

601/4379/4

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Writing) (Entry 1)

     9

601/3899/3

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Certificate in ESOL Skills for Life (Entry 2)

    27

601/4383/6

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening) (Entry 2)

    12

601/4388/5

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Reading) (Entry 2)

     6

601/4378/2

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Writing) (Entry 2)

     9

601/4301/0

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Certificate in ESOL Skills for Life (Entry 3)

    27

601/4382/4

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening) (Entry 3)

    12

601/4387/3

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Reading) (Entry 3)

     6

601/4377/0

Pearson Edexcel Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Writing) (Entry 3)

     9

601/3900/6

Pearson Edexcel Level 1 Certificate in ESOL Skills for Life

    27

601/4381/2

Pearson Edexcel Level 1 Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening)

    12

601/4386/1

Pearson Edexcel Level 1 Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Reading)

     6

601/3901/8

27 Pearson Edexcel Level 2 Certificate in ESOL Skills for Life

    27

601/4376/9

Pearson Edexcel Level 1 Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Writing)

     9

601/4380/0

Pearson Edexcel Level 2 Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening)

    12

601/4385/X

Pearson Edexcel Level 2 Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Reading)

     6

601/4375/7

Pearson Edexcel Level 2 Award in ESOL Skills for Life (Writing)

     9

The credit values differ between speaking and listening, reading and writing. Speaking and listening at all levels is the largest qualification at 12 credits; writing is 9 credits and reading 6 credits. This then equates exactly to the GLH by a factor or 10 (so 120GLH, 90GLH and 60GLH respectively).

Yes, we identify developing English of work as being one of the main purposes of the ESOL Skills for Life qualifications. They are also designed to support learners in learning across the whole curriculum and skills for life.

At each level of ESOL Skills for Life there are 3 award qualifications in reading, writing and speaking and listening. These qualifications can be taken separately and mixed with qualifications at different levels. A learner can take for example speaking and listening and reading at level 1 and writing at entry 3 as part of the same programme. This approach is popular with both centres and learners as the learners are motivated by achieving the individual qualifications which are a clear description of their achievements. The overarching certificate qualifications are used to certificate learners when they have reached the same level in all three areas, so do not support a spiky programme.

Assessment

Pearson’s ESOL qualifications are externally set, internally assessed and externally moderated.

There are no assessment windows, the assessments are available on demand, so you are free to assess your learners when they are ready for assessment?

New assessments are released at the start of the academic year in September.

There are three assessments available for each award at each level.

You will have a Standards Verifier allocated to you once you register learners.

Yes, you do, speaking and listening assessments need to be video-recorded for learners of 18 years and over unless there is a reason why they cannot be identified. For learners under the age of 18 the assessments need to be audio-recorded.

Writing Paper

Learners are not permitted to use dictionaries in the jointly developed ESOL qualifications. This was a rule agreed between all the Awarding Organisations and OFQUAL when the qualifications were developed.

The requirements for spelling, punctuation and grammar for ESOL are not set in isolation from other English language qualifications. Pearson has ensured that the requirements are in line with other qualifications, including GCSE and believe that the approach is appropriate. In order to achieve a learning outcome, learners must achieve a set number of marks, equal to or just above two-thirds. Therefore, there is significant opportunity for learners to compensate for one missed mark in this section by strong performance elsewhere.

The grammatical errors that need to be assessed refer to the assessment criterion referenced. So, for example in Entry level 3 AC2.4 states ‘use grammar in a variety of tenses to denote past/ present/ future as appropriate, subject-verb agreement, pronouns’. As a result, the mark scheme is allowing the learners to make one mistake in relation to the assessment criterion and the mark can still be awarded.

No, learners must hand-write their responses in black ink or ballpoint pen. Word processing is only allowed where it is an agreed adjustment for an individual learner.

Speaking and Listening Paper

Speaking and listening assessments need to be video-recorded for learners of 18 years and over unless there is a reason why they cannot be identified. For learners under the age of 18 the assessments need to be audio-recorded.

Yes, the test is designed to give learners the opportunity to demonstrate their competence against all the assessment criteria. Learners must meet each assessment criterion once in each paper.

There needs to be specific information to show that the learner has passed the assessment criteria, this may be either one word or two sentences in different situations.

Taking notes is optional. OFQUAL have stated that they require more rigour in the listening component and therefore the changes have been put in place to meet their requirement. The amount of information at entry level 1 is appropriate for that level.

No, the tasks can be completed in the order than suits you and your learners. Tasks do all have to be completed on the same day, however.

The entry 3 discussion is run differently to level 1 and 2 as is appropriate for the level and quite correctly is a lower level of demand. The question states that the assessor needs to develop a discussion between the two candidates. In other words, it is the assessor who structures the discussion, but does not take part in the exchange directly unless a candidate is floundering. At level 1 and 2 the learners are expected to structure the discussion themselves, which is why there is a requirement for preparation time and note taking. At entry 3 learners must not take notes but the tutor is able to prompt where needed.

Recording of the teacher-read parts of the assessments is not permitted. This is for two main reasons. The first reason is that it may adversely affect the performance of candidates: the distraction of turning the recorder on and off, the recording will not be as clear as if it is spoken and that teachers can adjust the speed of their reading of to the needs of learners. Secondly it is a potential security risk if the recording is lost.

The assessment needs to be conducted in the way that it is stated in the paper.