Functional Skills TAG Application Process
Once you are confident you have all the supporting evidence in place for both eligibility and teacher judgement, then you may proceed with a TAG application.
Last updated: 31 March 2021
Before you can submit any Functional Skills TAG application you must advise us of your intention to make use of the TAG process. You will also need to provide us with a named contact at your centre with whom we can correspond when reviewing any TAG application during the External Quality Assurance process. The following ‘intention to submit TAGs form must be completed before any TAG application can be submitted.
You only need to complete and submit this form once prior to any TAG submission but you will be unable to submit any TAG applications unless we have a completed form on file. We will only issue the appropriate spreadsheet template to you on receipt of a completed ‘intention to TAG’ form.
Once we have received your completed form we will send you a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will contain two sections on separate tabs:
- Head of Centre Declaration
- Details of the learners for whom a TAG application is being submitted
The spreadsheet must be completed carefully and accurately as you will need to provide a summary of each learner’s eligibility and the evidence you hold to support your TAG application.
Please note: we will only accept a Functional Skills TAG application submitted to us using the spreadsheet that we will share with you. No other approach will be accepted.
The Head of Centre declaration is where we will ask you to confirm the steps taken to confirm learner eligibility and the IQA process you have followed to review learner evidence to support your TAG judgements.
This is the Head of Centre declaration which you must provide each time you submit a TAG application for consideration. Any false declaration will be considered potential malpractice. Pearson’s malpractice team will investigate all such cases and take appropriate steps to protect the integrity of all results issued.
The Head of Centre declaration will require you to confirm:
- You have explored all possible avenues to live test either in person or remotely and with all available adaptations for each learner being put forward for a TAG.
- You are only requesting TAGs for learners who are therefore eligible and have a valid reason with supporting evidence to show why they cannot access a live test.
- You have supporting evidence available for each learner that underpins a teacher judgement and supports the request for a TAG.
- You have internally quality assured all decisions made in relation to TAGs and can evidence the approach taken.
- You have compared the volume of achievement for your submissions against previous years.
The second part of the spreadsheet template we will share with you is where you provide learner details along with a summary, per learner, of the evidence you have used to establish eligibility and arrive at the final TAG decision for each learner. You must retain the supporting evidence for both eligibility and TAG decisions within the centre for use as part of our external quality assurance process we complete to verify the outcomes for all learners.
Within the spreadsheet you will be required to outline:
- What efforts you have made to test the learner and why are they unable to access a live test
- Why the learner needs a result now
- What evidence you hold to support each learner’s TAG and to demonstrate the learner is assessment ready
Please note: We will require learner information including registration number, learner name and the unit you are applying for. It is your responsibility to ensure that all information contained in both the application form and spreadsheet is correct and any data you enter is accurate. Any errors in the information provided may cause a delay in reviewing your application and, if approved, processing the TAG entries and generating a learner’s result. We will not accept Functional Skills TAG requests through any other approach and will reject any requests provided in any other format.
English specific instructions
If a learner already has a Pass for either Reading or Writing you do not need to add that unit into the TAG request. In the same way, if a learner is unable to attempt both Reading and Writing please ensure the application form contains both units.
For Level 1 and 2, you should make a full claim for your learners in the usual way once all units (Reading, Writing and SLC) have been passed.
|TAG application window||Pearson review period||Results issue window|
|April 1-15||April 1-30||From 1 May|
|May 1-15||May 1-31||From 1 June|
|June 1-15||June 1-30||From 1 July|
|July 1-15||July 1-31||From 1 August|
|August 1-31||August 1-31||From 15 September|
We will review the information you provide and advise you within 10 working days if we require further information.
For Level 1 and 2 external assessment applications:
If we approve your application, we will process results for the learners requested and issue results in line with the table above. All results approved and processed will be issued with a test date of 2 April 2021.
For Entry Level and Speaking, Listening & Communicating applications:
If we approve your application, we will process claims for the learners requested and issue results in line with the dates in the table above.
We will need to be satisfied that your internal process is robust and leads to fair and accurate outcomes for the learners included in any TAG application. It is vital that you retain all evidence and clear records in case we need to come back to you for clarification or more detail on your request. We may request access to:
- All or some of the evidence used to confirm learner eligibility
- All or some of the supporting used to support TAG judgements
- Records of IQA process and the learner evidence reviewed at each stage
- Head of Centre sign-off of the outcomes
We will quality assure the process you have followed to ensure that you are following your own processes adequately. We may extend these checks to review a sample of the evidence used and, in extreme cases where concerns remain, may ask to see all evidence for all learners to provide reassurances of the validity of the TAGs produced. As part of this process we may need to arrange a virtual visit so we can discuss your case more fully and can be confident that TAG results we issue have been through a robust quality assurance process and are therefore comparable with results generated from live testing.
We will use other evidence to decide on the nature of the checks we carry out for each centre which may vary on a case-by-case basis. We may, for example, choose to increase any sampling in cases where a significant volume of learner TAGs are submitted for consideration in any given window.
We do not expect you to create TAGs for learners not yet reaching a pass threshold. As part of our external quality assurance process we will carry out additional checks of data we hold to satisfy ourselves that the volume of learners being submitted is valid.
Once we have assured ourselves of the validity of your submission in any given window, we will release the results on a rolling basis.
Where we identify any concerns regarding your submission we may choose to take further action over and above the quality assurance activities outlined above. Where serious concerns are identified we may withhold results for any or all learners included in a submission pending the outcome to any further investigation.
You will need to ensure you have a process in place to resolve any disputes within the centre regarding TAGs produced for Functional Skills learners.
TAGs will only need to be submitted where you have supporting evidence to justify the award of a ‘Pass’ grade and you can clearly demonstrate that the learner(s) are unable to access a live test either remotely or in person. Where you determine a learner is not eligible for a TAG, that learner must be able to ask you to conduct a review if they can demonstrate that they:
- are unable to take a live test either remotely or in person,
- are unable to complete a live test with other existing adaptations,
- require a result immediately for progression purposes,
This must be further supported by evidence that would be used to underpin a teacher judgement. So the learner would need to demonstrate to the centre that they:
- are assessment ready
- have sufficient supporting evidence demonstrating they are capable of passing the assessment
If on reviewing the learner’s review request you believe that an error of judgement has been made and a TAG should be requested, provided:
- you have completed your internal quality assurance
- the learner remains eligible
- you have supporting evidence in place and can therefore support the application
You can submit a TAG at any point during the eligible period up to 31 August 2021. All evidence of the centre review process must be retained within the centre.
If the outcome of the centre review is that a TAG should not be submitted for the learner, but the learner remains dissatisfied, you can submit an appeal to us. Appeals should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should make clear which category your appeal comes into:
|Centre error – centre has provided incorrect information and we haves issued a result based on that information.||Appeal|
|Pearson error - e.g. we omit TAG from list submitted or issue TAG for learner not on centre list.||Appeal|
|Pearson process- Centre does not agree with our decision not to issue TAGs because we have not followed procedure.||Appeal - centre has submitted TAGs that Pearson has declined to award.|
|Centre determines a learner not eligible for a TAG.||Appeal – Pearson would review decision made by centre on whether learner is eligible for TAG.|
|Candidate eligible for a TAG but centre determines they are not at a PASS grade.||Appeal – assessment decision made by centre. Pearson would review evidence base for the decision and whether it showed learner at pass level.|