Pearson is carrying out a Functional Skills context review in 2023. Our aim is to ensure that the contexts we use in our assessments are learner focused and are accessible to the vast majority of learners.

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As part of the 2019 reform of Functional Skills maths and English, Pearson carried out research on the appropriacy of the contexts within its assessments. This research was revisited in 2021 and is being looked into again in 2023. 

Our original research with practitioners and sector experts drew out the following contexts as being the most appropriate for learners on a Functional Skills programme.

Games Social Media Planning a party
Holidays Renting a flat Sporting events
Personal Budgeting Shopping Fundraising
DIY Finding a job Decorating
Health and fitness Buying a car Mobile phones
Healthcare Music Festivals Learning to drive

What we would like to do in 2023 is revisit this and ensure that learners have access to the most appropriate assessments for them.

We aim to regularly update this page with information as we progress through the review.

Functional Skills Context Review

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Stage 1 of our review timeline is already underway. We are currently carrying out an internal audit of the contexts that we have used in our Entry Level reading assessments and our Level 1 and 2 reading, writing and maths assessments. This information will be used to form the basis of Stage 2, our practitioner research survey.

Alongside this, Stage 3 will comence, involving talking directly to learners and providers to learn about their views and experiences. Pearson has created surveys to allow practitioners to directly have they say. Please take five minutes to complete the forms below.

English context survey | complete now

Maths context survey | complete now

Following on from this, Stage 4 will be a chance to further feedback and discuss. Our practitioner workshop is on 19 April.

Book your place on this event

Once all the information has been gathered, Pearson will produce a report (Stage 5) to update providers on what we have learnt and what changes that will be implemented. There will also be a session on the outcomes at the 2023 Festival of Functionality (Stage 6 and 7).

Final Stage 8, changes will be implemented and will start to be incorporated into assessments from 2024 onwards.