Controlled assessment FAQs

For units 2 and 4 of our Edexcel GCSE ICT specification, students must work to a set task called a Controlled Assessment Brief (CAB). Find out more here.

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  • The context for each Controlled Assessment Brief (CAB) will be open-ended enough to allow students to carry out the research that interests them. 
  • Each CAB will include supporting files and reminders to help students maximise their achievement. 
  • Each CAB will be issued with a set of detailed support notes to make the specific requirements of the task clear. 
  • Examples of student work with commentaries will be available to help both students and teachers understand what standards are required.

Frequently asked questions

For Unit 2 and Unit 4, students must work to a set task called a Controlled Assessment Brief (CAB). This is an interactive digital publication, designed to be viewed on-screen. Students must submit digital evidence of their work for assessment and moderation.

In both units, the opening pages of the CAB set the context, give an overview of the requirements and encourage students to organise their work. On completion of the activities required, students are given a checklist to help ensure that they have all the required evidence in the correct folders. The final stage before submission is simply to create a single page with links to the evidence.

For Unit 2, students will develop and produce a range of digital products. The controlled assessment task consists of four activities: 

  • In Activity 1, students will develop a user profile, gather information and work with a database.
  • In Activity 2, students will develop and use a spreadsheet model to make recommendations.
  • In Activity 3, students will design and create a more complex interactive digital product, drawing upon some of the work done in previous activities.
  • In Activity 4, students will evaluate their products and their own performance.

For Unit 4, students will develop and produce a single interactive product. The controlled assessment task consists of two activities:

  • In Activity 1, students will produce a detailed proposal for the digital product they want to create. This may be one of a number of digital product types, including a computer game, a digital storybook, or a relational database.
  • In Activity 2, students will design, develop and test their product.

The Controlled Assessment Brief (CAB) for Unit 2 and Unit 4 will be made available via secure download from the Edexcel website in May of each year. Once you have downloaded it, you must store the CAB on a secure network or a restricted access drive.

Assessment grids for the controlled assessments are included in the Unit 2 and Unit 4 content. The assessment uses a 'best fit' approach, matching students' work to the statements in the grids. These statements assume that students are working independently; you can therefore reflect the amount of guidance you have given to each student when you are awarding the marks.

We’ll provide you with plenty of support, including:

  • general notes on the use of the controlled assessment tasks 
  • more specific advice for each task, including samples to help you understand the standards required.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) has broken controlled assessment down into three sections, and set levels of control for each section.

Task setting

Edexcel must set the tasks (Controlled Assessment Briefs), and a new task must be issued annually for each unit. We will issue new Controlled Assessment Briefs for units 2 and 4 every May.

Task taking

Most task taking must be carried out in controlled conditions.

  • Research: Most of the activities include some information gathering, which may be carried out without supervision, although teachers must be confident that it is the student's own work.
  • Controlled environment: Apart from research, all work done on the CAB must be carried out under controlled conditions. This is not the same as an exam as students do not have to work in silence, but the task must be formally supervised at all times. Students may bring in notes and the results of their research. You may offer feedback, but if you need to guide students along a particular path or advise them on how to approach part of the task, you must take account of this when marking the work.
  • Timing: Students have up to 40 hours to complete the Controlled Assessment Brief

Task marking

You will mark the tasks using the level descriptions in the specification. We will ask for a sample of the work to moderate.


  • The work that students produce for the CAB must be kept under secure conditions at all times. This could be on a secure network drive, in a restricted access area of the school’s VLE or intranet or on a portable storage device kept securely by the teacher.
  • It is the centre’s responsibility to keep candidates’ work secure. We strongly advise using virus-checking software and employing an effective backup strategy, so that an up-to-date archive of candidates’ work is maintained.
  • No special consideration will be given to any candidate whose work is lost or destroyed as a consequence of inadequate centre security/backup procedures.

Yes, but they will need to resit the whole controlled assessment. They cannot just add or amend previous submissions.

You’ll find controlled assessment briefs, guidance and more in the GCSE ICT course materials.