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Step - Up. NOCN Functional Skills Pilot. OCNEMR Curriculum Development Manager ( NOCN Skills for Life Team) Patricia Coates-Walker. Functional Skills - Background. Functional Skills are practical skills in English, Mathematics, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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NOCN Functional Skills


OCNEMRCurriculum Development Manager

(NOCN Skills for Life Team)

Patricia Coates-Walker

Functional skills background

Functional Skills - Background

  • Functional Skills are practical skills in English, Mathematics, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

  • Functional Skills have been developed to provide learners with a sound platform which will suppport and prepare individuals to work confidently, effectively and independently in life

Functional skills pilot

Functional Skills Pilot

  • NOCNare currently engaged in the Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA) three-year Functional Skills pilot – (this began in September 2007)

  • Several other awarding bodies are also involved in the pilot

  • Pilot centres are located throughout the country

  • OCNEMR currently oversee a number of the NOCN pilot centres in the East Midlands – 2009 assessments are currently underway

Nocn functional skills development

NOCNFunctional Skills Development

The NOCN Skills for Life Team, have developed Functional Skills Assessments in all three disciplines:

  • English (Literacy)

  • Mathematics (Numeracy)

  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

    Assessments have been developed at the following levels:

  • Entry One

  • Entry Two

  • Entry Three

    Level 1 and Level 2 are in development for September 2009

    NOCN believe that incorporation of the three Entry levels will ensure that functional skills are readily available and inclusive to the full Entry range of learners.

Nocn functional skills units

NOCNFunctional Skills Units

  • There are no NOCN units

  • There are QCA Units (5 credits each)

  • QCA are finalising the units

  • Providers are currently working to the QCA Functional Skills standards



  • The NOCN Functional Skills assessments have been developed in line with the QCA standards.

  • QCA standards determine the knowledge and skills proficiency required at each level.

    (see QCA Functional Skills Standards 2007)

    Ref: QCA/07/3472

Assessment content

Assessment Content

The content of the assessments are set to the coverage and range

from the standards. Skill Standard and Performance Statements

govern the learner’s level of proficiency.

Each discipline demands different attributes:

  • Maths: Representing/Analysing/Interpreting

  • English: Speaking and Listening/Reading/Writing

  • ICT: Use ICT Systems/Finding and Selecting Information/Presenting and Communicating Information

    Differentiation factors:

  • Complexity, Familiarity, Technical Demand, Independence.



  • The NOCN Functional Skills assessments will be offered as free-standing qualifications.

  • The qualifications consist of end testing

  • A percentage of the standards will be tested at any one time.

  • There will be no compulsory portfolio building

  • Assessment duration - The GLH are between 1-5 hours

  • In the future the NOCN FS can be used to complement the NOCN Step-up qualification (Entry Levels 1 and 2 are currently under development for inclusion) to form Progression Pathways

Assessment format

Assessment - Format

  • Assessment will be based primarily on a task-based themed scenario

  • Questions have a limited duration

  • Delivered in a controlled environment.

  • The assessments will use, and reinforce, skills-based, problem solving learning techniques.

  • Some practical assessment can be undertaken

  • Assessments are available on CD Rom

Assessment quality assurance

Assessment – Quality Assurance

  • Externally set by NOCN

  • Internally marked - following mark schemes provided by NOCN

  • Internally Verified (Centre)

  • Externally Verified (OCNEMR/NOCN)

  • This is subject to change by QCA through the Pilot Phase.

    Places are available in the pilot

Nocn assessment guides

NOCN Assessment Guides

  • NOCN Assessment Guides are available for each of the disciplines

  • NOCN Guidance and Training is available for delivery of the assessments from your regional OCN - OCNEMR

  • Continual regional support is available for centres within the NOCN Pilot

  • LSIS provide comprehensive support programme.

Contact details

Contact Details

Patricia Coates-Walker


Tel: 01332 861994 ext 212

Mobile: 07970 892418

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