As schools and colleges start to teach OCR’s reformed Functional Skills in English and Maths, I wanted to outline some of the key changes in the way to administer these as you will no longer use Interchange to make entries, submit claims and view results. Instead, you will use a new secure website: secure.ocr.org.uk.
Within the new system, we set up one centre user who can then set up the rest of the users. There are three roles:
You can also customise the senior manager and general user roles for an individual if you do not want them to access the full range of activities enabled for that role.
We’re moving to a ‘shared form’ approach. Rather than submit a form to OCR, we’ll be working on an online form together. Each form will have a ‘workflow’ associated with it, which will pass the form between you at the centre and us the awarding organisation or ‘AO’. Each organisation and person will have a user inbox where you’ll get notifications of when you need to carry out the next step.
To administer reformed Functional Skills, there are up to four forms you’ll need to use – three that you create and one which we create and send to you.
There are no deadlines for Functional Skills – you can register students using the booking form whenever you like. Then, when you know you want to take the test, you can order the question paper or schedule the on-screen test.
Registrations are processed instantly so we only accept ‘named entries’, where you provide all the candidates’ details – there’s no longer any need for ‘unnamed entries’. You just order papers a minimum of 5 working days or schedule on-screen tests 20 minutes before your chosen test date – all within the booking form.
The booking form also allows you to keep a cohort together and carry out all the activities as one group. You can have more than one booking form.
You’ll no longer need to submit an attendance list online. Instead, we’ll include an attendance list with your question papers. Crucially, this will show you which version of the provided question papers should be given to each candidate. Candidates must sit the version they have been assigned.
It’s also worth being aware of a new rule, which is common to all awarding bodies. For reformed Functional Skills, tutors of a subject cannot invigilate any tests for that subject or handle the question papers. (English tutors can still invigilate mathematics and vice versa.) Full details are available in the OCR Instructions for Conducting Examinations (OCR ICE).
For those of you who already use our computer-based test system, Surpass, I’d like to reassure you that the new secure website and Surpass are fully integrated. When you enter candidate details on to a booking and schedule on-screen tests, these details are sent across to Surpass. In fact, apart from invigilation and the test taking itself, you can do all the admin within your booking form.
We have additional functionality within the on-screen test system Surpass – although results are available from the secure site, for both paper-based and on-screen tests you can generate a results breakdown by topic within Surpass. This shows how students did in each topic area in English and maths in order to support your results analysis.
All Entry Level assessments and Level 1 and 2 Speaking, Listening and Communicating assessments are marked by you and moderated by OCR. The entire moderation process is done from within the moderation form – you tell us which students you wish to be moderated, we pick a sample, you upload the requested sample of work (or the observation records for SLC) to the moderation form and then receive feedback all in one place.
The Entry Level assessments and the Level 1 and 2 SLC assessments can be downloaded from the ‘Product Library’ area of the secure website.
We’re aware that any change to a system also means people need to learn how to use it, so we’re committed to providing you with as much support as we can. We’ve therefore created bite-sized videos taking you through each stage of each process. These are easily accessible whenever you attempt a task from the ‘Key OCR Documents’ box on the home page of the secure site. For more details about each process, you can also take a look at our ‘administration at a glance’ page.
We’re also running a number of admin essentials online training sessions every month, with both morning and early evening sessions available. These are an ideal opportunity to hear how the reformed Functional Skills administration works and to ask any questions you may have about the admin process.
If you’re already approved to offer legacy Functional Skills with OCR you just need to email us, including your centre number and details (name and email address) of the centre administrator, and we will extend your approval to our reformed Functional Skills. If you haven’t run OCR Functional Skills before, you need to complete Sections A to D of the vocational centre approval form and then we’ll be in touch with the next steps!
Jane Parsons - Customer Support Manager (South West)
Jane has been working within the education sector for over ten years. She supports schools and colleges across the South West region by attending network meetings, providing information about our qualifications, resources and the support we offer.