OFQUAL have shared their response after all of their ESOL consultations. See below.
Based upon the responses received to the consultation, and discussions that we have held with the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the Home Office, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, we have decided that:
- We will not introduce Conditions for a new qualification called ESOL for Life in the UK. Most of the consultation respondents felt that existing ESOL qualifications already provided appropriate qualifications for UK entry, settlement and citizenship. In April 2013 the Home Office announced that it would accept a range of qualifications – including Ofqual-regulated ESOL qualifications – as evidence of English language competence to meet the Home Office Knowledge of Language and Life (KoLL) requirement. Applicants for UK settlement and citizenship will also need to pass the Home Office’s Life in the UK Test, which is subject to stringent security arrangements. We consider that this will go some way to mitigating the current malpractice issues. Therefore there is no requirement to introduce a new ESOL qualification for the purposes that were outlined at the time of our consultation
- We will introduce additional General Conditions of Recognition for ESOL International qualifications that will specify a consistent requirement for 100% external assessment and mapping to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). There was support from stakeholders for both of these conditions
- We will retain the additional regulation currently in place for ESOL Skills for Life (SfL). This regulation requires ESOL SfL qualifications to demonstrate a clear relationship to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum published by BIS. The responses from the majority of stakeholders said that they wanted this relationship to continue. In February 2013, the Skills Funding Agency announced it would continue to support only ESOL qualifications that are based on the National Standards for Adult Literacy and the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. Therefore we will retain this regulation in its current form
- We will withdraw the additional regulations currently in place for ESOL for Work. These regulations are already covered by our General Conditions of Recognition and so this change removes duplication and streamlines regulation of this qualification
We will update the current criteria for ESOL Qualifications and General Conditions of Recognition to reflect the changes described above and publish these documents on our website
New language accessibility guidance
We want to make sure that the exams and assessments we regulate give all pupils the fairest opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do. Some pupils may not understand some of the words or phrases used in an exam or assessment. This could be because English is not their first language or they have a learning disability. However, they may be able to carry out a task and show their skills if a question is asked in another way.
We did some research on exams and assessments with subject experts and we produced reports and some guidance, which can be downloaded below.
Language Accessibility Research Reports:
– Research Background: Monitoring Access to National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
– Research Background: Guidance on the Principles of Language Accessibility in National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
These reports explain what we found when we looked at the design and wording of exams and assessments.
Language Accessibility Guidance:
– Guidance on Monitoring Access to National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
– Guidance on the Principles of Language Accessibility in National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
This guidance is aimed at test designers, teachers, teaching agencies, and others involved in educating pupils with special and additional support needs.
Consultation on ESOL regulations
Our consultation on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications and the regulations that govern them continues until 3rd December.
It is our responsibility to ensure that qualifications are secure, fit for purpose and suitably meet the needs of a range of learners. We are looking at ESOL qualifications because their role has changed significantly in recent years to include factors such as immigration and the right to reside in the UK.
Do you want your say re qualifications for learners who speak English as a second, third language etc. OFQUAL will be consulting from next month until December, you can find the link below.
Consultation on ESOL regulations We will soon be launching a consultation on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications and the regulations that govern them. It is our responsibility to ensure that qualifications are secure, fit for purpose and suitably meet the needs of a range of learners. We are looking at ESOL qualifications because their role has changed significantly in recent years to include immigration and right to reside in the UK impacts. The consultation is due to launch on our consultation platform in September and will run until December. The link is below.