NCFE Case Study
NCFE is one of the UK’s fastest growing national awarding bodies, designing and awarding qualifications that are nationally recognised to meet the needs of learners and employers.
NCFE provides a wide range of national qualifications at different levels and in a variety of subject areas including NVQs, Key skills, Basic skills, Functional skills and Entry level qualifications. Their history of vocational awards spans 150 years from the founding organisation Northern Union of Mechanics’ Institute (NUMI) established in 1848, to the present day awarding organisation NCFE.
NCFE is committed to developing e-assessment across its qualification offer. Currently it operates an online software system called online assessment which allows its centres to deliver multiple choice question papers securely online.
- NCFE feels that IT is used more and more as part of daily life that it’s now a ‘natural’ way to assess candidates.
- The ability to improve services for centres is a key factor and the online assessment tool allows centres to schedule and manage candidate assessments independently and remotely in a secure environment.
- NCFE has published a number of online resources in the form of guidance manuals and online tutorials to support centres. The online assessment software is also available to be downloaded as well as customer help and technical assistance via the telephone.
- Accessibility is probably the main other key focus. NCFE must ensure that centres have the systems and procedures in place to support the use of online assessment and to be able to support them when they have candidates that may not be able to access the system. The online testing currently allows for reasonable time adjustments to be made for candidates who may have particular needs in terms of accessibility.
- The use of multiple choice questions may present some constraints especially with on-demand testing and ensuring that item banks are sufficient to deal with this without creating unfair advantages. NCFE operates a test allocation system that automatically allocates to individual candidates a test that they have not sat before.