Skip to content

Toggle service links



the process of making judgements against specified criteria to meet national standards of competence on the basis of evidence collected by a learner

Assessment centre

an organisation approved by an awarding organisation for the assessment of learners for specified VQs.

Assessment criteria

a set of criteria showing what a learner must do in order to meet the learning outcomes.


the person undertaking the assessment process.


A term used to describe the size of a QCF qualification. An Award is a qualification of 1 to 12 credits. One credit is equal to achievements made in 10 hours of notional learning time.

Awarding Organisation

the organisation registered by Ofqual for the assessment, quality assurance and certification of VQs.


Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (replaces the DCSF, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (England).


a document issued to an individual learner by an awarding organisation, formally attesting to the attainment of a VQ or specific unit(s).


a term used to describe the size of a QCF qualification. A Certificate is a qualification of between 13 and 36 credits.

Certificate of Unit Credit

see Unit.


the ability to perform a range of work activities to national standards and demonstrate them flexibly at work.


each unit within a qualification has a credit value which shows how much time it takes to complete – one credit represents 10 hours.

Credit rating

the process by which the credit value of a unit is determined.

Credit value

The number of credits a learner will achieve on successful completion of the unit. Credit value is calculated by taking the notional learning time required to achieve the specified outcomes and dividing it by 10.

CQFW - Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales

An established framework for all qualifications in Wales (including schools and Higher Education). The QCF will form the regulated vocational part of this larger framework.

CCEA - Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment

Regulator for external qualifications in Northern Ireland.

DCELLS - Department for Children, Education, Lifeling Learning and Skills

Welsh Assembly Government regulator for external qualifications in Wales with responsibility for the CQFW.


A term used to describe the size of a qualification. A Diploma is a qualification of 37+ credits.

Employer recognition

QCF offers employers the opportunities to have their in-house training accredited. Employers may work with awarding organisations, or opt to become one themselves.

Evidence requirements

a set of criteria which determine specific types of evidence that must be included within a portfolio of evidence.

External quality assurer

employed by an awarding organisation to approve, support and monitor the work of centres where candidates are to be assessed. See Quality assurance.


the person to be assessed for competence against the units of a VQ.

Learning outcomes

a set of criteria which confirm what a learner must demonstrate to achieve the unit.


a sub-division of the Qualifications and Credit Framework used to define progressive degrees of competence.

LRS - Learner Registration Service

The LRS is an internet based facility which provides a Unique Learner Number for every person in educationa dn training aged 14 and over. This will allow people to build a lifelong record of their learning participation and achievements (their Learner Record), which they can access and can choose to share.


a regular audit of the operation of an approved centre by an external quality assurer.

OFQUAL - Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator

is a regulatory body recognising awarding organisations to award Vocational qualifications.


a carefully selected, cross-referenced and presented collation of the learner’s evidence of competence, including documentary or paper based work products.


A means of identifying qualifications with a set of shared characteristics that will be assigned to qualifications on the QCF.

Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)

the national system for ordering VQs according to occupational areas and levels of competence.

Quality assurance

the process of monitoring assessment centres to offer quality assurance for VQs.

Quality assurer (internal or external)

the person who monitors the assessment of learners carried out by the assessment centre, on behalf of the assessment centre or on behalf of an awarding organisation.


Recognition of Prior Learning. The assessment of an individual’s previous experience and achievements against national standards (replaces APL).

RQF Regulated Qualification Framework.  Introduced in 2015 the new qualification framework for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual.

Rules of Combination (ROC)

A description of the credit accumilation requirements for the achievement of a named qualification.

SCQF - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

Scotland's own qualification framework differs from the QCF.

Sector Skills Council

responsible for overseeing the development, review and approval of national occupational standards.

SQA - Scottish Qualifications Authority

The regulator for qualifications in Scotland.

SQRP - Sector Qualification Reform Programme

Programme led by SSDA, now by UKCES, for the development of SQS by each SSC.

SQS - Sector Qualification Strategy

The strategy developed by each SSC for the development of qualifications in their given sector.

SSB - Standard Setting Bodies

SSBs represent industry sectors on training, skills and business development and develop National Occupational Standards (NOS).

SSCs - Sector Skills Councils

Work with employers and partners to develop qualification strategies/plans and standards for the industries, sectors and occupations they cover.

Standards (of performance)

the measure of performance required for the achievement of a unit as indicated by the related learning outcomes.

UKCES - UK Commission for Employment and Skills

Newly formed commission which will provide independent advice to the highest levels in the four UK governments to help achieve improvements in employment and skills.

ULN - Unique Learner Number

Allocated to every person undertaking education and training. The 10 digit number will remain with a learner for life and will not be recycled.


VQs are made up of a number of units. Each unit covers a discrete area of competence and can be certified separately as a certificate of unit credit.

Unit template

Units of assessment for the QCF share a common set of characteristics and are submitted to QCA on a given template. This includes: title, level, credit value, learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Vocational Qualification (VQ)

a qualification approved by Ofqual and based on the national standards specified by the appropriate standard setting bodies.


Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions

contact us by email

or call 01908 653774