Glossary of Terms



Access Arrangements

Arrangements that are approved in advance of an examination or assessment to allow achievement to be demonstrated by learners with a disability, special learning needs (including where the learner’s first language is not English, Welsh or Irish) or to avoid unlawful discrimination


The process through which the qualifications regulators confirm that a qualification conforms to the requirements of the QCF regulatory arrangements


The process through which an awarding organisation may be challenged on the outcome of an enquiry about results or, where appropriate, other procedural decisions affecting a centre or an individual learner


The process of making judgements about the extent to which a learner’s work meets the assessment criteria of a unit, or any additional assessment requirements of a qualification

Assessment Criteria

Descriptions of the requirements a learner is expected to meet to demonstrate that a learning outcome has been achieved


A person who assesses a learner’s work

Award Of Credits Or Qualifications

A certificate (electronic or paper-based) issued to an individual that recognises their achievement


A qualification with credit value between 1 and 12

Awarding Organisation

A body recognised by the qualifications regulators against the requirements set out in the regulatory arrangements to award credits and qualifications


An organisation accountable to an awarding organisation for assessment arrangements leading to the award of credit or qualifications

Centre Recognition

A process through which a centre wishing to offer an award or awards is confirmed as being able to maintain the required quality and consistency of assessment, and comply with other requirements of the awarding organisation

Certificate (1) For A Unit Or Qualification

A record of attainment of credit or a qualification issued by an awarding organisation

Certificate (2)

A qualification with a credit value between 13 and 36


An award made to a learner in recognition of the achievement of the designated learning outcomes of a unit

Credit Accumulation

The process of putting together a combination of credits to meet the achievement requirements of a qualification

Credit Transfer

The process of using a credit or credits awarded in the context of one qualification towards the achievement requirements of another qualification

Credit Value

The number of credits that may be awarded to a learner for the successful achievement of the learning outcomes of a unit


A qualification with a credit value of 37 or above


The facility for a learner to claim exemption from some of the achievement requirements of a QCF qualification, using evidence of certificated, non-QCF achievement deemed to be of equivalent value

Guided Learning Hours

The number of hours of teacher-supervised or directed study time required to teach a qualification or unit of a qualification

Learner Record

An authoritative record of all credit and qualification achievements made by an individual learner in the QCF

Learning Outcome

A statement of what a learner can be expected to know, understand or do as a result of a process of learning

Learning Time

The amount of time a learner at the level of the unit is expected to take, on average, to complete the learning outcomes of the unit to the standard determined by the assessment criteria


An indication of the relative demand, complexity and/or depth of achievement, and/or the autonomy of the learner in demonstrating that achievement

Mandatory Units

Units in a set of rules of combination that must be achieved for the qualification to be awarded

National Occupational Standards (NOS)

Describe what a person needs to do, know and understand in a job to carry out the role in a consistent and competent way

Optional Unit

A unit named in a set of rules of combination that a learner may choose to complete to achieve the required number of units/credits for award of the qualification


A route to the achievement of a qualification that requires a combination of credits to be achieved from particular units and is identified by an endorsement to a qualification title


An award made to a learner for the achievement of the specified combination of credits, or credits and exemptions, required for that award

Qualification Level

An indication of the relative demand, complexity and/or depth of achievement, and/or the autonomy of the learner, represented by a qualification

Qualifications Regulators

Government-designated statutory organisations required to establish national standards for credits and qualifications and secure consistent compliance with them

Recognition Of Prior Learning (RPL)

A method of assessment that considers whether a learner can demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, understanding or skills they already possess and do not need to develop through a course of learning

Sector Skills Council

A body responsible for formulating and reviewing occupational standards for a specific sector across the UK, and for supporting the development of units and qualifications based on these standards.  Each SSC is an employer-led, independent organisation and is licensed by government

Standardisation Of Assessment

A process to ensure that assessment leading to theaward of credits and qualifications is applied consistently by individuals, centres and awarding organisations

Unique Learner Number (ULN)

The unique number that is used to identify an individual learner


A coherent and explicit set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria, with a title, credit value and level