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The Gateway Qualifications Centre Handbook is split into 4 categories. These categories include:

Introduction to Working with Gateway Qualifications
Quality & Compliance
Internal & External Assessment Practice
Access Arrangements, Reasonable Adjustments & Special Considerations

This Internal & External Assessment Practice section includes the requirements of securely storing assessment materials, and a downloadable seating plan record form.

The below sections expand to reveal full details and useful links that offer insight into how to best work with us.

If you print this page of the Centre Handbook, please ensure you regularly check back here to ensure you are using the most up to date version.

To print, click on the Print this page button on the right hand side of the screen.

Assessment Practice

Assessment is the process of making judgements about the extent to which a learner’s work meets the assessment criteria for a unit or part of a unit.

In undertaking assessment, the process must be fair, inclusive and adhere to the five principles of assessment, denoted as VACSR:

  • Valid.
  • Authentic.
  • Current.
  • Sufficient.
  • Reliable.

An internal assessment approach is used for the majority of units and qualifications using the method of assessment of a learner producing a portfolio of evidence. Where different methods of assessment are to be used these will be set out within the unit or qualification specification.

A portfolio of evidence is a formal record of evidence (manual or electronic) produced by learners, towards a unit or qualification.

Assessors are encouraged to use a variety of types of assessment/activities within the learning process.

Recognised centres need to develop an assessment strategy that is appropriate to:

    • The aims of the course.
    • The needs of the target group.
    • The level of the course.

Once the assessment strategy has been defined, the types of assessment activities can be identified.

To ensure learners are given equal access and opportunity to demonstrate their achievements, Gateway Qualifications has identified circumstances where reasonable adjustment and special adjustments can be made. Centres should refer to the Gateway Qualifications Reasonable Adjustment and Special Considerations Policy and centre guidance.

It is essential that assessors record the outcomes of the assessment activity. This will enable learners’ progress to be monitored and form the basis of internal quality assurance activities. Centres should refer to the assessment practice guidance when developing and reviewing approaches to assessment recording.

The centre should plan ahead for the assessment to take place, to be marked and to schedule internal quality assurance arrangements.

Controlled Assessment

A controlled assessment is a form of internal assessment in which control levels are set for each stage of the assessment process by Gateway Qualifications and will include:

  • Task setting.
  • Task taking.
  • Task marking.

Certain qualifications will use controlled assessments to assess whether a learner has met the assessment criteria requirements. Details of when a controlled assessment is required will be set out within the individual qualification specification.

Centres should refer to specific guidance on the requirements for the use of controlled assessments.

External Assessment

An external assessment will involve the assessment being set and marked by Gateway Qualifications.

When our qualifications require learners to undertake an external assessment the requirements for external assessment are set down in the individual qualification specification. Where necessary, Gateway Qualifications will make you aware of the need for external assessment.

Centres should refer to specific guidance on the requirements for the use of external assessments.

Secure Storage Requirements

Secure storage is defined as a securely locked cabinet or cupboard.

The following instructions apply to all confidential materials relating to the administration and delivery of assessments.

  • Centres must be able to demonstrate that the appropriate security systems are in place to prevent unauthorised access to the assessment materials.
  • Assessment materials must be stored securely at all times.
  • Only persons authorised by the Head of Centre and the centre contact must be allowed access to the centre’s secure storage facility.
  • Centres must maintain the confidentiality of learner responses and learner details.
  • Centres must ensure that all timed assignments are stored securely both before and after assessment sessions.

Assessments and any other confidential material, e.g. answer booklets, must be stored securely at the Centre’s registered address in a secure room solely assigned to the Administration Contact, restricted to two to four keyholders only. This is commonly referred to as a “box within a box”. The following requirements must be met.

Requirement – “a box within a box”

Secure room solely assigned to exams in a fixed building.

i.e. not a Portakabin or similar; meeting all of the following requirements:

•  Walls, ceiling and floor of strong, solid construction
–  Stud partition walls are only acceptable with metal reinforcement.
•  Solid door or reinforced door with
•  Strong secure/heavy duty hinges
•  Security lock e.g. 5-lever mortice lock or a coded keypad lock or electronic security lock
•  2 to 4 key holders only
–  A hollow panel door would require extra metal reinforcement.

The following must also be met (where applicable):

•  If question papers are stored in a room with windows which are easily accessible, bars must be fitted, or the room alarmed. If the room has a glass panel in or above the door, e.g. for health and safety reasons, the glass must be toughened safety glass.
–  Preferably on an upper floor with no windows.
–  Upper floor window(s) with a balcony or flat roof must be fitted with bars or the room alarmed.
•  If the volume of question papers is too great for secure storage in one room, you must use additional rooms within the centre.

These additional rooms must also meet the requirements for secure storage.

The secure room(s) must contain one of the following: (with 2 to 4 keyholders only)

•  Strong non-portable safe
–  Small safes must be fixed securely in place.


•  Non-portable security cabinet with multi-point locking system
–  A filing cabinet will need additional security features to increase its robustness.


•  Metal cabinet with full-length external locking bar bolted to wall or floor
–  For example, an external locking bar will ensure that question papers are stored in a secure environment at all times.

or where a centre has large numbers of question papers to store:

•  Metal security screen, e.g. roll-down shutter, in front of open shelving.

where a centre has large numbers of question papers to store:

•  Metal security screen, e.g. roll-down shutter, in front of open shelving

Secure materials downloaded on the day of an assessment, e.g. encrypted question papers received via email or downloaded from Gateway Qualifications’ secure extranet site, must be stored as per above.

The centre must tell Gateway Qualifications immediately if the security of the question papers or confidential supporting instructions is put at risk. Any natural disaster, fire, theft, loss, damage or any other circumstances which render the existing accommodation or secure storage of assessment materials at risk must be reported immediately to Gateway Qualifications.

Assessment Display Notice

This poster must be displayed in a prominent place both inside and outside each assessment room.

Assessment display notice


Although care has been taken in preparing the information published in this document, Gateway Qualifications cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions and accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising. Gateway Qualifications reserves the right to make changes to processes and procedures as necessary and to alter any content at any time with due notice.


This document does not apply to Access to HE Diplomas.

Seating Plan Record Form

This form is to be completed for paper-based assessments at levels 1 and 2. Please include the candidate name and number of the assessment paper.

(Centres may produce an alternative document to represent their particular assessment room and layout, providing it shows each candidate name and assessment paper number, date of assessment and Invigilator signature, and is retained on file by the centre.)

Seating Plan Record Form

Returning Externally Marked Assessments

When returning externally marked assessments to Gateway Qualifications for marking, centres must:

  • Despatch completed assessments and accompanying attendance registers and seating plans to the address provided on the same day of the assessment wherever possible.
  • Ensure that any assessments that cannot be despatched on the scheduled day of the assessment are despatched no later than the next working day.
  • Retain completed assessments in secure storage if kept within the centre overnight.
  • Obtain proof of postage/despatch for each packet of assessments, which must be retained on the centre’s files until the results are published, in case of loss or damage. Proof of postage will provide evidence that the learners’ assessments have left the centre. This is taken to indicate that the assessments were written at the appointed time and that, should the assessments not be received by Gateway Qualifications, then special consideration may be possible.
  • Use a method of despatch which is trackable, reliable and ensures prompt delivery.

Centres must:

  • Check that that they have enough large envelopes to despatch all assessments.
  • Ensure that every completed assessment has been included.
  • Ensure that all assessments for a component are collected together including those for any learners who have been accommodated separately.
  • Enclose the relevant attendance registers and seating plans with the assessments (in the same order as listed on the attendance register).
  • Ensure cover sheets accompany completed assessments where appropriate, for those learners granted access arrangements. The cover sheet must be attached to the assessment.
  • Always use only one label per package.
  • Always use the whole address label, stick it securely to the largest face of the package and ensure it is flat and crease-free.
  • Fasten envelopes securely, but do not use staples, string or brown tape.

Advice: If you need to print an address label ensure that your printer is printing clearly. Faint address labels are not acceptable.

Centres must not:

  • Include anything other than the completed assessment and the attendance register(s) and seating plans.
  • Overfill packages as they may split open during transit.
  • Write on labels or alter them in any way.
E-Learning – Online Portfolios

The use of and speed of change of electronic technology as a support tool in the education and skills sector will continue to increase. Centres may consider using e-learning technology to support the learning and quality assurance processes. In developing an e-learning approach, centres attention is drawn to the Ofqual website which provides information on the development, implementation and use of e-portfolios.

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