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.

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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.

Conduct of Controlled Assessments

Where the qualification specification states that assessments must be taken under supervised conditions, this means that learners are directly supervised by an invigilator at all times during the assessment. A Tutor/Assessor may take on the invigilation duties but must not assist a learner with answering a question.

When supervising an assessment Invigilators have a key role in upholding the integrity of the assessment process. Invigilators must:

  • read the conduct of learners for assessment notice
  • give all their attention to conducting the assessment properly.
  • be able to observe each learner in the assessment room at all times.
  • be familiar with any specific instructions relating to the assessments.
  • inform the Centre Contact if they are suspicious about the security of the assessment. In such cases, the Centre Contact must inform Gateway Qualifications immediately and send a full written report within 7 days of the suspicion arising
  • ensure that safe working practice occurs during the assessment
  • maintain the confidentiality of the assessments and learner responses throughout the assessment

Learners must make sure they are sitting comfortably and the workstation environment is free from hazards.  The Invigilator may provide health and safety support and assistance during the assessment.

Learners with particular requirements, in relation to their mode of learning or assessment, can have their usual support, unless this compromises the outcome of the assessment. Those providing assistance should refer to appropriate access regulations detailed in Access Arrangements, Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations within the qualification specification.

Gateway Qualifications reserves the right to visit centres during the assessment to inspect the arrangements made for the security of confidential examination material and for the conduct of the assessments.

Assessment Display Notice

Where the qualification specification states that Centres must ensure that the Assessment Display Notice is displayed in the assessment room, this poster must be displayed in a prominent place both inside and outside each assessment room.

Assessment display notice

Seating Plan Record Form

Where the qualification specification states that Centres must retain a record of the assessment room seating plan, this form can be used. Please include the learner name and assessment reference number.

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

Learner Instructions

Prior to starting the assessment, the Invigilator must:

  • inform the learners that they are now subject to assessment conditions and read out the relevant notices and warnings
  • warn learners that any unauthorised material must be handed in (this should also include any food or drinks, which may only be allowed at the discretion of the centre)
  • remind learners that they are forbidden to communicate in any way with, seek assistance from, or give assistance to, another learner whilst they are in the assessment room.
Evacuation Procedures

Tutor/Assessors, Invigilators and learners must be aware of the evacuation procedure in case of an emergency. The following action should be taken:

  • stop the learners by stopping the assessment or pausing the online assessment
  • collect the attendance register (in order to ensure all learners are present)
  • evacuate the assessment room
  • learners should leave the room in silence
  • make sure the learners are supervised as closely as possible while they are out of the assessment room to make sure there is no discussion about the assessment being sat
  • make a note of the time of the interruption and how long it lasted
  • allow the learners the full working time for the assessment
  • make a full report of the incident and of the action taken
  • complete the invigilation report and submit a copy to the Customer Excellence Department at Gateway Qualifications.
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”.

"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.

Internal Marking of Externally Set Assessments
Maintaining confidentiality

The confidentiality of the assessments and mark schemes must be maintained throughout the assessment and quality assurance processes. Marking must be carried out in a location where the confidentiality of the assessments and mark schemes can be maintained.

Information about the assessments must not be disclosed or discussed other than with other Tutor/Assessors and IQA for the purposes of internal standardisation.

Returning Paper-based Assessments to Gateway Qualifications for Marking

Where the qualification specification states that an externally set paper-based assessment must be returned 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.