Approach to assessment and awarding vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) in 2021


Latest guidance

To find the latest details please view the VTQ Alternative Assessment Arrangements in 2021 webinar. In this webinar our EQA team support you through the arrangements in place for 2021 - outlining the qualification categories and associated approaches. This includes further detail on Category B and the Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) submission process.

The full list of qualifications by category can additionally be viewed on an earlier communication, please click here.

What does this mean for centres delivering IMI qualifications? 

The following visual outlines the approach for how the different qualifications are being awarded in 2021.

It is important to stress that Government policy is that learners should continue to take assessments wherever possible, either face-to-face (where safe to do so) or via remote means.

Where this is not possible, alternative arrangements will be available to support learners achieve their qualifications.

These arrangements will vary according to the types of qualification and how they are delivered and assessed, falling into either one of two categories within the VCRF:

Category A Qualifications used to demonstrate occupational or professional competence or act as a licence to practise.
Approach to assessment Adaptations/flexibilities already introduced can continue under the VCRF; further adaptations may be permitted if they are necessary to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Approach to awarding Results can only be awarded when assessments have taken place, either as normal or through an adaptation.
In terms of IMI qualifications This will be VRQ/VCQs Levels 2/3+ and any high health and safety risk qualifications.


Category B Qualifications that are important for progression to further/higher study or employment.
Approach to assessment: Assessments should continue where safe to do so, remotely or in person but may be awarded using other evidence or judgements where learners cannot access an assessment.
Approach to awarding: Results may be awarded when not all assessments have taken place through the use of teacher/assessor judgement (Teacher Assessed Grades).
In terms of IMI qualifications This includes our Entry Level, Level 1 qualifications and Technical Awards, with elements of the Tech Levels and Technical Certificates also being eligible for a TAG.

Timeframes and next steps

For category B qualifications eligible for a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG), centres will need to determine the most suitable approach and collate evidence / record judgements for each incomplete unit (where relevant). This will need to be subject to Internal Quality Assurance arrangements and signed off by the IQA.

To advise IMI of your intention to submit a TAG, please liaise with your EQA to access a claim submission spreadsheet. This will need to be completed for all TAG submissions and the Head of Centre Declaration signed prior to submission. For the Technical Awards, Tech Levels and Technical Certificates, please also ensure the relevant grading spreadsheet has been completed with proposed and/or achieved grades.  

All eligible TAG submissions will need to be supported by appropriate evidence and the deadline for submitting all of the above to your EQA is 30th June 2021.

Your EQA will aim to complete External Quality Assurance of valid submissions within 30 working days.

The following presentation supports you through this process.


The appeals process for TAGs allows for appeal in instances where a learner or centre believes a result received is incorrect, due to a procedural or administrative error by either the centre or IMI. Learners who believe that an error has been made in determining their grade will also have the right to appeal.

All appeals must initially be submitted to the centre to review internally and if the centre identifies an error, they should notify IMI as soon as possible.

The timescale for the appeals process is 20 working days from receipt of the appeal.

This follows our standard appeals process, which can be found here.

Learners who are unhappy with their TAG result are eligible to be given an opportunity to improve their grade in the autumn term. 

Special considerations

Candidates may still be eligible for special consideration where the impact of Covid-19 means that they were unable to complete an assessment or completed the assessment but were disadvantaged.

For adapted or on-demand assessments, IMI has provided adaptations to some assessments to allow centres flexibility delivering these and to support them in responding to short-notice impacts caused by Covid-19. In the first instance, the assessment should be rescheduled or delivered by alternate means. If an assessment cannot be rescheduled and the candidate has completed all the other required components/units for the qualification, it may be possible to apply for special consideration.

For teacher assessed grades (TAGs), centres do not need to make applications for special consideration this year. However, where illness or other personal circumstances might have temporarily affected performance, for example where centres are using practice exams, or alternative assessments to generate evidence for TAGs, centres should bear that in mind when making their judgments and record this for quality assurance purposes.

Full details of our special consideration process can be found here.