How to Apply for a Teacher Assessed Grade with Highfield | Highfield Qualifications

How to Apply for a Teacher Assessed Grade with Highfield in 2021

Following our communication on 24 March 2021, we have published additional guidance on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAG) for centres delivering Highfield qualifications.

For all Highfield qualifications you should first try to carry out all exams and assessments in the usual manner, where it is safe to do so in line with Public Health England’s advice and guidance. Where this is not possible centres should follow our detailed guidelines on adaptations for qualifications.

In line with the Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF), centres can apply for a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) where learners have undergone teaching and learning during the period 1 August 2020 to 31 August 2021 but have been unable to access an assessment.

A full list of Highfield qualifications where a TAG is applicable can be accessed here

You can access a process flow chart that explains further whether or not your learners are eligible for a TAG here. In summary:

  1. All learners must be assessment ready, as such, they must have undertaken all teaching and learning for the unit or qualification, and should be able to pass a test or assessment if undertaken.
  2. During the current pandemic, centres must take all reasonable steps to safely assess their learners in-house in the usual manner, where this is safe to do so in line with Public Health England guidelines.
  3. If learners cannot be assessed in the usual manner, an adapted assessment should be considered. This includes remote invigilation for tests. Further details can be found here (
  4. If a learner does not need this result imminently for progression, employment or an apprenticeship, then their assessment should be delayed until such time as they can take an assessment in the usual manner, they can take an updated assessment, or the result is needed.
  5. If the result is needed and an assessment is not possible, having considered all of the options above, then a centre may apply for a TAG.

Highfield TAG Process

If a learner meets the criteria above for a TAG, then you should apply by completing a TAG Request Form and uploading it to Highfield Central within the members’ area. An individual form will need to be completed for each learner. Once completed, please email confirming the details contained within each TAG Request Form.

Instructions on how to complete the form are below. Please ensure that you fully complete all sections within the form detailing all justifications and attaching all evidence as requested:

  1. One form must be completed for each learner. Requests for TAG at course or cohort level will not be accepted.
  2. For each learner, you must justify why as assessment or test result is required imminently and have supporting evidence if requested.
  3. Confirm that it is not possible to administer a test or assessment in the usual manner or with permitted adaptions and provide a rationale and evidence to support this.
  4. All learners where a TAG is claimed for any of the VTQs on the Highfield TAG list, must have completed all teaching and learning. The centre should also be confident that should they sit a test or an assessment, they would have the ability to pass. To this end, you must provide evidence of their achievement at the required level to support your TAG claim. This evidence could be any or all of (but is not limited to):
  • Completed sample/past paper taken as a mock test including the conditions the mock was taken under
  • Formative assessment results

This could be further supported by other evidence which include (but is not limited to):

  • Any other learner work towards the qualification (i.e., work they have independently undertaken in class or at home)
  • Learner work demonstrating the skills assessed by Functional Skills qualifications that have been completed in support or another qualification learning aim
  1. When tutors are determining TAGs, they must ensure that all judgements are objective, further guidance on this is available here
  2. Internal quality assurance is carried out which will demonstrate each TAG has been quality assured to reduce the risk of malpractice or unconscious bias, using the below guidelines:
  • Internal sign-off of each TAG will be determined by a teacher
  • This judgement will then be internally quality assured by another staff member, ideally the head of department or someone who usually conducts the role of internal quality assurer for the qualification
  • Where a staff member might have a personal interest in the learner (e.g., as a relative), the head of centre should make sure additional controls are put in place as appropriate.

Head of Centre sign off

The following guidelines apply:

  • The head of centre will be required to confirm that the TAGs are a true representation of learner performance. If the head of centre is unavailable, it may be delegated to a deputy who must have express authority to make decisions on behalf of the centre
  • In reviewing these TAGs, the head of centre should consider how the volume of the learner’s achievement compares with previous years (I.e., 2020, 2019 and 2018)
  • The head of centre will be required to submit a declaration confirming this when TAGs are submitted. The declaration is included in the TAG Request Form and includes details of the evidence that was used, and a justification if the achievement rate is significantly different from previous cohorts
  • Highfield does not expect centres to use the TAG process for learners not yet reaching a pass threshold as TAGs, as multiple TAGs may be submitted throughout the TAG period once learners become eligible. That eligibility must be kept under review with learners only being put forward to a TAG where a centre has established they meet the eligibility criteria and have evidence to support the TAG
  • The head of centre declaration is read and understood prior to signing


Once you have completed the TAG Request Form, you should upload it to Highfield Central within the members’ area and send an email confirming this to

Guidelines on how to carry out the upload are detailed here.

Completing the TAG Request Form

The following information should support you in completing the TAG Request Form:

Requirements for TAG application

  • Reason why learner is eligible including:
    • why learner cannot take a live test or an adapted test
    • why a learner needs a result now
    • that the learner is assessment ready
  • Supporting evidence for the TAG: Centre must have a body of evidence that a teacher can use to form the basis of their TAG judgement. 
  • Supporting the TAG: Using the evidence, the teacher can confirm that they believe the learner would have passed/achieved the assessment

Evidence to support TAG application

  • Rationale from the centre with:
    • clear evidence to demonstrate efforts to live test (both face-to-face and remotely)
    • need for a result by a set date to support progression
    • readiness for assessment between 1 August 2020 and 31 August 2021
  • Recommended evidence includes, but is not limited to:
    • completed sample/past paper taken as a mock test including the conditions the mock was taken under
    • formative assessment results
  • This could be further supported by other evidence which may include, but is not limited to:
    • any other learner work towards the qualification (i.e., work they have independently undertaken in class or at home)
    • learner work demonstrating the skills assessed by FS qualifications that has been completed in support of another qualification learning aim
  • Evidence described above plus commentary from the teacher (using agreed pass descriptors where available) to demonstrate how the evidence aligns

Functional Skills

While the use of a past/sample paper is not mandated, we highly recommend the use of this material as a key part of any supporting evidence as these tests have been produced by the Highfield or other awarding organisations and are therefore seen as a standardised source of evidence.

Conditions for completion of the mock test will not be mandated but the test used, and the mark scheme applied must be an awarding organisation produced sample, practice or past paper made available for this purpose.

As a guide, the Highfield mock papers carry a pass threshold of 60% to enable accurate assessment that will reflect the standards within the live assessments. While conditions for collating evidence are not mandated, centres will need to consider the conditions through which this evidence is gathered and should implement measures to ensure they are confident that the evidence is authentic to the learner, the evidence is reliable and comparable to those going through live testing.

Pass descriptors for functional skills are available here 

Further support

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this process or any of the TAG requirements, please contact your account manager, who will be happy to support and guide you further.