Signature Level 3 Certificate in Irish Sign Language (QCF)

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This QIP covers a vocational qualification which is not listed on the Department for Education (DfE) 16 – 19 performance tables for England.

This qualification is not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables because it is not designed to meet the requirements of the Key Stage 5 performance tables.

Countries
  • Northern Ireland
  • Ireland
Purpose

Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable learners to gain the skills required to perform a particular job , or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.

Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the DfE performance tables, if approved for teaching to 16-19 year olds by the Secretary of State for Education in England under Section 96, where this is in the best interests of individual learners.


Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language. It is useful for those who work on a regular basis with deaf people (social workers, teachers of the deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers in deaf organisations, schools. etc.), those who aspire to work in these contexts, and those who wish to expand their knowledge and skills in Irish Sign Language.

This qualification is part of a larger suite of qualifications in Irish Sign Language (ISL), ranging from Level 1 to Level 6.

Education context

This qualification is designed for post-16 learners and falls under the oversight of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). A significant number of learners will undertake these qualifications post-19.

Following its 2012 review of post-19 qualifications the ESFA removed 1,800 qualifications from public funding and a further 1,000 in 2014. In March 2014 the government published a Reform Plan for Vocational Education.

This qualification has not been subject to the same reforms as Applied General and Tech Level qualifications (which are specifically designed for 16-19 year old learners), however the ESFA has implemented a new set of business rules for the approval of qualifications for funding, based on the 2013 Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England. These rules recognise that adults may have different needs, aspirations and ambitions to younger people and include that qualifications should be:

  • relevant to individuals and employers and affordable for all sizes of business and for individuals
  • rigorous and based on a robust future-looking occupational standard designed and assessed by the sector
  • recognised as worthy of investment, giving a clear signal of the economically valuable skills, knowledge and understanding required in an occupation now and in the future.

Regulation of vocational qualifications

The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country – Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland) SQA (Scotland) and Qualifications Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.

Awarding organisation
  • Signature
Qualification code
Structure

This qualification comprises three units, all of which are mandatory.

Subject areas
  • Sign Linguistics Knowledge
  • Understand varied ISL in a range of work and social situations
  • Use varied ISL in a range of work and social situations
Levels
  • Level 3

Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.

Grading

Candidates must achieve a Pass in all units to achieve an overall Pass in the qualification.

Assessment

Sign Linguistics Knowledge

One 45 minute written paper requiring short written answers, which is externally marked.

Understand varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

The assessment requires the candidate to watch a 20 minute conversation between two deaf people, and provide answers to questions based on what they have understood about the conversation. This is externally marked.

Use varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

The candidate will prepare a eight to ten minute presentation based on a topic chosen four weeks prior to the assessment from a set of topics given to them. They will then have an eight  to ten minute conversation with their teacher. The assessment is video recorded and sent to an assessor for external marking.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Sign Linguistics Knowledge – 33.3%.

Understand varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations – 33.3%.

Use varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations – 33.3%.

Resit arrangements

All units are assessed individually, and can be re-sat should candidates fail one of the units of the three associated with this qualification.

Guided/notional learning hours
150 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

Sign Linguistics Knowledge

20 guided learning hours and 20 additional study. It carries four credits at Level 3.

Understand varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

65 guided learning hours and 55 additional study. It carries 12 credits at Level 3.

Use varied Irish Sign Language in a range of work and social situations

65 guided learning hours of 65 and 55 additional study. It carries 12 credits at Level 3.

For comparison, an A level is 360 GLH.

UCAS Tariff points

Signature Level 3 Certificate in Irish Sign Language

Grade Points
P 16
Key issues for UK HE admissions

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications that are not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables for England:

  • Some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE.
  • Applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature learners who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications.
  • These qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
  • If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.

Holders of this qualification will be able to communicate with deaf people who use Irish Sign Language.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Candidates' assessments are 'on demand', with a notice period of between one and six weeks.

Candidates will receive their results within six weeks of the assessment date.

Certificates are issued to successful candidates within four weeks of results being issued.

Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of this qualification are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification.  HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.

View the results available through ABL.

Certifications of this qualification are reported to Ofqual and the DfE.

Progression information

Learners can progress to other qualifications relating to British Sign Language, including:

  • Level 4 Certificate in Irish Sign Language
  • Level 4 Certificate in Irish Sign Language and Introduction to Interpreting
  • Level 6 Certificate in Irish Sign Language
  • Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting