Things a new Exams Officer should know… About Diploma admin

I mentioned in my post on 15 November about more specific posts. I hadn’t intended to make the first one about the Diploma, but in helping a fellow Exams Officer last week I  gathered the information that would form the basis of this.

Useful reference documents can be found on the QCDA website | Qualifications | Diploma | Diploma Administration

Or on the Nuts and Bolts website

Quick check list

To administer the Diploma candidates, you need to follow the following steps – in order:

  1. Make sure every student has a Unique Learner Number (ULN)
  2. Ensure you are able to access Diploma Aggregation Service (DAS) and you have set up all the roles for staff who will use it
  3. Create an association with a Diploma Awarding Body (DAB) in DAS
  4. Obtain Planned Programme of Study (PPoS) from teaching staff for each candidate and ensure home centre receives this.
  5. Validate the PPoS via the Validation site
  6. Open Learn Account for each Diploma Student
  7. Register with a DAB on DAS
  8. Register students for Principal Learning

Helpful information about DAS

Diploma aggregation service Quick guide Summer 2010

Diploma aggregation service User guide for centres Summer 2010

Obtaining ULNs

Acquire ULNs for all your Diploma students at the beginning of first year of study at the latest.

There are two routes to obtaining ULNs:

MIAP Learner Registration Service (LRS)

ULNs can also be obtained from the Learner Register (secure portal) which is provided by the Learning Records Service. Your head of centre or other authorised person must sign the service’s organisation agreement, which enables you to access the secure portal. Please contact the service’s customer helpdesk on 0845 602 2589 or email

School to School website

(Using S2S enables a Common Transfer File (CTF) to be obtained which can be uploaded into your schools MIS)

The Department for Education’s ULN service allows schools to access and maintain ULN information for their Diploma students via the School to School (S2S) website. This ULN service replaces the ULN feature on the Key to Success (K2S) website. As well as retrieving ULNs, the ULN service automatically updates the Learner Register when student data is uploaded from a school’s MIS. We recommend that schools perform a termly upload to the ULN service to keep the Learner Register up-to-date because this data is continually referenced by the Diploma aggregation service and awarding bodies. You can download the ULN service user guide and FAQs from this page. FE colleges should continue to use the Learning Records Service (formerly MIAP) to acquire ULNs. Remember to inform your awarding bodies of any changes to existing learner data.

Setting up DAS for your Centre

Ensure you or another appropriate centre representative signs up to the online QCDA DAS centre agreement.

Nominate a local administrator as part of the process for signing up to the online QCDA DAS centre agreement.

Setting up Roles in DAS

There are a variety of roles in DAS, these are:

  1. learner administrator – can open, manage and monitor learner accounts
  2. management information user – can extract management information reports
  3. learner data viewer – can view and extract information from learner accounts
  4. learner data maintainer – can open and edit learner accounts
  5. personal, learning and thinking skills and work experience recorder – can record completion of these elements
  6. Learner Diploma awarding body relationship manager – can register learners’ Diplomas with Diploma awarding bodies and manage Diploma award claims.

Creating an association with a DAB

The association is created using DAS by entering an alias for every Diploma awarding body. Your centre’s alias is always your National Centre Number (NCN).

Planned Programme of Study

There is a study pack on the QCDA website, where a variety of helpful documents can be downloaded to help with the preparation of the PPoS.

PPoS Validation

There is a separate website for validation of PPoS’s

Make sure that you have all the information required to complete the PPoS prior to getting started. You will need:

  1. Line of Learning
  2. Level [NB: Level 2 = Higher]
  3. Principal Learning QAN and Title
  4. Functional Skills QAN and Title (for English, ICT and Maths)
  5. Project QAN and Title
  6. Additional and Specialist Learning (ASL) Awarding Body, Qualification, QAN and Title

There is a guide that can be downloaded from the site.

PPoS’s can be uploaded to the validator.

Click Validate once all details are entered and print the results

Opening Learner Accounts

Open learner accounts in the Diploma aggregation service (DAS) using the ULNs for your students. [HINT: Use the Diploma aggregation service Quick guide]

Inform other DAS users in your centre and consortium once the accounts are open.

Register with DAB

Some Diploma awarding bodies require registration. This is not connected to principal learning registration, and will need to be done via the Diploma aggregation service (DAS).

The Diploma awarding body will then be able to anticipate your needs and provide support.

Once you have opened learner accounts, it’s advisable to set an intention to claim a Diploma award for all students who require a Diploma award on results day. This, however, can be done at any time up to the end of March in the year of award.

Find out which Diploma awarding body you’ll be using for each line of learning.

Register with that awarding body using DAS.

Set an intention to claim for each Diploma student if you choose to at this stage.

Register students for Principal Learning

Some component awarding bodies require registration for principal learning, and this should be undertaken by the home centre.

Find out whether the component awarding body you are using requires registrations for principal learning.

Make registrations following component awarding body processes (if required) by the deadline set by the component awarding body. You use the usual awarding body processes to do this – basedata and electronic data interchange (EDI) or via the secure online site. This is not done in the Diploma aggregation service.

All entries for Diploma qualifications should be made by the centre where the assessment will take place. Qualification results for principal learning will be accredited to the home centre and will require a cash-in or award entry. It is essential that you share information from Diploma learner study plans with exams office staff in assessment centres, so that they can make entries for your students when required. Entries should be made directly with the component awarding bodies, not via the Diploma aggregation service.

Find out the entry deadlines for each Diploma qualification.

Ensure everyone in your consortium knows which centre is entering students for each unit or qualification.

Ensure teaching staff are aware of the entry deadlines.

Enter students who will be taking assessments at your centre with the relevant component awarding body.

Make sure that each student’s ULN is used with every entry or registration for all qualifications.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the QCDA website, from where I drew most of this information, but have simply consolidated it into one place, for ease of access. The QCDA website still remains your first point of reference for Diploma (and mine).


3 thoughts on “Things a new Exams Officer should know… About Diploma admin

  1. Previously QCDA and the Awarding Bodies provided training for Exams Office staff. Until a structure is put in place post-QCDA, it’s difficult to say what training gaps there will be. Mind you EOA (Exams Officers Association) may be involved in taking Exams Officer support forward, too. A I hear of developments I will endeavour to put them up here for general consumption.

  2. Pingback: Educational Blog Digest 1st December 2010 | Creative Education Blog

  3. There is so much to think about as an exams officer!

    We don’t currently run any training courses for exams officers, I am beginning to think this is probably a major oversight. What do you think? What would be of interest?

    I highlighted your post in my Daily Digest of Education related blogs today as I thought other teachers would find it of interest. You can see it here:

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