Centres are expected to abide by ABRSM’s policies covering the items below, and should be aware of the processes and requirements:
- Complaints and appeals
- Malpractice and maladministration
- Data protection
As well as our own rigorous quality assurance policies, Ofqual also monitors the quality of the awards present on its databank and provides feedback as appropriate.
Rationales behind the rules of combination and the qualification itself are also reviewed to make sure they're an accurate representation of the qualification. This is done through a qualifications monitoring board in collaboration with other awarding organisations for the CME qualification.
After going through quality checks by ABRSM staff, certificates are sent together with any additional paperwork to the centre for distribution to learners. Our certificates are designed to include various security features to prevent copying or forgery, including:
- Our logo in hologram stamped on a printed grey tint box
- Gold foil
- Modified fonts
- A numismatic-style design of the crest on the certificate background
- Special design incorporating colour not available on laser printers
- Paper containing enhanced toner adhesion and a frangible surface that breaks apart when tampered with to prevent alteration or forgery
Our certificates meet the design specifications outlined by Ofqual for accredited qualifications and include the appropriate credit value and level.
As part of the application process for approval, a centre will need to provide a detailed description of the complaints and appeals procedure they intend to (or already have) in place.
As centres work with learners directly, it's their responsibility to make sure a fair and appropriate policy is in place to handle complaints and appeals from their learners or staff. This should include processes to deal with complaints against internal assessors and those related to the venue or facilities.
Appeals against results issued by the centre’s internal assessors should be made directly to the centre. There are processes set up to ensure the quality of assessors within each centre, to avoid appeals where possible.
As the awarding organisation for the qualification, ABRSM has quality assurance processes in place, including moderation of results before certification, to ensure fairness and consistency of marking.
For complaints and appeals against ABRSM as an awarding organisation for the qualification, or against ABRSM staff involved in the process of CME qualification management and coordination, a letter of complaint should be addressed to the Teacher Support team, ABRSM, 4 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU.
ABRSM’s priority is to maintain the integrity of our qualifications and assessments. Any allegations made against ABRSM staff involving the falsification of qualifications and assessments or assisting learners with malpractice will be considered as potential gross misconduct, and will be dealt with in accordance with our disciplinary and dismissal policy.
Where marks, mark forms and/or certificates appear to be falsified, ABRSM will:
- Check computer records to ascertain the correct result(s).
- Write to the person sending the documentation or making the claim of malpractice.
- Confirm that ABRSM takes very seriously any possibility of qualification or assessment results being misrepresented, and will investigate as a matter of urgency – it's important that no allegations or judgements about who may be responsible are made at this stage.
- Confirm the true mark(s) if the person enquiring is a learner, a centre or a centre representative.
- Pass all information to the relevant quality assurance manager within the Chief Examiner’s department, who'll write to the learner, centre or representative to:
- State the facts that are known
- State the importance of the integrity of ABRSM certificates and results
- Ask for any information that would help with the investigation
- Give a date by which a reply is required
- Confirm that during the investigation it won't be possible to accept further assessment or qualification entries from the centre involved (although any existing entries will be honoured)
If the investigation concludes that the centre isn't guilty of malpractice
Written confirmation of this will be sent to the centre and any ABRSM registration will be reinstated immediately.
If the centre denies involvement and there's no clear evidence of malpractice
Written notice of the outcome of the investigation will be sent to the centre and ABRSM registration will be reinstated.
If the centre admits malpractice
The Chief Examiner will review the full details of the case in consultation with the Chief Executive in order to decide what action is appropriate. Written notice of the decision will be sent to the centre. Consideration will be given to the gravity and scope of the incident(s), and possible outcomes include:
- Permanently suspending the centre’s ABRSM registration and notifying the centre that we'll no longer accept entries for our assessments or other services either from the centre or from anyone acting on its behalf
- Permanently suspending the centre’s ABRSM registration and notifying the centre that we'll no longer accept entries for our assessments or other services from them (although learners can be entered for assessments by another centre)
- Reinstating the centre’s ABRSM registration but requiring them to supply the names and addresses of any future learners so that we can make checks to verify the accuracy of assessment results
- Reinstating the centre’s ABRSM registration but requiring a written undertaking that there'll be no further recurrences
If the centre doesn't respond or denies involvement but there's clear evidence
The Chief Examiner will review the full details of the case in consultation with the Chief Executive in order to decide what action is appropriate. Written notice of the decision will be sent to the centre. Consideration will be given to the gravity and scope of the incident(s) and possible outcomes include:
- Permanently suspending the centre’s ABRSM registration and notifying them that we'll no longer accept entries for our assessments or other services from them (although learners can be entered for assessments by another centre)
- Further action involving legal advice and/or the police
- The decision being reviewed after a period of three months if the centre provides additional information to explain how the alleged malpractice occurred
If learners have been disadvantaged by malpractice on the part of their centre, ABRSM will:
- Advise learners about the outcome of the investigation
- Offer advice on finding a new centre
- Offer free assessment entry or re-entry, if appropriate
In all cases where there's evidence that malpractice has occurred, ABRSM will:
The following information on data protection refers specifically to data surrounding the Certificate for Music Educators (CME) qualification.
Moderation and retention of work
Moderation is the process for ensuring the consistency of marking standards applied by the internal assessor. An appointed moderator will view a selection of the submitted work and either confirm or adjust the assessment. ABRSM moderators are experienced education professionals and have DBS checks before being offered work.
After moderation, any work submitted for assessment will be held for a period of three months. Some materials may be archived for training purposes in line with our internal quality-assurance procedures and as part of processes required by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
Parental consent and professional values
We're keen to make sure that the purposes and use of any video recordings associated with the CME showing children and young people are clearly understood by parents/carers when giving their consent to their children being filmed. As part of the assessment process, all participants are encouraged to follow best practice, not only in relation to gaining parental consent, but also in the centre’s explanation of subsequent use of any video material.
Collection of personal data
It's necessary for learners to supply their personal data and provide all the information requested in application documents where applicable for a centre to process and consider their applications.
The personal data provided will be used for processing applications for course admission, academic and administrative communication, alumni management and contacts, research, and statistical and marketing purposes. The data will be handled initially by the centre but will also be transferred to ABRSM for these purposes.
Learners can opt out of receiving communications for marketing purposes, and this option should be clearly indicated on all application forms that centres manage.
See our safeguarding policy.