Understanding qualifications

A man sat at a desk with a folder of information

The units that make up qualifications are based on current best practice and show the latest knowledge and skills needed to work in adult social care.

They provide a standard for assessing learners' knowledge, understanding and skills.

As well as their use in qualifications, you can use the units to:

  • produce in-house learning and check gaps and overlaps of provision
  • check the content and relevance of any learning and development they buy
  • assess the learning and development needs of learners
  • put together individual and team learning and development plans. 

Learning providers and publishers can use them to:

  • check their learning and development covers current best practice and fill any gaps
  • prove their training mirrors the units and use this to market their products.

Learners can use them to:

  • check gaps in their learning
  • plan continued professional development
  • identify career options and pathways
  • support transition between different service settings
  • improve self-confidence and motivation.


Units are made up of learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Learning outcomes describe what a learner is expected to know, understand or be able to do on completion of the unit.

Assessment criteria detail the practical skills and/or knowledge a learner must show for the learning outcomes of a unit to be achieved.

Most units say the knowledge and skills that are required to prove competence.

Some units ask for knowledge only and so can be delivered outside the work setting.

Below is an example of a unit from the optional group in the level 2 diploma. We have highlighted the learning outcomes and assessment criteria that require proof of knowledge in bold. Those not in bold require proof of skill/competence.

Understanding this structure makes it easier to use the units for the different purposes listed above.


Unit HSC 2004 - Contribute to monitoring the health of individuals affected by health conditions

Learning outcomes 
The learner will:

Assessment criteria 
The learner can:

1. Understand monitoring of the health of individuals affected by health conditions


1.1 Explain the importance of monitoring the health of individuals affected by a health condition

1.2 Describe ways in which the health of individuals can be monitored 

2. Be able to carry out observations of the health of individuals affected by health conditions 

2.1 Identify what observations have been agreed to monitor the health condition of an individual

2.2 Carry out required observations in ways that:

respect the individual's dignity and privacy

reassure the individual and minimise any fears or concerns

follow agreed ways of working 

3. Be able to record and report on observations

3.1 Record required indicators of an individual's condition

3.2 Report changes in the individual's condition, in line with agreed ways of working

3.3 Explain when changes may be needed to usual recording and reporting requirements about an individual's health condition 

4. Be able to respond to changes in an individual's condition 

4.1 Take immediate action in line with agreed ways of working when changes in an individual's health cause concern

4.2 Work with others to review information about changes in an individual's health

4.3 Clarify own understanding about changes to requirements for monitoring

4.4 Implement required changes to monitoring processes



Guidance for learning providers

We’re offering help to learning providers on all the new changes to social care qualifications and Apprenticeships

”By understanding the sector better you can improve your offer and potentially increase your business too”




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