If you are considering taking the next step in your IQA career and completing an IQA qualification, then this is the perfect blog for you. Becoming an IQA is an exciting choice. Particularly as it will allow you to have a bigger input into the delivery of qualifications, ensuring standardisation across the board.
For many years, there has been a stigma around vocational qualifications and how they are a ‘poor’ route into academic qualifications. However as times have changed and standards have continually improved, this is no longer the case. External and internal quality assurances play a big role in setting the standards in vocational education. There are 4 main things that need to be communicated to new IQAs which we are going to discuss.
Be supportive towards Assessors
Whilst as an IQA you are there to help set the assessing standards, it is important that you are there to support Assessors too. Your role as a lead IQA is to help improve the quality of delivery to learners, ensuring that they are achieving the right levels of knowledge and competence.
You are not there to catch Assessors out! It is important to support them and help them develop in their roles, so they can improve the level of education their learners receive. Rather than producing written reports to Assessors try to give them verbal feedback instead. Things often come out wrong on email, particularly when there is no real tone of voice. When providing feedback after an observation, IQAs should ask the Assessor how they feel it went, rather than jumping to the negatives right away.
Have a rough plan
Prior to observing your Assessor, you will have already carried out a risk assessment in order to establish how much IQA sampling is required. The amount of sampling required will depend on things like the experience and qualifications that the Assessor has; how long the assessment they are carrying out is; whether they are responsive to feedback; and whether they attend regular standardisation meetings.
It is always a good idea to have a basic plan (following the CAMERA method is a good start):
- Methods of assessment
- Assessment sites
Also remember to not just carry out your IQA activity at the end of the learning programme; it needs to be done throughout. For example, you could carry out an IQA within 8-12 weeks of the learner starting to ensure they have been given a proper induction. Then again at the middle and the end of the course to see how much progress they have made.
Create a standardised approach
We talk a lot about standardisation in the world of assessment, as it is a very important thing to remember. If you are new to IQA it can be hard to create your own standard. So, it’s a good idea to carry out the first couple of IQAs with another person so you can ask questions. You may even find that you have similar issues as another IQA. Using your combined knowledge and experience, you can solve the problems together.
During standardisation meetings, it is always a good idea to include Assessors so that you can share best practices and new resources with them. Assessing can be quite a lonely job travelling from one place of work to another, so be sure to include Assessors within your regular meetings.
Check the authenticity of learners’ work
Unfortunately, there is always going to be a certain level of plagiarism present in the education system. As an IQA, you need to be sure that learners are carrying out their own work. With the introduction of the internet, it means resources are easily accessible and learners can easily palm off work as their own. There are lots of plagiarism checkers available online, so be sure to scan learners’ work through one of these.
It is also important to provide support and advice to Assessors where their learners have plagiarised work, to allow them to spot it earlier on in the future. Of course it is always going to be an awkward conversation between an Assessor and a learner. Being there to help the Assessor confront the learner will put them at ease slightly.
So there you have it, the main things you will learn during your IQA qualification. If you are wanting to become an IQA, the best course to take is the Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice. This will give you all the information you need regarding your responsibilities as an IQA, and how to support Assessors in the best way possible.
If you would like any more information about either the Lead IQA course or anything we have mentioned in this blog, please feel free to give our expert team a call on 01205 805155.