CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development, and as an Assessor, it is very important to keep it up to date. You probably already know this, but in case you have forgotten, let’s have a little refresher on CPD.
CPD is all about maintaining and improving your skills and knowledge through training courses and qualifications. A CPD record is usually kept in the form of a portfolio, and should include goals and objectives in order to help you improve even more.
As an assessor, you will be seen as an ‘expert’ by your learners, so it is important that you stay as up to date within your field as possible. Also, if you do decide to move jobs your prospective employer will want to see your CPD record, so it is good practice to keep it updated!
How to keep it updated
After that quick reminder of what a CPD record is, you may be thinking well how do I add to this? What classes as CPD? Here are the top 9 ways to keep your CPD record up to date:
Those boring standardisation meetings that you have to drag yourself to at least twice a year actually count towards your CPD. So it really is worth attending them after all! These meetings are held to ensure all assessors are updated on any changes to assessing standards, so in all seriousness they are very important to attend. They also provide a great opportunity to share tips and best practices with other assessors, enhancing your knowledge.
If you aren’t sure when these standardisation meetings are held, they are generally arranged by the Lead IQA for your centre, so contact them directly.
CPD events & conferences
There are always hundreds of CPD events or conferences held throughout the UK, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. They are a great way to keep up to date on any specific changes to the qualifications you deliver. Also they often bring in expert speakers to help promote the event so you never know who you may rub shoulders with! If you are keen to stay one step ahead, events and conferences are the way forward.
Feedback > Reflection > Evaluation > Action
We have already run through the importance of feedback, but going through this feedback > reflection > evaluation > action loop is a great CPD activity. Let’s take a look through each process:
This is great to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Feedback can be very useful when it is taken on board, and helps to grow your skills further. Whether the feedback comes from your colleagues or your learners, make a note of it in your CPD record. You can learn a lot from constructive criticism, and it will help you to become an even better assessor.
Sometimes it is good to stop and take a breath. Looking through your feedback, what can you learn from it? Are there common themes? How can you change the way you work in order to overcome these weaknesses?
Evaluation is similar to reflection, but this process is more about putting together some ideas on how you are going to change. Sometimes just going through the motions and making yourself aware of the areas in which you need to improve is enough. Often when we do the same thing daily we slip into bad habits without even noticing, until someone calls you out on them. For any other weaknesses that need further improvement, you have the final step.
This is such an important thing to do. You need to write down any areas for improvement that your evaluation flagged up. Remember to keep reviewing these actions, and make sure you actually do something about it using the most appropriate CPD activity.
You may already have an email inbox that is flooded with spam each day, but one really easy way to keep up to date with your sector is by signing up to newsletters. There are often lots of changes that happen within the Further Education sector, so receiving regular updates is important.
Taking the time once or twice a week to have a quick read through your favourite industry blogs is a great form of CPD. With things changing very rapidly, you need to make sure you keep in the loop. This doesn’t mean you have to pour over your computer for hours on end, there are lots of good resources out there – a quick Google search should point you in the right direction.
Courses and qualifications
It is always good to have new qualifications on your CV, particularly if you are looking for a new job. Our guide to having a killer CV outlines some of the key things you should include, but keeping it updated is really important. There are lots of short CPD courses available online, you just need to find a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) such as Open Learn.
Whether you need to brush up on your English or Maths skills, or want to take up sign language to help with assessing an impaired learner, add it to your CPD. Not only will you be learning valuable new skills, but you will also be showing your motivation and drive to succeed.
Now this can be a bit of a minefield. Most assessors now carry out all their paperwork online using tablets as opposed to carrying hoards of paper round, so you need to understand how to use the new technology! There are so many great apps and programmes out there now which can help to make your job a lot easier. Spend some time doing some research, you never know what you might come across which could save you time in the long run. Oh, and also make sure you are competent in using this technology before you turn up to assess someone. You don’t want to look clueless when you arrive!
Social media groups
The world of social media is growing daily, and there are lots of groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that are specific to assessors. These are great places to share advice and tips, and you can also use them to build your network of assessors.
Become a bookworm
Not literally, but do read as much as you can. Reading is such a great way to expand your knowledge. Whether you choose to read journals, textbooks or course specifications, you can broaden your understanding in areas related to your job.
How many of these can you tick off?
Sorry if we have bombarded you slightly with all of those ways of keeping your CPD record up to date! As you can see though, there are lots of different ways in which you can improve your skills and become an even better assessor. Now you have no excuses, it is down to you to start working on them!