As an assessor, it is important to keep your CPD up to date. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been an assessor for 6 months or 6 years, Continuing Professional Development is essential. Luckily for you, we have 9 ways you can keep your CPD record up to date! But first, just in case you’re new to this whole CPD shebang;
What is CPD?
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. CPD is the process of undertaking activities to maintain and develop, new and existing skills within your occupation. Whilst continuing your professional development you could come across new skills that could be used in daily life as well as your job role.
Normally, your evidence of CPD is collected in a portfolio. This can either be stored electronically on a computer or as a hard copy with documents in a folder. This then becomes your CPD record.
Why is CPD important?
CPD is important for quite an obvious reason really. It is a way of ensuring personal development. As a professional and as an assessor, more specifically, you need to constantly be looking for ways to improve. You are seen as an ‘expert’ by your learners, so live up to that title! At the end of the day, you want to become the best assessor possible; and maintaining an up to date CPD record is how you can achieve that. Furthermore, prospective employers will want to see your CPD record. So, it is a necessity!
9 Ways To Keep Your CPD Record Up To Date:
If you are working as an assessor, it is a requirement that you attend standardisation meetings. In fact, it is recommended that you attend at least two per year. Standardisation meetings ensure that all assessors are updated on any changes that may affect then and that they are working and assessing to the same standard. These meetings also provide a great opportunity for assessors to share best practices and personal assessment techniques. It would generally be the Lead IQA for your centre who would arrange and chair these standardisation meetings.
CPD Events & Conferences
You never normally need to look too far to find CPD Events or Conferences/Networking meetings that you can attend. This goes for both events specific to your area of expertise and those that are specific to your role as an assessor. This kind of CPD activity can be very useful when there are big changes on the horizon for the qualifications you deliver.
Generally speaking, these kinds of events also tend to have industry experts as speakers. If there is, then you will also have the opportunity to discuss any areas you need advice on as well. By attending these conferences, you’re giving yourself the best chance of being one step ahead of everyone else.
Feedback > Reflection > Evaluation > Action
Going through those four stages can be an extremely useful CPD activity in itself! Let’s take you through each stage;
Feedback – This is priceless. When given correctly and taken on board, Feedback can be a great resource for identifying areas for improvement; which at the end of the day, is what CPD is all about! Whether it comes from your colleagues, learners, or just people around you, constructive criticism can be a good thing and something you can learn from. So, make sure you record and store any feedback you receive, good or bad.
Reflection – Now that you know what other people think your strengths and weaknesses are, you need to ask yourself; Have you made any mistakes? If so, how could you avoid them again in the future? Have there been any questions that you have been asked and unable to answer confidently? By reflecting on your past work, you can identify weaknesses that others may not have spotted. This will then make the next step easier.
Evaluation – By taking the feedback you have received from others and your own self-reflection, you can evaluate which areas you can improve in and how. This process should then leave you with some form of an action plan. Hopefully, some of the areas that you identified as weaknesses will already have been resolved to an extent. Because sometimes, just going through this process and making yourself aware of an area for improvement is enough. It might just have been a bad habit that has been pointed out to you whilst you’re communicating with your learners for example. This is an area to your practice that you can improve on just from realising that it is happening if you like. But for any other weaknesses, you have the final step.
Action – The most simple, but most important stage. You need to action any areas for improvement, that was highlighted by your evaluation, through the most appropriate CPD activity. This could be any of the other 8 in this post, it just depends which will be the most suitable.
Subscribing to newsletters is a good way to keep on top of any changes, whether this is changes in your sector or your role as an assessor. There could be big changes within the Further Education sector as a whole which you need constant updates on. Just like there has been in recent years with the Apprenticeship Reform! Also, if you come across something in one of the newsletters that you are unfamiliar with, then you might need to do some research into it. This leads me on to my next point…
It is crucial you keep up to date with what’s going on in your sector and in further education. Things can change so quickly or go out of date. Like I mentioned above, it may just be a case of receiving an email that mentions something which you are unfamiliar with. Actually spending some time doing some research into that could end up being extremely beneficial. After all, it could end up being something that you integrate into your day-to-day assessments. Probably the quickest and easiest way to do your research these days is just to have a Google and see what blogs are out there. You don’t have to spend a copious amount of time researching, just an hour here or there will do.
Courses and Qualifications
Are your qualifications looking a bit dated? Well, let’s look at updating that rusty ol’ CV then! It’s always good to have recent courses and qualifications on your CV. Maybe you haven’t studied English or Maths since doing your GCSEs or even O levels? As an assessor, it’s always good to be able to demonstrate competency in Maths and English. There are plenty of small CPD courses available online. You just need to find a MOOC and a course ideal for you. “What on earth is a MOOC?” You’re probably thinking…
MOOCs – MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses. There are a variety of different courses out there on the internet. Often these courses are free, which is a bonus! Maybe one of your employees or learner’s first language isn’t English. Learning the basics of a different language could help both you and the other person out and make working or assessing run a bit more smoothly. One of the best MOOCs out there is Open Learn. They are connected to the Open University and they offer hundreds of free online courses.
As an assessor, you may have learners with specific needs such as a hearing or visual impairment. So, if you are looking for course inspiration, maybe a sign language or braille course would be a good idea? As well as picking up new, valuable and transferable skills, it would help to put both you and your impaired learners at ease.
Last but not least… Another area to consider when looking into small courses is Technology. With Virtual Learning Environments now being the norm when it comes to delivery methods, it can’t be ignored. So, it would certainly be worth looking into what IT-related courses are out there.
New apps, computer programs and devices can all compliment your role as an assessor. It is just a case of knowing what’s out there and how to use it! For example, one of your learners finds it difficult to read on paper as they’re dyslexic. But you heard about a new app which can scan the writing and format it into speech. Therefore, the learner can listen to a piece of text instead of struggling to read it. Before putting these apps or new technologies into practice, I would recommend spending some time having a play around testing. This is normally best done in your own time. Because the last thing you want to do is sit there learning on the job, looking like you haven’t got a clue what to do. Instead, make sure that you turn up looking like a tech-expert.
Social Media Groups
Speaking of technology, you could join groups on different social media websites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. These groups could be specific to the Further Education sector and Assessing field in particular, or they could be related to the industry you assess in. These groups provide a platform for almost a kind of on-going standardisation meeting. People share news stories that relate to the purpose of that group. In addition to that, it is also a great way to gain more contacts and seek advice from like-minded professionals.
Read, Read, Read
As well as researching online, completing small courses, attending standardisation meetings and all of the above for that matter, you could read. Read, read and then read some more. Whether it be journals, textbooks or even your own course specifications! The journals and textbooks that you choose to read could be to do with assessing or your area of expertise or both! By reading, you can broaden your understanding in areas that directly relate to your job. For example, one of your responsibilities as an assessor is to know the specifications of the qualification you’re assessing. It doesn’t sound like the most entertaining bedtime read admittedly. And to be truthful, that’s because it really isn’t! However, the better you know a specification, the quicker and easier you can plan and carry out assessments.
That’s A Lot of CPD!
We’ve taken you on a long CPD journey during this blog. Starting with what CPD is, then all the way through our 9 ways to keep your CPD up to date. Now you have no excuses as to why you can’t keep your CPD record up to date. We hope you have learned something from this blog. Until next time, happy assessing!