If you had a read through our recent blog on the different types of Assessor roles, you will have seen us mention several different methods of assessment. Typically, NVQ Assessors (who take learners through the entire qualification) assess learners against ‘Learning Outcomes’ and ‘Assessment Criteria’. On-programme Assessors guide the learner through the majority of their qualification, ensuring their KSBs (Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours) are up to standard.
When it comes to End-Point Assessments (EPAs), the assessments carried out are completely different to the on-programme element. This is why there are special Independent End-Point Assessors (IEPAs) who carry these out.
What is the purpose of an EPA?
Let’s have a little recap. An EPA is created to make sure that an apprentice is fully competent to carry out their job. KSBs are the main tools used to measure this competency. If an IEPA doesn’t believe the apprentice has hit all of the KBBs, then they are not fully competent and would therefore fail their End-Point Assessment.
What does an EPA involve?
Unfortunately, there is no common format for an EPA, they vary between each apprenticeship. The best way to find out what is included within an EPA or a specific apprenticeship is to look at the assessment plan. We have written a quick guide on how to find an assessment plan if you are unsure.
The assessment plan will outline the main requirements for the final test, and which methods should be used to assess the learner. Employers themselves can determine the KSBs required for the job roles, but the assessment plan will guide them on how to test for occupational competence.
One thing to note is that EPAs aren’t designed to test every single aspect of the standard. Hence the apprenticeship being split into the on-programme section and the end-point section.
Some of the following methods are commonly used to test competence:
- Multiple choice tests
- Evidence portfolio (such as a logbook)
- Observations on the learner’s practical skills
- Professional discussion
- Projects carried out in the workplace
- Portfolio-based interview
- Project presentation
We mentioned earlier about the KSBs being found within the assessment plan but there is also another document you need to be aware of; the Apprenticeship Standard. This contains all of the KSBs that the apprentice needs to meet, whereas the Assessment Plan details what KSB each method is evidencing.
The Apprenticeship Standard also contains additional information including the duration of the Apprenticeship, the level of the Apprenticeship, any qualifications needed beforehand (e.g. Maths, English), and career progression opportunities.
Where does an EPA take place?
EPAs are carried out under exam conditions, so they need to be carried out where the apprentice can concentrate. Usually they take place at their employer’s premises. If an apprentice fails all or part of their EPA they are able to resubmit for testing. However, the apprentice will have already been put forward for the EPA by their on-programme assessor so they should be ready for that stage.
We hope this has helped to look at some of the assessment methods used in EPA. It is a hard question to give a direct answer to as they vary so much between apprenticeships. If you would like any further information on End-Point Assessments please give our team a call on 01205 805 155.