We are almost at the end of our blog series on the apprenticeship standard reform, so we thought it would be a good idea to do a mini round-up of the methods of assessments. There are quite a few common themes in assessment methods within End-Point Assessments; so let’s take a quick look at these.
Introduction To EPA
By now you are probably fully aware of what an End-Point Assessment (EPA) is, but just for clarity we will run through this. Every apprentice aiming for the new apprenticeship standard will be required to pass an EPA at the end of their programme. In the older style, framework-based apprenticeship, assessments were carried out continuously throughout the duration of the apprenticeship. With the new standard, on-programme assessments are still carried out to check the apprentice is making good progress. They then have to pass through the Gateway phase which confirms they are ready for the EPA.
Time-Sensitive Parts of the EPA
The full details of what needs to be covered within the EPA will be set out in the individual assessment plan for the apprenticeship being assessed. However, there are a few standard timescales that you need to be aware of as an Assessor.
Firstly, the EPA itself must be completed within a maximum of 6 months. The countdown begins when the apprentice has met the EPA Gateway requirements. All apprentices must spend a minimum of 12 months on the on-programme part of the apprenticeship. Typically, full-time apprentices spend around 24 months on this phase before entering the Gateway. 20% of the training they receive should be off-the-job.
The Assessor has the discretion to increase or decrease the duration of the assessment by 10%. This is to allow the apprentice time to complete their answer. If you are not sure how long the apprentice has to complete their assessment, this will be clearly stated in the assessment plan.
The apprentice will conduct their assessments and submit any written assignments or portfolio of evidence to the EPAO within 15 weeks of passing through the Gateway. It’s important that the employer understands the apprentice may require several days to complete the written part of the assessment; and this needs to be taken into account.
Similarities In Assessment Methods
All of the methods of assessment used within the EPA involve some form of evidence gathering. This forms part of the competency units, which show the learner has met the standards required. It demonstrates that they not only have the knowledge required to pass the apprenticeship; but they are able to apply this too. Evidence can be gathered either online or in-person, and is often uploaded online for the EPAO to review.
Each method of assessment will have their own grading criteria. The grading criteria will be set out within the assessment plan specific to the apprenticeship. One really important thing here is that ALL EPA assessments must be passed for the EPA to be passed overall. So a pass in the professional discussion, followed by a fail in the written assignment will be a fail overall (and vice-versa).
Standardisation is the process of checking that all Assessors working within the same EPAO are assessing to the same standards. The requirements for each qualification should be strictly followed, and consistently met for each apprentice. External and Internal Quality Assurance reports are also discussed during standardisation meetings. This is to ensure any feedback from the awarding bodies is being implemented.
Once the apprentice has completed their EPA, it is subject to external quality assurance which is carried out by an independent organisation. This ensures consistency in both the assessment methods used, and the quality of these.
Assessor Qualifications Required
As a bare minimum, the Assessor standards are listed within the assessment plan. However, we would always advise that you undertake the Level 3 Certificate In Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA). This allows you to assess learners both in the workplace and in their learning environment too.
If you are interested in being involved in the Quality Assurance side of the EPA, you will need to hold an IQA qualification. This will allow you to quality assure qualifications, and the Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes & Practices will allow you to lead and manage the entire quality assurance process.
The roles between a ‘traditional’ assessor and an End-Point Assessor have quite significant differences. Because of this, we at Brooks and Kirk designed our very own exclusive EPA course. It’s an online course, designed to learn about and put into practice the skills unique to the role of an Independent End-Point Assessor.
If you would like any further information on either of these qualifications, please give us a call on 01205 805155 or email email@example.com.