Since the Apprenticeship reform, Apprenticeships now look very different. One of the most noticeable differences is the birth of a new assessing role; here’s everything you need to know about End-Point Assessments and how you can get involved with them!
There may be quite a few terms that are new to you within this article. But don’t worry, because the definitions for all of the new phrases can be found in the Glossary.
The introduction of End-Point Assessments is just one of the many things that are changing in Apprenticeships. If you would like to find out more about the upcoming apprenticeship reform, then please read our post; What is changing in the world of Apprenticeships in 2017?
But for the purpose of this article, we will be focussing on the new role of an End-Point Assessor.
Getting to the End-Point Assessment
Before the reform, when an apprentice had completed all of the components within their apprenticeship (i.e: their vocational qualification, functional skills, health and safety qualification etc.) then they could be certificated for their apprenticeship. However, now, once the ‘On-Programme Element’ has been completed, the apprentice will then have the opportunity to access the ‘Gateway’. This will then enable them to progress on to the End-Point Assessment (EPA).
What do End-Point Assessments involve?
Essentially, the End-Point Assessments will involve an independent assessor carrying out a few final assessments with the apprentice. The purpose of this is to ensure that the apprentice has met the ‘Apprenticeship Standard’. In essence, the EPA will confirm whether or not the apprentice can be deemed occupationally competent within their role. However, unlike before, it won’t just be a case of apprenticeship certificate or no apprenticeship certificate. There is now a new grading criteria as well. Grade boundaries will detail what kind of ‘pass’ the learner has achieved on their apprenticeship. Apprentices can either achieve a pass, merit or distinction dependent on how well they perform in their End-Point Assessment.
The Assessment Plan
Every apprenticeship will have its own ‘Assessment Plan’. Whilst the assessment plans vary hugely in terms of content and appearance from one sector to another, they will all cover: what the assessment comprises, what ‘components’ (assessment methods) are to be used and how the grading will be applied. As you can see, the End-Point Assessor isn’t allowed to develop their own assessment plan. Instead, they are told exactly what they are going to be assessing and how they will be doing so.
I have included the links to a couple of assessment plans below which are already approved for delivery. You will see that the layout of the standards varies. If you would like to find a specific apprenticeship standard within your industry, then here is the list of approved Apprenticeship Standards.
Who can be an End-Point Assessor?
Unfortunately, whilst we would love to be able to say, “to become an End-Point Assessor you must have…”, we can’t. It is the Further Education industry that we are in after all, so of course, it can’t be that simple! But I’m sure we can make it simple, after all, that is what we do!
Hopefully, after reading the section above, you will now know all about assessment plans. Well, if you want to be an End-Point Assessor for a specific standard, you should be able to look in the Assessment Plan and find out what the requirements are for the independent assessor. The key word in that sentence is ‘should’. This is why it isn’t as simple as it should be because a significant amount of assessment plans don’t specify what the requirements are for the End-Point Assessor. From a quality perspective, we believe that the requirements to work as an End-Point Assessor should be exactly the same as the requirements to become an NVQ Assessor; evidence of occupational competence and a valid assessor qualification. Most Assessment Organisations appear to be adopting these same requirements as well. Wait… assessment organisations? “What are these here assessment organisations then?” I’m so glad you asked…
As an End-Point Assessor, not only will you need to have evidence of occupational competence and ideally, an up to date assessor qualification, but you will also need to become an independent assessor with an assessment organisation. These are organisations that have been approved to deliver End-Point Assessments in certain standards. If you want to find the assessment organisations that have been approved to deliver End-Point Assessments in your area of occupational competence, then you will need to have a look at the register of apprentice assessment organisations.
Assessor or Trainer?
As I’m sure you have realised by now, the introduction of End-Point Assessments now means that there will be two assessors involved within every single apprenticeship. However, although there will be two assessors, in the context of apprenticeships, the assessor that is involved with the on-programme training will now be referred to as the ‘trainer’ and the End-Point Assessor will just be referred to as the ‘assessor’.
A rise in demand for Assessors/Trainers?
More importantly, because it is very likely that there will be two qualified assessors involved in the delivery of every apprenticeship, that must surely mean that there will be an inevitable increase in demand for assessors across virtually every single industry? Even though the assessor will spend significantly less time with the apprentice than the trainer, it is still a completely new job role. A completely new job role that will either require more experienced personnel to train up to become assessors, or already-qualified assessors spending more time delivering the EPAs. Either way, it should be good news for all of you that are looking at training to become assessors!
So, what’s the next step for anyone that is looking to become an End-Point Assessor?
Well, it depends on whether or not you are already a qualified assessor. If you don’t have an assessor qualification and don’t know which one will be suitable for you, then please have a read of our Assessor Qualifications page.
Alternatively, if you already hold a suitable assessor qualification, then your next step is to get in touch with an approved assessment organisation that offer end-point assessment within your industry. You can find the official register of assessment organisations here.
Apprenticeship Standard: The knowledge, skills and behaviours (K-S-Bs) agreed by employers that apprentices must meet.
Assessment Plan: Details of end-point assessment: what it comprises; the assessment methods to be used; and how grading will be applied.
- Components: The assessment methods that can be used within the end-point assessment.
Approved Assessment Organisation: Organisations that have been approved to offer end-point assessment.
Assessor: The end-point assessor.
Trainer: The assessor that works with the apprentice through the on-programme phase.