Has End-Point Assessment Replaced Internal Quality Assurance?
There are many myths and misconceptions regarding the End-Point Assessment (EPA). One that regularly crops up is whether EPA has replaced Internal Quality Assurance. Let’s have a detailed look at what both of these are to begin with.
An End-Point Assessment is the final assessment that an apprentice has to do at the end of their apprenticeship. It demonstrates their competence in the role they have been training for. An EPA is an impartial assessment of the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours.
One thing to note is that the EPA must be carried out by an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). This is a third-party organisation, separate from both the employer and the training provider. An Independent End-Point Assessor conducts the final assessment of the apprentice and gives the final grade.
Internal Quality Assurance
The Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) is carried out by the EPA to ensure the assessment is delivered, standardised and marked correctly. The IQA is responsible for checking the assessment decisions made on the apprentice’s qualification. To become an Internal Quality Assurer, you will need both an Assessor qualification and the Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice.
What can seem a little confusing is that the IQA is carried out by the EPAO themselves to ensure consistent grading across their Independent End-Point Assessors. This quality check ensures individual assessments are carried out correctly. It also assures employers that the delivery of EPAs is standardised, and the marking is properly executed.
What The IQA Must Include
In order to ensure the EPA is consistently carried out, the IQA must include the following:
- The minimum occupational and assessment knowledge, skills and experience expected of the assessor
- The minimum frequency at which assessors should meet to standardise assessment practices across the EPAO
- The tools, materials and methods to be used in the assessment
- The EPAOs quality assurance processes for benchmarking performance and moderating assessments
External Quality Assurance
As well as Internal Quality Assurance, there is also External Quality Assurance (EQA) which is carried out by another body. This is important as there needs to be consistency of the quality of the EPA across the apprenticeship standard, regardless of which EPAO has delivered it.
The EQA is carried out by the Quality Assurer the Awarding Body (so an external person). This process guarantees that learners who have been registered with that specific Awarding Body have received a consistent level of high-quality training. The EQA monitors the relevant training centre’s processes to ensure they are meeting requirements too. This ensures a high standard of EPA is carried out on a regular basis.
So as you can see, an EPA is actually very different from an IQA so it is not a replacement. They are two completely different roles, and IQA is very important in order to check the final assessment decisions made by the IEPA. If you would like any further information on the qualifications you need in order to become an EPA or an IQA please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01205 805 155.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.