End-Point Assessment FAQ
End-Point Assessment is a confusing topic, and one we always get asked questions on. In case you haven’t seen it, we have put together a video series called EPA in 60 seconds to give you an introduction to EPA. Here are some of the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
What is an End-Point Assessment?
An End-Point Assessment (EPA) is a one-off assessment that apprentices have to undertake at the end of their course. This allows them to officially complete their apprenticeship.
The EPA is a series of tests that must be taken, in order to prove the apprentice has the ability and competence to carry out the role they have been training for. This leads us nicely onto the next point.
How does End-Point Assessment work?
The EPA takes place at the end of an apprentice, following ‘on-programme’ training. This is where the apprentice receives vocational training from the training provider. The employer then has a discussion with both their apprentice and the training provider, in order to assess whether the apprentice is ready for the EPA. This stage is often referred to as the ‘gateway’.
The main purpose of the EPA is to determine whether the apprentice has learned all of the necessary Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) during their apprenticeship. Helping to prove that they are competent across all areas. It isn’t always a case of pass or fail though, there are three grading scales: Fail, Pass or Distinction. The End-Point Assessor gives the apprentice a score for each of the KSBs; based on their performance in the EPA alone.
What does the End-Point Assessment involve?
We have written a specific blog about what an end-point assessment involves, but briefly it must consist of 2 or 3 different assessment methods. The best way to see what the EPA will involve for your specific apprenticeship is to look at the assessment plan. These are widely available online, so just have a quick Google. Alternatively, here is our guide on how to find an assessment plan.
What is the difference between EPA assessment plans & regular assessment plans?
Firstly, let’s have a look at an EPA assessment plan. They are predefined documents (not written by the assessor) that outline everything you need to know about the EPA. They generally include:
- Guidance on the exact requirements for the assessor
- How the assessments should be scored
- Details of what quality assurance methods need to be in place
The most important thing to note is that EPA assessment plans will specify which assessment methods must be used, and what they must involve. Some of the most common assessment methods used in EPAs include: examinations, workplace observations, professional discussions, interviews, portfolio of work, multiple-choice tests and projects.
A regular assessment plan is a document created by an NVQ assessor and given to the learner. It will include information on the specific assessments that will be carried out, and the criteria for meeting the assessments. The assessment methods are slightly different to an EPA assessment plan and can include: observations, professional discussions, question and answer, projects and assignments, RPL, witness testimony and work products.
What is an End-Point Assessment Organisation?
You may have heard of the acronym EPAO, which stands for End-Point Assessment Organisations. They are organisations that have been approved by the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) to deliver the EPA of apprentices. The EPA must be delivered by an independent EPAO, who have nothing to do with the rest of the apprentice’s NVQ, employer or training provider involved.
The main responsibility of an EPAO is to ensure all apprentices receive the same standards in their EPA.
How much does the End-Point Assessment cost?
An EPA costs on average between 10-20% of the overall cost of the apprenticeship delivery, but must not exceed 20%. The price may vary depending on the requirements set out in the standards, including the assessment tools, methods and estimated completion time.
For levy-paying employers, the EPA is included within the overall training costs and therefore paid for with their levy contributions. For non-levy paying employers, the EPA is priced separately from the overall training. In this instance, the employer pays a third of the EPA cost, and the ESFA pays for two-thirds.
We hope this has answered some of your burning questions regarding End-Point Assessment, but if there is anything else you would like to know please give us a call on 01205 805 155 and we will be happy to help.
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.