How Do I Become An EQA?
We’ve recently had this question crop up a lot. How can I become an External Quality Assurer (EQA)? Learners want to know how to become one and the qualifications necessary to do the job. It’s easy to see why some people want to go on to be EQAs. It’s a natural career progression for them. As long as we need Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers, we will equally need EQAs. They are important to further education, which can also offer more flexibility. You may face challenges as an EQA and if you like a challenge, becoming one might be for you. Let’s go through what an EQA really is.
EQA, what is it?
Qualifications that are delivered in a centre need to be planned and assessed by the relevant awarding body to make sure standardisation is happening. This is where the External Quality Assurer (EQA) is involved. External quality assurance makes sure that national standards are being applied. It also gives learners consistent education.
Each awarding organisation has its own requirements, so having an unbiased outside source, the External Quality Assurer, makes sure this happens. An EQA is a check to make sure centres are committed to maintaining and improving their quality assurance activities.
What do they do?
The role of an EQA is varied, but your primary role is to ensure that all assessments undertaken are fair, valid, consistent, and meet the requirements of the qualification standards. Additionally, being an EQA, you’re an essential part of the Awarding Bodies’ quality assurance process. If there are problems the EQA needs to be available to provide guidance and support to the centre and its staff. Here we have a few examples of the activities you may take part in:
- Check assessment practices and procedures against Awarding Organisations and centre requirements, ensuring that all the systems for assessment are effective,
- Confirm that Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) judgements meet the requirements of the specification and that there are solid IQA policies and procedures in place,
- Look at the quality and consistency of assessor judgements which are made in recognised centres,
- Meet with staff to discuss aspects of the qualification, such as the assessment process, resources and learner support.
These are just a taste of some of the activities you will conduct, there are plenty more! Alternatively, being an EQA is also about supporting the centre’s staff and giving them advice and guidance to help them improve.
Principles of EQA
In order to make sure that EQA activities are completed effectively. There are principles that need to be adhered to, which is VACSR. This is applied to all assessments and internal and external quality assurance.
VACSR stands for:
- And Reliable
The principles are there to help monitor and evaluate the performance of an approved centre. Furthermore, the principles help promote continuous improvement in all areas of assessment.
Who can become an External Quality Assurer?
If you want to become an EQA, you must have the following:
- Expertise in your subject area/ qualification
- A recognised qualification in Assessing/Assessment
- Recognised qualification in Internal Quality Assurance
- Recognised qualification in External Quality Assurance
Some employers may want you to hold the education and training qualification, but it does vary from place to place. The employer may also want you to have the ability to travel, good communication skills, both written and verbal, be able to interact with a variety of people, self-motivation, and good organisational skills. However, for each job post, you will have to look through it with a fine tooth comb to see exactly what they want.
What qualifications do you need?
We mentioned it just a moment ago, however, before becoming an EQA you need to have a qualification in Assessing and Internal Quality Assurance. Each qualification you’ll need is the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA). This qualifies you to assess learners both in the classroom and the learning environment, becoming a fully qualified assessor.
The Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice. Having this qualification gives you all the skills and knowledge necessary to provide quality assurance of assessments and assessment decisions. In fact, this qualification is an industry standard so regardless of your sector, the IQA Award will qualify you to do this.
Finally, you’ll need the Level 4 Award in the External Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice. This is a work-based qualification. An awarding body, rather than a training provider, must offer the EQA Qualification.
Why they should be specialist
You need to be an expert in your specialist vocational area. This could be hairdressing, dental, retail, plumbing, or health and social care. Whatever you’re occupationally competent in. There are hundreds of vocations, so you need to be an expert. With experience in your area to enable you to provide tailored support, whilst in the EQA role. With you being an expert specialist you can advise centres on the qualifications they offer. As well as technical content and all aspects of assessment and internal quality assurance.
Who do they work for?
If you’re going to be an EQA you need to align yourself with an Awarding Body/Organisation for regulated qualifications or an Accreditation Body for non-regulated qualifications or programmes. You can work with the organisation in different ways, such as on a freelance basis, full-time or part-time.
How can Brooks and Kirk help?
As industry specialists, we at Brooks and Kirk offer 2 of the qualifications you need. We offer the fully Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA) course. There has also been confusion between CAVA and TAQA, which previously appeared as the A1 assessor course, and the D32/D33 assessor course. But, the CAVA is a current and up-to-date qualification that you will need to become a fully qualified assessor.
Made up of 3 units, it qualifies you to assess learners in their workplace and learning environment. Here is a breakdown of the units.
Unit 1 – Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment
The first unit is all knowledge-based. It takes you through the roles and responsibilities of an assessor. We offer this unit online, so you can start whenever you want and upload your assignments wherever you are.
Unit 2 – Assess Occupational Competence in the Work Environment
Unit 2 is all about assessing the learners in their work environment. This is where for one day you will need to attend a face-to-face session.
Unit 3 – Assess Vocational Skills, Knowledge and Understanding
Finally, unit 3 in the CAVA course is where you will be assessing learning in their learning environment. Focusing on their vocational knowledge and understanding. Some of Unit 3 will be conducted on the face-to-face study day but you will also have some assignments to complete online.
The CAVA course should take you around 5-6 months based on 4 hours of study a week.
The next qualification you will need is the IQA Award or the Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice. Having this course gives you all the skills and knowledge to provide assurance of assessments and assessment decisions. During the course, you will learn how to plan and monitor the Internal Quality Assurance of assessment decisions and how you can maintain and improve the quality of assessments. Unlike the CAVA course, the IQA course only has 2 units.
Unit 1 – Understanding the Principles and Practices of Internally Assuring the Quality of Assessment
Similarly to CAVA the first unit of the IQA course is all knowledge-based. It will provide you with a thorough understanding of internal quality assurance. Also like CAVA it is all delivered online.
Unit 2- Internally Assure the Quality of Assessment
Then we have the final unit, this is where the trainee IQA has to monitor 2 assessors, each with at least 2 learners of their own. Don’t worry! We provide you with 2 assessors to assess and 2 learners for those assessors. So you don’t have to find assessors for yourself. Through our IQA system, you can do everything with no need for other outside help! Based on a few hours a week you can complete the course within 6-8 months.
If you have seen job adverts that require you to have an Education and Training qualification, don’t worry, we also provide this qualification as well. You can get a bespoke package from us if you want/need all of these features. Please do not hesitate to contact us if that’s what you’re looking for.
The only qualification that we don’t do is the Level 4 Award in the External Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice qualification. As we mentioned before you need to complete that with an Awarding body, not a training provider, however, we can get you to that step by completing the CAVA, IQA, and AET qualifications. If you’re interested in becoming an EQA, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 01205 805 155 and we would 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.