The Journey to Becoming an Internal Quality Assurer
Before we fully delve into how to become an internal quality assurer (IQA), let’s have a quick recap of what internal quality assurance is, and the requirements you would need for this role.
What Is IQA?
Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) is all about ensuring consistency and fairness when assessments are carried out. All aspects of teaching, learning and assessing need to be systemised throughout the entire duration of an apprenticeship. IQA shouldn’t just take place at the end of the learning phase, assessments should be quality assured throughout the programme.
Internal quality assurers are often managers or supervisors who naturally take on the role of being responsible for staff and internal procedures. They will also be able to arrange further training and development for learners if required. Some internal quality assurers still work as Assessors and will perform both roles for the subject in which they are experienced in. This is absolutely fine; as long as they don’t IQA their own assessments otherwise there would be a conflict of interest! Becoming a lead IQA is often the next progression for Assessors who want to improve their career options.
The Role of an IQA
The minimum requirements of an IQA include:
- Planning what is going to be monitored and who will be responsible for overseeing this.
- Observing the performance of Assessors and giving constructive feedback.
- Taking samples of assessment records and apprentice portfolios.
- Facilitating the standardisation process to ensure a fair assessment.
- Supporting both trainers and Assessors.
The IQA Cycle
To help ensure consistency across all apprenticeships, an IQA cycle has been developed. It also means that there are opportunities to monitor and improve the IQA process by using this method. Standardisation should be carried out throughout the cycle, rather than at one specific point to ensure decisions that are made are fair. Feedback should be given by both learners and Assessors to ensure the assessment process is running optimally
The IQA cycle is split down into the following aspects:
Identify the product or service
This is about establishing what needs to be assessed; what needs to be internally quality assured; and the reasons for both. By understanding if learners are working towards either a qualification or a job role, you will clearly be able to establish the assessment criteria.
It is important to devise a plan as part of the standardisation process, in order to identify what is going to be monitored; who is going to be responsible; and when this will be taking place. Dates for observing both trainer & Assessor performance should be planned, and some information regarding the Assessor’s knowledge, qualifications and experience will also be required. This ensures the correct Assessor has been allocated to the right learner.
This is where the more practical elements come in, including; sampling the learner’s work; observing trainer and Assessor performance; and sampling assessment records. There is a lot of communication required in this phase between all those involved in the assessment process. Meetings are often held in order to run through the assessment decisions and gain clarity on why those methods were chosen.
Decision & feedback
The IQA makes a judgement as to whether the Assessor has made satisfactory and valid decisions regarding the work of their learner. Feedback is critical at this stage. This is so it provides the internal quality assurer with steps they can take, in order to improve the assessment process.
The evaluation phase is taking a more holistic review of the whole process. This includes both the assessment and the quality assurance, to see what could be improved. Action points are often agreed during this stage of the IQA cycle, which need to be both implemented and followed up at a later stage.
How To Become An IQA
If you would like to find out more about the IQA role, there is a CPD unit which you can take to improve your understanding – Level 4 Award In Understanding The Principles & Practices of Internally Assuring the Quality of Assessment. Alternatively, if you are really interested in becoming an internal quality assurer and are already working as an Assessor, have a look at our Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes & Practices (also known as the Lead IQA qualification).