Our Ultimate Guide to Becoming an IQA
As an assessor, the natural progression seems to be moving into an Internal Quality Assurer (IQA) role. It is possible that you will be asked to conduct IQA training. Or you want to progress and become a freelance IQA. Well, we are here to help! Our ultimate guide to becoming an Internal Quality Assurer will hopefully answer all your questions. So let’s start simple. What is an IQA?
What is an IQA?
If you’re already an assessor you might have heard the term Internal Quality Assurance or IQA. What exactly is it? An IQA is a person or a number of people employed to monitor the assessment process and practices of a training and assessment organisation. The Internal Quality Assurer carries out an extremely important part of the learning and assessment process. They are the ones who are responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly. As part of the IQA process, all parts are assessed according to the centre’s policies and procedures. As well as helps with the standardisation process and ensures that all assessments are fair and consistent between learners.
The area in which you are competent will determine what you will be asked to monitor as an IQA, which might be customer service, hospitality, etc. We’ve discussed what an IQA is, but what are the roles and responsibilities of an Internal Quality Assurer?
Roles and Responsibilities of an IQA
As we’ve briefly mentioned, the role of the IQA is vital to ensuring organisations follow the best assessment practices. The IQA role is all about quality control and making sure that staff and learners are competent in their roles. If not, it’s for them to make sure that they are. So what are the responsibilities?
Day-to-day activities as an IQA may vary, depending on where you work and your area of competence. However, here are a few things an IQA could be responsible for:
- Checking that assessors are fully qualified
- Planning and preparing activities for the monitoring of assessments
- Ensuring standardisation
- Observing assessors and trainers
- Sampling assessment records
- Meeting with the EQA of the awarding organisation
- Maintaining records of all IQA activity.
You may be thinking, do you have to work specifically for someone? Or can you freelance?
Freelancing as an Internal Quality Assurer?
When it comes to working, you can work for a set company/centre that has you as their IQA or part of a group. Alternatively, you can work as a freelance IQA. Many people do freelance and make it work! It also works exceptionally well for smaller centres that may not have the funds to pay for a full-time IQA. In addition, as a freelancer, you will get to see a number of different centres so you can pick up good practice ideas that you can use going forward.
You can contact centres directly to offer your services. Or you can look on social media, Facebook is actually an excellent source sometimes. Once you have started working as a freelance IQA you may find that your name starts to get out there and that word of mouth is very beneficial!
What are the requirements for becoming an Internal Quality Assurer?
But what are the requirements? Requirements do depend on the level of responsibility that you’ll have. There are three different types of IQA qualifications.
This is the equivalent of the old internal verifier qualification. It will give you the necessary skills to provide quality assurance of assessments and decisions.
- The Level 4 Award in Understanding the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice.
This one is the most basic IQA qualification, and will not qualify you to quality assure. However, it will provide you with the theory and knowledge behind internal quality assurance, which makes for great CPD! We’ll get to that a bit later.
Lastly, the Lead IQA is the most highly regarded IQA qualification. It will give you the skills to quality assure qualifications but also manage other IQAs. You will be able to create IQA policies and procedures. This qualification isn’t always the natural progression from the initial IQA qualification. Many people don’t undertake this qualification if they don’t need it.
You also need to have occupational competence and the relevant qualifications in the area in that you wish to be an IQA. If you’re competent in engineering and have relevant qualifications you can IQA for engineering qualifications. If you’re not competent in something you can’t then assess or monitor it. Not only that but we advise that you have the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA). Most, if not all employers will ask that you hold the CAVA qualification.
Benefits of becoming an IQA
Now that we’ve explained in a bit more detail what an IQA is, the roles and some of the requirements. What are the benefits of becoming one? The first one would be the most beneficial and the one most people look for. It’s financially rewarding. As an assessor, the progression can be moving into an IQA role, which gives you a bit of a larger salary. So that’s a massive benefit when you’re looking for career progression. You can become valuable to your organisation as you will be providing more worth.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is another one. Even if you’re not sure if you want to become an IQA, completing the theory-based qualification will help you become an even better assessor. It will also look good on your CPD log, making sure you keep things up to date.
You’ll also have transferrable assessment skills. By gaining new insight into how assessments are quality assured, you can start to pass that knowledge on to your learners. It will also give you the skills to identify any weaker areas of your own assessment practices and how to improve upon them.
What does the Internal Quality Assurance course involve?
If you’ve decided to complete the Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practices. You’ll need to know that it consists of two Units. These are, understanding the principles and practices of internally assuring the quality of assessment and internally assuring the quality of assessment.
As mentioned before, the first unit is theory-based and will provide you with an understanding of how assessments are assured. Unit two is all about the practical. As a trainee IQA, they’ll be required to monitor two assessors each with at least two learners of their own.
CPD as an IQA
We’ve mentioned that keeping your CPD up to date is important but how do you do that? As an IQA it is essential that you are up to date with any latest developments or changes in your industry. As well as apprenticeship standards too. If you are not aware of any new laws or legislations you may question decisions assessors make when it comes to assessments.
Just doing CPD for the sake of it isn’t the right way to go. You need to know why you’re doing it and for what reason. You can ask yourself a few questions to make sure you’re making the right decision. What activity can I undertake which will have a positive impact on my role? How will it benefit me both professionally and personally? Finally, what will my impact be on learners or other assessors?
There are many different types of CPD, it’s essential that you find the right one for you, so you get as much out of it as possible.
If you’re not sure by now that the IQA qualification is for you, then you can always get in touch with us here at Brooks and Kirk and we can arrange a chat and see what your next steps might be! You can give us a call on 01205 805 155.
What might be helpful, is doing extra research on any requirements in your subject area. Do you have any necessary qualifications, subject knowledge and occupational competence? Consider your options! What qualification is right for you. Maybe you can research some jobs in the area you’re in to get an idea of what employers are looking for. Do they want specific qualifications? How can you obtain them?
If the Internal Quality Assurance qualification seems a right fit for you, then, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to help walk you through the qualification.