Leadership is the capacity to turn vision into reality. And right now, end-point assessment needs some leadership.
For many months, the FE sector has voiced many concerns about the external quality assurance (EQA) of end-point assessment (EPA).
In the most recent issue of Countdown, Mark Dawe, CEO of AELP, outlined the concerns of many employers and training providers in the industry:
“There are EPAs being delivered to apprentices with no functioning EQA overlooking the validity and reliability of the assessment. Totally unacceptable, and we are starting to get reports of real concern […] Awards are being made and in many cases there is no EQA fully operational to confirm that basic assessment principles are being applied.”
EQA provision has been slow to expand at the same rate as the publication of new apprenticeship standards.
As a general rule, the Institute of Apprenticeships aims to have an EQA in place by the time apprentices undertake EPA for their apprenticeship. But there is some evidence that that hasn’t happened.
End-Point Assessment Organisations like TQUK, however, haven’t waited around. We’ve continued to provide the first class assessment service employers and our partners expect, ensuring a quality EPA is delivered every time.
Indeed, Dawe points out in the same article:
“Good EPAs are being delivered thanks to the provider commitment and to the EPAO commitment – no thanks to the systems and processes being in place to ensure that every apprentice is treated fairly.”
When delivering EPA, we’re using our years of experience to fill in the cracks left by missing EQAs.
- Devised grade descriptors to know which grades to award in each instance;
- Ensured over-assessment does not occur by determining which criteria should be assigned and assessed by individual assessment components;
- Determined timing and duration of assessments, adding detail along the way;
- Continued with the EPA and certificate claiming process when EQAs are not assigned so as not to hold up progress;
- Continued to develop open and communicative relationships with EQAs;
- Regularly engaged in EPAO forum events where the opportunity to share and standardise best practice is possible.
Apprentices need the proper knowledge, skills and behaviours to be successful in their careers. And employers need to know that they will be getting confident and skilled workers at the end of their programme.
Apprenticeships need to work for everyone, from the beginning to the end-point assessment. TQUK will help make that happen.
See you around The Hive!