Information Handouts ÂŠ Accrington & Rossendale College MMXI - HB
Handout 1.1 Key Organisations
Handout 1.2 Responsibilities in Approved Centres
Handout 1.3 Requirements of Assessor Competence
Handout 1.4 The Qualifications Credit Framework
Handout 1.5 Types of Evidence
Handout 1.6 Assessment Stages
Handout 1.7 Effective Planning for Assessment
Handout 1.8 The Criteria for Assessment Methods
Handout 1.9 Methods of Assessment
Handout 1.10 The Criteria for Assessor Judgements
Handout 1.11 Using Direct Observation
Acknowledgements The Information in this handout book is courtesy of Helen Stott Solutions - Getting it Right Volume I : The Complete Training Toolkit For Assessment Units A I and A2. The handout book has been produced and designed by Henry Brett for Accrington & Rossendale College with contributions from the Land Transport Team: Larry Cunningham, Graham Rowe, Steven Crabtree, Peter Thomas and Michael Willmott
Handout 1.12 Using Questioning with Candidates
Handout 1.13 Setting Tests
Handout 1.14 Projects, Tasks, Training and Simulation
Handout 1.15 Assessing Candidateâ€™s Reports of Their Own Work Handout 1.16 Providing Feedback To Candidates
23 24 25
Handout 1.18 Evidence Reviews and Professional Discussion
Handout 1.19 Managing Assessment
26 27 28
Handout 1.20 The Internal Quality Assurance Process
Handout 1.21 Data Protection and Confidentiality
Handout 1.22 Complaints and Appeals Procedures
Handout 1.17 Using Witness Testimony
Information Handouts Roles of Key Organisations in the Qualifications Framework
Handout 1.1 - Key Organisations
Regulatory Authorities There are four regulatory authorities in the UK. These are: For England: Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) For Scotland: Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) For Northern Ireland: Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessment For Wales: Awdurdod Cymwysterau Cwricwlwm Ac Asesu Cymru (ACCAC)
The role of these authorities is to: • Ratify and accredit national standards • Accredit Awarding Bodies • Work with Awarding Bodies to publish a Code of Practice to promote quality; consistency and fairness in assessment and awarding of all vocational qualifications • Monitor quality assurance in awarding bodies
Organisations responsible for development and control of national standards
Formerly known as National Training Organisations (NTOs), these organisations ceased to be recognised and funded by government on 31st March 2002. They are now self-financing and have copyright of existing and revised standards.
These organisations are responsible for: • Developing national standards in the occupational area(s) for which they are responsible • Working with Awarding Bodies to develop these into vocational qualifications • Developing Assessment Strategies defining the 'rules' for assessment and verification of qualifications which have been developed from their national standards at each level. • Ongoing maintenance, control of and revision of national standards • Providing guidance, support and information on good practice to approved centres offering national standards
Awarding Bodies • Develop vocational qualifications from national standards • Manage the qualifications they offer • Approve centres to deliver qualifications and to submit claims for certification • Make sure centres and candidates are systematically registered • Monitor quality assurance systems through external verifiers • Certificate vocational qualifications • Provide advice and guidance to centres.
Approved Centres • Provide open access to vocational qualifications • Provide fair assessment to national standards through trained, competent & qualified staff • Have quality assurance systems and documented procedures to ensure the quality and consistency of assessment • Provide information, advice and guidance to candidates on an ongoing basis • Have systems in place for registration, certification and maintenance of candidate records
Information Handouts Centre Management Centre management plays a strategic role in allocating resources and personnel to ensure that the assessment process for each occupational area has the capability to meet national standards.
The Centre Co-ordinator This role may only exist in centres offering a range of qualifications. In smaller centres. the roles of Centre Co-ordinator and Internal Verifier may be combined. The Centre Co -ordinator should be a senior person and is responsible for: • Overseeing and reviewing provision across all areas of operation • The effective administration of qualifications in the centre, including registration and certification processes • Making sure all internal verification activity is co-ordinated and in line with centre policies and procedures • Monitoring and evaluation of achievement rates in accordance with the centre's equal opportunities policy • Acting as the centre's formal link with the awarding body and making sure all information from the awarding body is disseminated to everyone who needs to see it.
The Internal Verifier The Internal Verifier is the Internal Quality Manager who plays a proactive planning role in assuring that the Centre has the capability to assess to national standards. He or she continuously monitors the assessment process to ensure that all plans to ensure quality are being carried out.
This role can be split into 4 main areas: • Carrying out and evaluating internal assessment and quality assurance systems • Supporting assessors • Monitoring the quality of assessors' performance • Meeting external quality assurance requirements
The main activities carried out by an Internal Verifier are: • Ensuring health, safety and environmental protection procedures are applied within assessment arrangements and applying and monitoring equal opportunities and access procedures throughout all assessment procedures • Monitoring the performance of assessors and supporting assessors to develop their skills • Monitoring and supporting the people and organisations who provide administrative support to the assessment process • Making recommendations on the resources needed to evaluate the assessment process • Ensuring an appropriate balance of candidates to assessors • Monitoring and reporting on the achievement rates of candidates • Monitoring the progress and satisfaction of candidates • Meeting the assessment requirements of awarding bodies and other external agencies
Handout 1.2 - Responsibilities in Approved Centres
Centre management is also responsible for: • Ensuring that the centre's aims and policies in relation to qualifications are supported at senior management level and understood by all members of the assessment team • Ensuring that the centre's access and fair assessment policy and practices are under stood and complied with • Continuous review, evaluation and improvement of assessment and internal verification processes.
Information Handouts In larger centres who offer a range of qualifications, a senior or ‘Chief' Internal Verifier is required to make sure internal verification activities across all occupational areas are co-ordinated and standardised.
Handout 1.2 - Responsibilities in Approved Centres
Each occupational area would have its own Internal Verifier who would meet regularly with the 'Chief' Verifier in the centre to monitor and evaluate all of the above activities and make any necessary improvements.
The Assessor The assessment team within any occupational area offered by an approved centre usually comprises of the internal verifier plus sufficient trained qualified and occupationally competent assessors to cover the amount of candidates wishing to achieve qualifications.
This role can be split into four main areas: • Developing plans for assessing competence with candidates • Judging evidence against agreed standards to make assessment decisions • Giving candidates feedback and support on assessment decisions • Contributing to the internal quality assurance process
The main activities carried out by an assessor are: • Developing realistic plans for learning and assessment with candidates • Understanding assessment requirements • Planning the assessment process with candidates and the other people involved • Reviewing the candidate's level of competence and identifying what he or she needs to do to be fully competent • Supporting candidates with different needs during assessment • Using a variety of assessment methods • Making a record of assessment decisions • Giving candidates feedback on their performance and reviewing their progress through out the assessment process • Using different types of evidence to give an overall assessment of competence • Working with the other people involved in the assessment process, such as workplace supervisors and other teachers or trainers
The Workplace Assessor In addition to the assessor who assesses using a range of assessment methods in an approved centre, a second type of assessor often plays a valuable part in the assessment process.
Thls second type of assessor assesses candidates through observation of their performance in the workplace and questioning, although he or she may also bring in other assessment methods such as examining work products or skills tests. The workplace assessor may work closely with centre assessors to provide a co-ordinated assessment approach and the centre assessor may take the workplace assessor's judgements into account as part of their examination of all the different types of evidence leading to a judgement of overall competence.
Information Handouts The Trainer The trainer's role is to develop candidates' knowledge, understanding and skills so that they are able to achieve a qualification or selected units.
Often, the roles of trainer and assessor are carried out by the same person. It is essential that activities and tasks carried out in a training situation are separated from those tasks assessed as evidence of competence in a real work environment.
Role of the External Verifier
The external verifier is the key representative of the awarding body your centre is using. If you are delivering programmes with more than one awarding body, you will have an external verifier from each for relevant programmes.
The role of the external verifier is to: • Monitor the internal quality assurance processes. • Check on the quality of assessments. • Provide information, advice and support on the internal quality assurance of assessment processes.
Handout 1.2 - Responsibilities in Approved Centres
The role of the trainer is to: • Provide opportunities for learning and skills development • Provide ongoing advice and support to candidates to review and give feedback on progress and development of competence after learning opportunities • Provide opportunities for candidates to practise their skills in a safe, realistic environment
Information Handouts Definition of a Competent Assessor
Handout 1.3 Requirements of Assessor Competence
A competent assessor is one who:
• Has experience in the occupational area covered by the national standards at the level at which he or she will assess in accordance with the 'rules’ laid out in the assessment strategy. • Is qualified to the national standards for assessment. • Keeps his or her occupational competence up to date through a range of continuing professional development activities (which again are often laid out in the assessment strategy).
Meeting requirements of Assessment Strategies The Assessment Strategy for the vocational qualifications you are involved in may specify requirements over and above this basic definition. You may have to possess certain qualifications to assess one or more units or prove that you have attended courses with a minimum content. Exact requirements may vary according to the level you are assessing and can only be ascertained by examining the relevant assessment strategy.
As new assessment strategies appear, the internal verifier has responsibilities for:
• Auditing the skills and knowledge of each member of the assessment team against requirements of the assessment strategy. • Supporting each assessor and the whole assessment team to develop their skills and knowledge and to maintain and update their professional skills and knowledge in line with requirements of the assessment strategy. • Keeping a record of each assessor's expertise and qualifications (including assessor qualifications) and updating this as assessors undertake development activities.
Continuous Professional Development Assessors are required to maintain their occupational competence and their competence as an assessor in that occupational field by undertaking defined activities. Assessors must be able to demonstrate that they have undertaken continuous professional development (CPD) through activities such as: • • • • • • • • • •
Work placement. Job shadowing. Technical skill update training. Attending courses. Studying for learning and development units. Study related to job role. Collaborative working with Awarding Bodies. Examining. Qualifications development work. Other appropriate occupational activity as agreed with the internal verifier.
This list provides ideas for possible activities for assessors of all national standards, although additional CPD activities may be defined in relevant Assessment Strategies.
Information Handouts What is the QCF?
The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a unitised qualification framework underpinned by a system of credit accumulation and transfer. Every unit on the framework will have a level and a credit value which is based on the notional learning hours for that specific unit. The QCF is designed to allow learners to achieve credit for individual units or qualifications, providing learners with the opportunity to accumulate credit at their own pace and use it to claim for a qualification when they are ready. There are three sizes of qualifications in the QCF: • Awards (1 -12 credits) • Certificates (13-36 credits) • Diplomas (37 credits or more)
It is possible to have all three of these qualifications at each level, for example, Level 1 Award, Certificate or Diploma in Business Skills. This is because the classification of the qualification as an Award, Certificate or Diploma refers to the size of the qualification, not the level of difficulty.
Each qualification title will contain the level of qualification (e.g. Entry 2), the size (award/certificate/diploma) and details indicating the content of qualification. For example: EDI level 2 Award in Business Skills EDI level 1 Certificate in IT Users (ITQ)
What is credit?
Every unit and qualification on the QCF has been given a credit value, which denotes the number of credits that will be awarded to each candidate who successfully completes the unit or qualification. • 1 credit represents 10 notional learning hours
Handout 1.4 Qualifications Credit Framework
Qualifications within the QCF
Notional learning hours represent the amount of time a learner is expected to take, on average, to complete the learning outcomes of the unit to the standard required within the assessment criteria. It is important to note that notional learning hours are not the same as guided learning hours (GLH). GLH represent the hours during which a tutor or trainer is present and contributing to the learning process. Notional learning hours represent the hours which are needed to successfully cover all the learning required to achieve the unit, either guided or independently.
Rules of Combination
Every qualification on the QCF is structured through rules of combination. Rules of combination are important because they define the number of credits which need to be achieved and where these credits must come from in order for a learner to achieve the qualification. Rules of combination also state what the potential is for learners to transfer credits between qualifications and awarding bodies.
Information Handouts Achieving a Vocational Qualification
Handout 1.5 - Types of Evidence
To achieve a vocational qualification, a candidate must provide sufficient evidence to a qualified assessor that he or she possesses the skills, knowledge and understanding expressed in each unit and element in a real working environment. These qualifications are based on national standards for any occupational area and provide a national benchmark for competent performance in that occupational area.
The candidate's performance in real work is assessed over a period of time as evidence is presented to the assessor and the assessor compares evidence of his or her performance against this national benchmark. The assessor then makes a judgement about whether or not there is sufficient evidence to meet all requirements of the standards being assessed . If the evidence is insufficient in the assessor's judgement, the candidate will be given feedback identifying where the 'gaps' in evidence are and, together, assessor and candidate will plan for how further evidence could be provided.
Evidence must come from a real working environment. This could be a full-time or part-time job which may be paid or unpaid. No evidence arising from a training situation is allowed. Evidence may come from current work or may arise out of previous experience. Where work placements are used as a means of proving competence, the work carried out must be real work and the placement must last for an amount of time sufficient to enable the candidate to prove consistent performance over a period of time.
Types of evidence
This is evidence of the candidate's performance of tasks in a real working environment covering both what was done and how it was done to the level of competence defined in national standards. This type of evidence comprises both observation by the assessor and examining the products or results, of real work such as a completed document, a completed brick wall or an assembled piece of equipment. Testimony from supervisors or managers is regarded as supporting performance evidence because it confirms the candidate's consistency over a period of time or authenticates a candidate's performance evidence.
To have the ability to perform to national standards, a candidate must know and understand a range of things relating to the task or activity being assessed. Some evidence of knowledge and understanding may be inferred from observing competent performance or examining the results of work tasks because the evidence which is being provided is of such a high quality that the candidate could not have performed at that level without knowing and understanding the principles of how the task should be done and to what standard. If there is any doubt, the assessor may wish to ask questions about the performance. Other requirements of a knowledge specification cannot be assessed through performance evidence and for these items, the assessor would always question the candidate to make sure he or she possesses that knowledge and understanding.
Information Handouts Evidence of prior achievement:
This is evidence taken from another time or place in which the candidate worked in paid or unpaid work and which the candidate wishes to use as evidence for his or her qualification It may be based on experience in this other work (prior experience) or from qualifications (or units) which the candidate has already achieved (prior achievement). Evidence of prior experience This type of evidence may be more difficult to assess because evidence must confirm that the candidate has the ability to perform, now and in the future, to the requirements of the national standards being assessed in today's work environment with its current technology, working practices and procedures.
What someone was doing in a workplace three years ago is seldom what they would do now and may be unlikely to prove they were working to the current benchmark for competence.
Handout 1.5 - Types of Evidence
Although the achievement of national standards should not be time-bound and, in theory, candidates can take as much time as they like to achieve a vocational qualification, in reality, working practices and technology change over time.
This may mean that the evidence of the currency of the skills and knowledge being assessed must be proved, for example by requiring the candidate to carry out a skills test.
It should be remembered that accreditation of prior performance, or achievement, is only one type of evidence which is assessed in conjunction with evidence of current competence.
Evidence of prior achievement of units or qualifications Candidates may also wish to use evidence of achieving related qualifications. These are only valid where they are current and are benchmarked to the content and requirements of one or more units of the qualification. If any candidate has achieved a now obsolete unit, it is unlikely to 'map across' precisely to any current imported unit.
If this benchmarking cannot be directly linked to the current qualification unit, achievement will only ever indicate a certain level which must then be assessed through performance evidence taken from a real working environment. This assessment confirms that the candidate has the skills to perform to the standard currently required. Where candidates have already achieved one or more units which have been imported into the qualification they now wish to achieve, they only have to provide evidence of unit achievement (ie a certificate): providing that the specific evidence requirements for the unit(s) already achieved agree with those in the matching unit of the qualification to be achieved.
Information Handouts The Four Stages of Assessment
Assessment of candidates is a logical process involving four distinct stages. These are:
Handout 1.6 - Assessment Stages
I. Initial planning 2. Assessment planning 3. Obtaining evidence 4. Making judgements about evidence and giving feedback
1. Initial Planning The first stage of the assessment process is to arrange an initial interview with the candidate during which the work he or she is currently doing is matched against the qualification’s content and requirements to find the qualification which most closely matches the candidate's work role and Job which he or she could provide evidence of competence. This initial assessment is important because the assessor identifies: • • • •
the areas where competence could probably be proved the most suitable qualification and level the most suitable optional units based on the candidate's current work role any areas of the standards not fully covered by the work role and how these might be covered • any learning or development needs which the candidate needs to satisfy in order to prove competence
When the assessor has discussed all of these things with the candidate and has reached conclusions about each the next stage in this initial planning is normally an action plan. The action plan may be part of the information collected about the candidate and should always include: • • • •
the mandatory and optional units to be achieved how they will be achieved the projected timescale the candidate's details, including any special assessment requirements
The action plan, or an associated document, will also inform the candidate about everything he or she needs to know relating to starting the qualification, such as details of start date, induction, etc.
2. Assessment Planning
This next stage follows action planning and the key product of this planning is the assessment plan. This is prepared either during the initial planning session, or at a subsequent interview and may take place before or after induction. The first assessment plan records the outcomes of negotiation between the assessor and the candidate, during which both parties share information, negotiate a starting point for the qualification and identify both potential evidence to be provided and assessment opportunities to be taken. Any training needs would be identified here and plans made for fulfilling needs. The plan also identifies time scales, although these are targets rather than rigid requirements. The first assessment plan is therefore a documented agreement which identifies the first opportunity for assessment against each element of the qualification that is relevant to the fIrst assessment opportunity.
Information Handouts A good assessment plan will specify and include:
• the type and amount of product evidence to be gathered and what this must provide evidence of • any observation which will take place, what this will cover, and when it will take place • how this evidence will be assessed • the date(s) for reviewing this evidence • careful planning for any special assessment requirements
Advantages of the assessment plan:
When the assessment plan has been prepared, the candidate should know and understand the precise evidence which will be assessed during the first assessment session. If the candidate knows exactly what to provide for assessment and how that evidence will be assessed, the first assessment session should run smoothly.
3. Obtaining Evidence
The candidate's role here is to collect together the required evidence defined in his or her assessment plan in preparation for examination by the assessor, and, if observation is to take place, to prepare for that observed session knowing exactly what the assessor is looking for to indicate performance to national standards.
The key to successful evidence collection is that the candidate is putting together a collection of evidence which together will confirm his or her competent performance in the areas covered.
4. Making Judgements About Evidence
When the assessor has examined product evidence and/or carried out observation of a candidate's performance, he or she then makes a judgement about whether or not the evidence provided meets all requirements of that part or those parts of the qualification being assessed. This judgement is then recorded on a suitable assessment record and feedback provided to the candidate on what has been achieved.
Handout 1.6 - Assessment Stages
• It helps both the candidate and the assessor to clarify and discuss potential evidence • It helps the candidate to translate jargon into realistic targets based on the work he or she does • It helps the candidate to manage his or her time and work to targets • It aids candidate motivation as he or she can see what has to be done to achieve that part of the qualification covered by the plan • It helps the assessor to plan his or her time effectively so ensuring that assessment is cost effective • It acts as a valuable initial assessment record and helps provide evidence of open access and individual planning, as required by Awarding Bodies • It acts as a reminder of everything agreed between the assessor and the candidate
Information Handouts Effective Planning for Assessment
The following advice relates to the period of initial planning which prepares the candidate for what will happen during the assessment process. The advice is the same if you are preparing candidates for assessment on a group basis.
Initial Contact • Stop what you are doing and give full attention to the candidate • Take time to put the candidate at ease • Take time to introduce yourself and your role • Make sure excessive or irrelevant information-giving on your part is avoided • Take time to note relevant points, but avoid writing while the candidate is speaking
Information Sharing • Allow the candidate to introduce him or herself and give brief details about expectations • Identify reasons for the candidate's wish to achieve possible qualifications, including career aspirations • Give details about the centre and the range of qualifications on offer • Explore and record any special assessment requirements which are pertinent to the candidate's ability to achieve
Identifying the Candidate's Level of Experience • Make sure that the candidate understands what will happen in achieving a vocational qualification and the role of the candidate and assessor in its achievement • Use simple language throughout. Do not use jargon. • Allow the candidate time to ask questions or ask for clarification • Invite the candidate to give brief details of his or her employment and experience • Identify areas where prior achievement or experience may be appropriate • Make notes or use relevant records to record all relevant details
Identifying the Correct Qualification and Level • Identify the best possible qualification and optional units based on feedback from the candidate and make sure these are realistically achievable • Allow time to discuss these and relate them to current job tasks • Allow time to discuss the assessment process and possible training or learning needs • Address any worries the candidate may have about the qualification or the way in which it is achieved
Handout 1.7 - Effective Planning
Prior to the Planning Session • Prepare the interview location and any relevant paperwork, including any forms to be completed and information about qualification in general, the specific qualification the candidate is interested in and how your centre operates • Check that the layout and interview climate does not create barriers - eg desk between you and the candidate • Make sure you have everything you need - pens, paper, etc • Make sure the candidate is greeted and directed to the interview location • Make sure there will be no interruptions • Alert other people who may be involved, eg occupational specialists or trainers
Handout 1.8 - Criteria for Assessment Methods
National standards provide a national benchmark for competent performance in any occupational area. By measuring a person's performance in real work against all requirements of national standards, the assessor is able to make an objective judgement about whether or not that person's performance matches the standards set out in the qualification. Because assessment is being carried out against a defined set of standards, the assessor's judgement is fair and unbiased. This type of assessment is known as 'criterion-referenced assessment'.
To assess a vocational qualification, the assessor uses a variety of assessment methods. He or she does this to make sure the widest range of evidence can be accessed to prove competence in a real working environment. For example, the assessor, after discussion with the candidate about his or her work role, may decide that the best methods of assessment are observation, combined with examining work products and questioning to make sure the full range of knowledge and understanding are completely covered.
The assessment methods to be used are decided at the planning stage and are based on a sharing of information between the assessor and the candidate. The assessor can only decide on the best assessment methods to use after this sharing of information and both assessor and candidate must agree on assessment methods to be used. The other factor which is taken into account at this planning stage is the requirements of the national standards.
The Criteria for Assessment Methods
At this planning stage, the assessor makes a decision about the best assessment methods to use to assess the candidate's competence. The criteria he or she uses to plan assessments are exactly the same as those which he or she will later use to make judgements about evidence presented by the candidate, but are used in a slightly different context.
Assessment methods planned to meet requirements of standards to be assessed and to take full advantage of a candidate's circumstances and the work he or she does will normally result in good quality evidence which meets all requirements for competent performance.
At this planning stage, the assessor is making judgements about the best assessment methods to be used using the following criteria:
I. Safe Assessment methods are safe when they result in good quality evidence which is fair, valid and reliable. At the planning stage, the assessor will make a judgement about whether the range of assessment methods to be used will result in safe assessment.
2. Fair An assessment method is fair when it is suitable to the needs of the candidate in the work environment in which evidence will be collected and does not put any unnecessary demands on either the candidate or his or her place of work.
4. Reliable An assessment method is reliable when it is capable of producing consistent results for any assessor using it and will produce consistent results on each occasion it is used. For example, a set of discussion points which have been prepared by an assessment team and mapped against national standard to make sure all knowledge items have been covered can then reliably be used by any assessor, providing each assessor knows the expected responses to look for and the candidate knows exactly what is to be discussed.
5. Current When planning assessments, the assessor must confirm that evidence to be provided will confirm that the candidate is competent in today's work environment with its current technology and work practices. This is particularly important when planning for the use of evidence of prior experience or achievement. The assessor must satisfy him or herself that the evidence to be provided and the assessment methods to be used will result in proof of current competence.
6. Authentic Although this criterion is normally used at the stage of making judgements about evidence. it must also be used at the planning stage to consider whether or not the evidence to be provided can be confirmed as the candidate's own work. An observation would naturally provide authentic evidence, but planning to examine something produced as a joint team effort might be more problematic unless the part played was confirmed by the candidate’s manager. Planning for this additional evidence during assessment planning would enable the candidate to collect all the necessary evidence to prove his or her competence and authenticate his or her evidence.
7. Sufficient When judging a candidate's evidence, the assessor makes a decision about whether or not the candidate has provided sufficient evidence to;
• cover all requirements of those parts of the qualification being assessed • predict that a similar level of competence is used on an every-day basis. The assessor will only ever see ‘photographs in time' about a candidate's competence and has to make a judgement about whether or not there is enough evidence in place to confirm consistency of competence.
At the planning stage, one of the key considerations when selecting the best assessment methods to use is whether or not those methods will provide evidence which will do both of these things.
Handout 1.8 - Criteria for Assessment Methods
3. Valid An assessment method is valid when it is capable of measuring what it is supposed to be measuring. For example, asking a candidate to write an essay about their skills in dealing with a range of customers is not a valid method of assessing their skills in dealing with this range of customers. It would not be valid unless backed up by other evidence, for example, direct observation plus witness testimony confirming that this provided a good example of the candidate's consistent performance. Another factor to consider here is that an assessment method may not be valid if it confuses the candidate or he or she does not understand what is expected during the assessment.
Information Handouts Methods of Assessment
Handout 1.9 - Methods of Assessment
Eight methods of assessment defined in the Scope (or range) for assessment which is about assessing candidates using a range of methods. These are: • • • • • • • •
Watching candidates' performance in the workplace (direct observation) Asking candidates questions Taking account of previous experience and achievements Setting tests Setting projects and tasks Arranging simulations Assessing the candidate's report of his or her work Using evidence from other people, including peers and witnesses
The need for cost-effective assessment
When planning for the best assessment methods to use, the assessor also needs to consider the issue of cost-effectiveness of assessment. Although observation is obviously the best way of assessing competence in the workplace, it is time intensive, involves travel to the workplace and requires careful planning to be successful.
Not everything in any unit can be observed - there is always the need for other assessment methods to be used in conjunction with observed performance. An effective assessor, while planning assessment to gather the maximum possible evidence from as many sources as possible, must also take issues of cost-effectiveness into consideration.
Here are some points to consider relating to cost-effectiveness when planning assessments:
• Are the methods of assessment which are planned and used within the resources and staffing levels available at the centre? • Does feedback during regular meetings demonstrate that all staff are able to meet their responsibilities for assessment with present resources and staffing levels? • Have the possibilities of over-assessment or 'corner-cutting' been reviewed? • Has assessment been planned to take advantage of the maximum possible evidence from a variety of sources and meet candidates' unique needs while still remaining manageable within time allocated for assessment and travel constraints?
Information Handouts The Criteria for Assessor Judgements
I. Safe Assessment methods are safe when they result in good quality evidence which is fair, valid and reliable. The assessor knows evidence is safe when it covers all requirements to be assessed and meets all other criteria now listed.
Handout 1.10 - Criteria for Assessor Judgements
At the stage of making judgements about the candidate's evidence, the assessor uses the same criteria to decide whether evidence: • is acceptable • meets all relevant requirements of units and elements being assessed • proves consistent and current competence • is authentic
2. Fair Anyone examining the evidence provided will be able to make a judgement that the assessor used assessment methods to provide that evidence which were fair. The evidence has arisen from natural performance in a real workplace and the candidate has not been required to provide anything over and above what is necessary.
3. Valid Evidence for a vocational qualification must be valid for that qualification, ie assist in proving the candidate's competence. For example, if a company has a health and safety policy and the candidate provides this in a portfolio of evidence, it is not valid, i.e. it is superfluous to requirements. What the assessor needs to confirm competence is evidence of operating to the requirements of this policy. Evidence of dealing with clients in a simulated classroom environment would not be valid as that situation would not reflect the constraints of a working environment.
4. Reliable Evidence is reliable when it is of such a quality and quantity that any assessor assessing that evidence would make the same decision about it.
5. Current Evidence must confirm that the candidate is currently competent in today's work environment with its current technology and work practices.
6. Authentic Evidence is authentic when it can be seen to be the work of the candidate in a real work environment.
7. Sufficient When judging a candidate's evidence, the assessor makes a decision about whether or not the candidate has provided sufficient evidence to: • cover all requirements of those parts of the qualification being assessed • predict that a similar level of competence is used on an every-day basis. The assessor will only ever see 'photographs in time' about a candidate’s competence and has to make a judgement about wether or not there is enough evidence in place to confirm consistency of competence over a period of time.
This does not mean that the Assessor stands by with a clipboard, marking down every movement! In fact, the opposite is true as the Assessor must try to be as unobtrusive as possible so that he or she does not affect the candidate's performance adversely. The main advantage of direct observation is that the assessor is able to see natural performance in the work environment.
Handout 1.11 - Using Direct Observation
I. Careful planning If observation is to be valuable and cost-effective, careful planning is necessary to make sure both the assessor and the candidate are fully prepared for what will be observed and that these tasks have been carefully matched against the parts of the qualification to be assessed including the knowledge which should be demomstrated. Combined with examination of evidence and questioning or professional discussion, observation is the most reliable method of assessment.
2. The need to assess the consistency of performance A 'flash in the pan' is not competence and one observation will seldom confirm consistent competence or cover the full range unless used in conjunction with other methods. The assessor must ensure that sufficient observation is carried out, or other evidence is provided, to demonstrate that the candidate is consistently competent at all times. This method is most useful when accompanied by other methods such as examination of evidence and questioning. Observations of the same task or tasks should not be repeated unnecessarily.
3. Candidates must be prepared for assessment At the assessment planning stage, it is essential that both assessor and candidates agree that assessment through observation is a feasible option and discuss both what can be assessed by this method and the best time, place and length of time for observation to take place. It is also essential that the candidate knows exactly what is expected of him or her during the observation and this is normally done through a short, informal discussion before observation takes place.
4. Candidate nervousness Candidates are only human and may be nervous when being observed, however unobtrusively. The use of questions is particularly valuable when the candidate has made un-important mistakes through nervousness.
5. The need for co-operation of supervisors and colleagues It is essential that the assessor keeps supervisors and colleagues fully informed that observations will take place and reach agreement on what will be observed and in which cotexts, so that they are able to co-operate and act naturally. 6. Formative assessment Observation has a natural place in formative assessment as a basis for effective learning and development of competence. In this situation, it should always be accompanied by constructive feedback so that the candidate knows exactly what has been achieved and what skills need to be refined.
Information Handouts Using Questioning
This is often thought to be an imprecise, highly subjective assessment technique which requires considerable expertise on the part of the assessor. By employing skills such as questioning and listening, the candidate may be encouraged to examine a critical incident in such a way that the assessor can explore and determine additional information which is not available through direct observation. This approach is one now used in an assessment approach known as 'professional discussion'.
Handout 1.12 - Asking Candidates Questions
Questioning can be done for several purposes:
• To confirm that the candidate has the knowledge and understanding of those items listed in the knowledge specification of any unit or element which cannot be confirmed, or have not been wholly confirmed, through performance evidence.
• To cover items in the range which do not require performance evidence. Candidates must always demonstrate that they are able to cover all of the range (or scope) items.
• To broaden the validity of an item of evidence. Sometimes an item of product evidence almost satisfies relevant requirements of that part of the qualification being assessed but not quite. In this case, the assessor can use questioning to make sure all requirements are satisfied.
• To authenticate product evidence as the work of the candidate. If the assessor is in any doubt as to the authenticity of an item of product evidence, he or she is able to ask the candidate open questions about its production or manufacture to be reassured that it is indeed the candidate's own work.
I. Value of oral questioning It is particularly valuable in exploring underpinning knowledge and understanding. It allows considerable benefit to the candidate if combined with constructive feedback. It allows the candidate to demonstrate authenticity of product evidence or to achieve parts of the range or knowledge specification which could not otherwise be demonstrated easily.
2. Skills of the Assessor Oral questioning requires questioning, active listening and constructive feedback skills which may need considerable training and practice. Questioning can become an inquisition if badly handled.
3. Candidate pressure The candidate may feel pressurised, especially when being questioned about 'what if' situations.
4. Recording the outcomes of questioning Assessors are often confused by the amount of detail they should record relating to questioning. Some believe that both questions and answers should be recorded verbatim while others simply state that answers 'were satisfactory'. In reality, the requirement is that assessors record enough information to justify the decisions made about knowledge and understanding. The assessor should give enough detail on the assessment record so that anyone checking these can see exactly what was asked and how the candidate replied.
Information Handouts Skills Tests
The most commonly used are skills tests. This is a method of assessing a candidate's speed and accuracy under test conditions. Industries which use these have an objective measurement of a candidate's ability to perform a specific task or tasks to the criteria required. Tests can be used very effectively in vocational qualifications to confirm that candidatesâ€™ are able to do something which has not been observed.
Handout 1.13 - Setting Tests
This is the traditional method of collecting evidence of knowledge and understanding and may involve open written answers or multiple choice question papers. Some centres, misinterpreting advice from awarding bodies, ask candidates to answer a series of questions covering the whole of the knowledge specification in writing. This may be seen by many as an unfair and unreliable approach because much of any knowledge specification should be covered through assessment of activities in the workplace. It is, in effect, requiring too much evidence from the candidate. It should be remembered that evidence of HAVING AND APPLYING knowledge and understanding in a real work environment is the key requirement of a knowledge specification, not simply having the knowledge. Oral Tests Normally used to assess knowledge and understanding, oral tests are sometimes used by centres to cover the whole of a knowledge specification.
I. Value of Tests For tests to be objective, every candidate should be subject to exactly the same test under exactly the same conditions.
2. Adverse Effects of Past Education Adult learners may have been adversely effected by past experience in the educational system. Their performance under these conditions may not necessarily reflect a true picture of their vocational ability.
3. Rationale The rationale of tests and examinations depends on the ability of the candidate to recall selected information 'on demand' and may therefore include an element of 'luck' in the selection of questions, particularly in multi-choice tests.
4. Test Environment The environment created for tests is often so stressful that many candidates are rendered virtually incapable.
5. Literacy Skills Any written test requires considerable skills in literacy which may exeed the demands of the qualification
6. Expertise of the Assessor Writing tests requires considerable expertise on the part of the assessor to ensure that they are fair and pitched at the right level.
Information Handouts Setting Projects and Tasks
Setting projects or tasks can be likened to delegation of responsibility in a workplace, where candidates' skills and knowledge are stretched to enable them to perform tasks which they cannot currently provide evidence of performing in a workplace. They can be used very effectively to develop skills and knowledge but consistency of performance over a period of time will always remain in question unless undertaken for a sufficient duration.
Handout 1.14 - Projects, Tasks, Training & Simulations
It is important to remember that, unless a candidate is able to provide evidence of competent performance in a real work environment, he or she cannot achieve a vocational qualification. Setting projects and tasks to enable a candidate to provide evidence consequently has a very limited use and can be confused with simulation as evidence arising from set projects or tasks often cannot provide valid, reliable, and more importantly, consistent evidence of actual performance in a workplace unless the full co-operation of supervisors and staff in the workplace is sought.
• Will the project or task be sufficiently credible because it involves normal working pressures, responsibilities and constraints? • Will the project or task involve the work roles required by the standards which it is designed to cover, such as teamwork and working effectively with other people? • Will the project or tasks be completed using real workplace documentation, procedures and standards? • Will the project or tasks be completed over a sufficient time to allow the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate sustained, consistent competent performance over a period of time? • Will the project or task be completed with the approval and cooperation of the candidate's supervisor or manager and, where appropriate, colleagues and not interfere with or detract from the candidate's normal work role and responsibilities?
Training must be separated out from assessment. Projects and tasks completed in a learning situation, or to enable candidates to enhance or further develop their skills and knowledge are evidence of effective development, not competence. This type of evidence should not be presented for vocational qualification assessment which requires evidence of consistent competence over a period of time in a real work environment.
Simulations Some companies, colleges and training centres are able to create situations in which assessment can take place. Examples include model kitchens, offices and restaurants. QCA and other regulatory bodies demand that any simulation must be realistic and allow valid and consistent assessment to the standards required by employment. Where simulation is Used extensively, permission must be sought from the awarding body in advance, usually via the external verifier and assessments where simulation has been used should always be subject to checking by the internal verifier. Simulated conditions can never reflect the realities of the workplace, unless real equipment is used to do real work for real customers (internal or external).
Candidate’s Reports of Their Work
Handout 1.15 - Assessing Candidate’s Reports of Their Work
When assessing any unit or element of a vocational qualification, the assessor is seeking evidence of both the products arising out of real work (product evidence) and how those products were produced or used effectively (process evidence). When both of these types of evidence have been provided (as performance evidence), he or she then makes a judgement about whether or not national standards being assessed were actually met.
Many centres require candidates to provide product evidence plus written accounts of how those products of work were produced or used. In many current vocational qualifications, this practice is encouraged by the very wording of the standards, particularly that provided in evidence requirements or guidance for assessors.
In revised national standards, however, the wording now allows for other types of reports of 'how done' as a recognition that written reports may be over and above the level of competence required by a person in any occupational area. For example, laying hedges, looking after animals or working in a retail outlet are occupational areas which do not require the skills of writing essays. In occupational areas such as these, this may be a main reason far candidates failing to progress.
Reports of how tasks were done, which includes case studies and reflective accounts have great value in obtaining process evidence, covering specific requirements of units and elements and assessing knowledge and understanding.
Some candidates, particularly in professions where written reports of reflective thinking is required, will enjoy providing written accounts. Others will find this written work difficult. The assessor must take into account the best method of assessing the individual.
Oral accounts are absolutely acceptable providing that assessor judgements confirm the basis on which decisions were made and are widely used in more innovative methods of assessing such as professional discussion. They are unlikely to be valuable unless candidates:
• are fully prepared for the information to be provided and how long the report or case study should be • have the literary skills to write them • see the value of providing a report or case study in writing if product evidence probably already confirms competence • have time to write them.
Constructive feedback is that which provides a fair and objective judgement, with praise for those aspects of the performance which have been done well, plus information on ways in which the performance can be improved or additional evidence can be provided, rather than any criticism of the performance or the evidence presented. • Immediately after assessment for any area(s) of the qualification that has taken place and judgements have been made and recorded. • During reviews of progress, when overall achievement to date is discussed and plans made for assessment of further areas of the qualification.
Candidates, particularly adolescents, relate well to assessors who encourage, motivate and show genuine interest in their candidates and who reflect these qualities during feedback. Feedback is of particular importance during formative assessment, ie when the candidate is learning or is not yet confident, as well as after cumulative assessment, ie when the candidate is confident enough to be assessed against all performance criteria. Guidelines to use When Providing Feedback to Candidates:
Handout 1.16 - Providing Feedback to Candidates
This type of feedback is normally given in two situations:
• Always choose the right time and place to give feedback. Discussion should always take place in a quiet environment where other people cannot overhear. • Give feedback after assessment immediately after you have recorded your judgements and considered exactly what is missing (if anything). Feedback should concentrate on facts and it is essential that you know the facts before discussions with the candidate. He or she wants to know exactly what has been achieved and what other evidence must be provided. • Keep comments brief and factual. • Take into account the candidate's level of confidence. • After observation, base the feedback on the candidate's self-assessment before commenting - how well does he or she feel the tasks being observed were carried out? • If performance during observation or evidence examined indicates a development need, possible ways forward and avenues for this development should be considered before providing feedback. • Give comments which are constructive and stress what has been achieved - then go on to explain exactly what else is needed if evidence is incomplete. • Make absolutely sure that the candidate understands your feedback. • Summarise the content of the feedback. Stress what has already been achieved and what will happen next, leaving the candidate in a position where he or she knows exactly what to do and what evidence to provide for next steps. • Always record the feedback given and outcomes reached, plus actions to be taken as a result of the feedback. • Remember that assessing to national standards is not measuring against perfection. It is objective measurement against the national benchmark. A candidate's evidence can often only be as good as the standards he or she is expected to maintain in that particular organisation.
REMEMBER: Your only judgement is about whether your candidate is meeting the national benchmark.
Information Handouts Witness Testimony
Handout 1.17 - Using Witness Testimony
Evidence from other people with whom the candidate works, or has performed a service for is a valuable part of evidence required for a vocational qualification. This type of evidence is usually called 'witness testimony'. Witness testimony is where a candidate asks key people involved in tasks relating to the area of work being assessed to confirm that evidence presented for assessment: • is authentic evidence of the candidate's own work • met the standards required by the organisation in which he or she works • is representative of his or her consistent current performance in that organisation
In order of importance, people who are able to provide this type of evidence are:
• supervisors or managers who are familiar with both the work normally done by the candidate and the examples used as evidence of competent performance • experienced colleagues who have been involved in work done by the candidate or on whose behalf he or she has completed work, or who have observed the candidate dealing with certain situations • customers who are satisfied with the service provided by the candidate and willing to confirm their satisfaction.
Witness testimony may come from past employers, supervisors and colleagues, in paid or unpaid work. It is always used to support performance evidence but should never be used as the main source of evidence for any part of the vocational qualification.
Witness Testimony Through Observation
Remember that a supervisor, manager or experienced colleague may be asked to carry out one or more observations of the candidate performing tasks. This is particularly valuable in situations where confidentiality or lack of time for protracted observation are issues. A simple questionnairetype checklist based on standards content and requirements may be supplied for use during observation. Unless this observation is carried out by an experienced, qualified assessor or someone working towards an assessor award, it is always treated as witness testimony.
Methods of Providing Witness Testimony
Depending on what the awarding body will find acceptable, there are three commonly used ways in which witness testimony may be provided which are listed below. However, there are other methods that you may wish to use. • Asking witnesses to provide a written statement confirming evidence and competence.
• The assessor discusses evidence and performance with the manager or supervisor. • Stamping of evidence or signature and confirmation on evidence
Information Handouts Evidence Review
Professional discussion is assessment through a series of discussions between the candidate as a professional in his or her own occupational area, and the assessor as an occupationally competent expert in assessment. This approach makes use of digital recordings, audio or video tapes to capture all the oral discussions which are usually lost after assessment sessions. The use of this approach has helped to overcome the concerns of candidates, employers and centres about the complexity of portfolio-based assessment and its associated paperwork.
Professional discussion only works well when both assessors and candidates know exactly what they are doing, the evidence to be provided and examined and where this fits into the national standards being assessed. The aim here is to streamline assessment and make it more cost and time-effective and this can only be done through careful preparation.
The assessor must: • Know his or her standards and the performance and knowledge evidence to be provided to cover all requirements • Be able to analyse standards so that he or she can assess holistically across as many units and elements as possible • Organise assessment sessions so that they cover specific areas of competence but provide as much evidence as possible across standards requirements • Prepare the candidate so that he or she knows exactly what will be covered in each assessment session, knows where this fits into requirements of national standards and knows exactly what evidence to provide • Prepare the candidate for the fact that the assessment session will be recorded
The candidate must: • Be able to supply good examples of his or her experience in the occupational area to prove competent performance to national standards • Identify sources of evidence proving this experience during assessment planning with the assessor • Provide process and knowledge evidence to authenticate evidence via in-depth professional discussions with the assessor. This evidence is recorded electronically. The assessment record references each discussion point to where it can be found on the recording and provides a cross-reference to where both product evidence and oral evidence obtained meet standards requirements • Provide witness testimony for each unit to authenticate evidence and confirm current competence and consistency of performance
Handout 1.18 - Evidence Reviews & Professional Discussion
An evidence review is simply formalising what good assessors have been doing for years. As they examine the candidate's product evidence, they ask the candidate to describe the various scenarios which led to this product evidence being produced. This discussion centring around product evidence helps the assessor to make a judgement about whether or not the evidence confirms the candidate's competent performance to national standards. It also authenticates evidence and confirms knowledge and understanding, providing it has been carefully planned and sequenced. A synopsis of the content of the discussion, plus the assessor's judgement is then recorded on a suitable assessment record. The Assessment Record confirms assessor decisions and cross references both product evidence and oral evidence obtained during the evidence review to standards requirements.
Information Handouts Preparing to Assess
Handout 1.19 - Managing Assessment
I. Preparing Yourself
Make sure you: • have selected the best and most cost-effective assessment methods for the assessment you will carry out • fully understand standards requirements you are to assess on this occasion • are ready to use any questions to be asked to ensure full knowledge and understanding for any areas which will probably not be covered through performance evidence • have your copy of the standards to be assessed and the right documentation to record the results of the assessment • have allowed sufficient time for travel and for locating the assessment location if it is unfamiliar
2. Preparing the Assessment Situation
Make sure that: • the candidate's supervisor, manager and work colleagues (as relevant) are aware of the assessment and that it does not conflict with work patterns • you will have sufficient time and opportunity to assess the candidate fully • the assessment will take place under normal working conditions • where simulation is used, care has been taken to ensure that it reflects the pressures of the working environment
3. Preparing the Candidate
Make sure that he or she: • understands why assessment is taking place • understands the assessment methods to be used • is prepared for what will be assessed • has all agreed product evidence at hand • has clear understanding of the parts of the qualification upon which the assessment will be based • knows where he or she will be assessed and the approximate duration • knows the role of questioning to ensure understanding • is fully agreeable to the above
Information Handouts Carrying out the Assessment
I. When assessing a candidate, always:
2. Dealing with any inconsistencies in evidence
Inconsistencies in a candidate's evidence may be defined as anything which causes the assessor to have a doubt about that evidence, eg that the evidence is authentic and is the work of the candidate. Here are some examples of inconsistencies which may occur:
Handout 1.19 - Managing Assessment
• check before the assessment that the candidate understands the purpose of assessment and the form it will take • select the most appropriate situation and method(s) for assessing competence and be prepared to adapt these if necessary • assess against all the performance criteria specified for any element • be as unobtrusive as possible • use a range of questioning techniques to enable the candidate to give full answers • show interest and remain attentive throughout • avoid excessive writing or note taking (bullet point notes work well and can be expanded onto the assessment record when assessment is complete)
• A candidate may present evidence of taking part in team meetings, but evidence actually shows that joint decisions were reached and the candidate's contribution is not mentioned in notes of meetings • A completed artifact may have been completed by several people and the candidate may not be able to show the contribution he or she made • A record may not be dated, or the date on the record does not agree with other evidence presented • Witness testimony is vague and it does not appear that the person providing this is familiar with the candidate's work • A candidate tells you that a task is done in a certain way (which appears to meet requirements or the national standards), but your observation shows that it is always done in another way
As a general rule, evidence should not be accepted unless it is obviously authentic and confirms current performance to national standards. If a candidate is using a piece of evidence to confirm competence , the assessor must be convinced that the evidence is the work of the candidate and confirms current competent performance.
The task of providing good quality evidence must be owned by the candidate. In all the above examples the assessor would probably guide and advise on additional evidence required, or might carry out additional observations to confIrm competence, but does not have the time or responsibility to fIll gaps. It is essential that the assessor explains exactly what the inconsistency is and why it presents a problem and that action is agreed to resolve it.
Information Handouts Introduction
Handout 1.20 The Internal Quality Assurance Process
Every approved centre must have a system and procedures for managing assessment so that it consistently meets national standards. This system ensures that, when a certificate is claimed for any candidate, it is reliable and indicates that the candidate has provided sufficient, reliable evidence of performance to the national standards indicated on the certificate. Records confirming that the internal quality assurance process is in place is effective and covers all national requirements must be available for scrutiny by awarding bodies and other external agencies.
The people who play a part in making sure the process is effective and meets all national requirements are: • • • • •
Centre management The Centre Coordinator The Internal Verifier for each programme area Each member of the assessment team The External Verifier
The Role of Centre Management and the Centre Co-ordinator
Centre management • Allocates roles and responsibilities of all centre staff • Ensures management information systems are in place and are effective • Defines, disseminates and maintains the centre's aims and policies • Makes sure access and fair assessment are an integral part of the centre's philosophy • Makes sure the internal verifier has the time, resources and authority to carry out internal quality assurance and that sufficient resources are made available for each specific award • Makes sure development opportunities are available for centre staff • Is committed to continuous review, evaluation and improvement • Receives updates and reports from internal verifiers and takes necessary action
The Centre Coordinator The roles of centre coordinator and internal verifier are often combined in smaller centres, but in larger centres, the centre coordinator role is usually a separate person who plays a key role. The centre coordinator acts in a quality management role, coordinating the provision of assessment and internal verification across all qualifications offered. The centre coordinator should be a senior person with access directly to centre management. The role will often vary but should include: • Coordinating provision across all qualifications offered by the centre • Making sure management and internal quality assurance systems and procedures are operating effectively across all qualifications • Standardising internal verification activities and processes and making sure they are effectively meeting both centre and external requirements • Monitoring feedback from candidates and all centre staff on how effective processes are • Making sure actions and recommendations agreed for improvement and after external verifier reports are implemented effectively • Receiving and disseminating information from the awarding body and other external agencies • Making sure administrative arrangements are in place and operating effectively
Information Handouts The Role of the Internal Verifier
• • • • •
the work of all assessors in the team, including those at other locations all units of the qualification(s) being offered all assessment methods being used all records being used a representative sample of all types of candidates currently being assessed
2. Monitoring Assessment Practice Across All Assessors The internal verifier monitors assessment practice across all assessors in the assessment team, including those at other locations. The aims of this monitoring are: • To make sure that the national standards for assessment are being adhered to by all assessors • To identify any problems or areas where assessors need advice, guidance or development • To make sure candidates are aware of and satisfied with the assessment process
Handout 1.20 The Internal Quality Assurance Process
I. Sampling Assessments: This is where the internal verifier works from an agreed schedule to sample the assessment process at different stages of assessment. He or she will look at records and evidence relating to some, but not all, of your candidates to confirm that you are carrying out assessment to national standards, centre procedures and awarding body requirements & make a record of the sampling. Over a period of time, the internal verifier will sample:
Monitoring assessment practice involves observing assessors in action as they assess one of their candidates and making sure the assessment is conducted 'properly' then giving feedback to each assessor. The internal verifier will probably use other ways of assessing activities, such as using professional discussion with assessors.
3. Standardising Assessor Judgements Standardisation is usually carried out via regular standardisation meetings. The aim is to benchmark assessor performance and to have in place a common understanding and common practice. All members of the assessment team must be invited to such meetings, including those from other sites or locations. One of the key activities of standardisation meetings is to ask all assessors to share good practice. The internal verifier also has other responsibilities which include: • Supporting assessors to develop their skills and knowledge and providing feedback on their performance • Monitoring and supporting the people who provide administrative support • Monitoring and making recommendations for resources needed to evaluate the assessment process • Making sure there is an equal balance of candidates to assessors • Monitoring and reporting on achievement rates • Monitoring the progress and satisfaction of candidates • Meeting the assessment and internal verification requirements of awarding bodies and other external agencies • Applying and monitoring equal opportunities and access procedures • Making everything available for external verifier visits, managing these and reporting back to both centre management and the assessment team
The Role of the Assessment Team in the Internal Quality Assurance Process
Handout 1.20 The Internal Quality Assurance Process
The role and responsibilities of the internal verifier are many and diverse. He or she needs the full cooperation of all members of the assessment team to fulfil his or her responsibilities. Unless each assessor plays a full part in understanding exactly what is required, does everything to the best of his or her ability and is committed to a quality partnership with the internal verifier, internal quality assurance becomes simply an inspection process which looks for faults in preparation for each external verifier visit, The assessment process cannot run smoothly unless quality of assessment is a team commitment where everyone plays an equal part.
Assessors must understand that the internal verifier is not an inspector who finds and rectifies faults and omissions, but someone who is an advisor and provider of constructive feedback to both individuals and the assessment team as a whole in the continuous quality improvement cycle.
As an assessor, your key responsibilities in the internal quality assurance process must be:
• Making sure you fully understand both the national standards against which you are assessing and the national standards for assessment. • Making sure you have all the information and resources you need and that you can manage your candidate allocation.
• Complying with all assessment procedures at all times, so that both internal and external verifier sampling confirms their effective use.
• Making sure candidates fully understand everything about their qualification, their progress and their achievement and that full and accurate records are held of progress reviews and achievements to date.
• Making sure your assessment plans contain all necessary information and are signed and dated. • Making sure each assessment record is accurate, legible and up-to-date and clearly confirms the outcomes of assessment.
• Keeping records of reviews of progress and achievement so that these can be passed on to the Internal Verifier at regular intervals.
• Making sure your assessment records provide an audit trail to the evidence which confirmed your judgement of competence.
• Making sure your records are stored safely so that any assessment decision for any candidate can be found and examined quickly, and passing on information about your assessment decisions to the internal verifier and anyone else who needs this information.
• Playing an active part in standardisation meetings and activities and appreciating the opportunity to clarify your understanding and obtain information through these.
• Being a good team member at all times.
The Role of the External Verifier in the Internal Quality Assurance Process
The external verifier is the quality controller and advisor on behalf of the awarding body he or she represents. The role covers the following:
External Verifiers carry out the following activities in centres: • • • • •
Reviewing internal assessment auditing arrangements. Ensuring that internal assessment decisions are accurate. Ensuring that the requirements for assessment of external awarding bodies are applied. Checking the quality of internal audits and assessments. Monitoring how health, safety and environmental protection procedures are applied within assessment arrangements. • Monitoring how equal opportunity and access procedures are applied throughout all assessment procedures. • Advising and supporting the people responsible for internal assessment.
Handout 1.20 The Internal Quality Assurance Process
• Monitoring the internal quality assurance process. • Checking the quality of assessments. • Providing information, advice and support on the internal quality assurance of assessment processes.
External Quality Audits The external verifier does all of the things listed above by visiting a centre two or more times each year. He or she carries out quality audits and works with the internal verifier to confirm that internal quality assurance systems are in line with requirements. The internal verifier must provide evidence to the awarding body, via its external verifier, that assessment and internal verification procedures are sound and effective and meet all national and awarding body requirements.
Systems Audits This type of external audit concentrates on the internal quality assurance systems and is normally carried out annually. A systems audit is also carried out when national standards are revised, as centres are now required to apply for re-approval to offer revised standards. In this type of audit, the external verifier is checking that the centre is capable of offering assessment to national standards and has a system and procedures to control all assessment activities.The external verifier checks that a sound and effective system and procedures are in place and are capable of controlling quality at each stage of the assessment process, from registration and induction to certification and storage of records. The results of this system audit are then documented in an external verifier report and both the awarding body and the centre are informed of the results and any action required to make sure the system and procedures are meeting both national and awarding body requirements.
Sampling audits When the external verifier is satisfied that the internal quality assurance system and procedures are sound, sampling audits are carried out to make sure these are working as planned and that the results of assessment and internal verification provide evidence of this. This type of audit concentrates on sampling the results of assessment and internal verification. The external verifier samples, monitors assessment practice and talks to members of the assessment team and candidates in exactly the same way as the internal verifier. Again, results of each audit are then documented in an external verifier report and both the awarding body and the centre are informed of the results and any action required to make sure assessment and internal verification activities and processes are meeting both national and awarding body requirements.
The Data Protection Act 1998
This Act is important to anyone who holds information about people. Centres deal with candidates as customers and hold information about them. The new Act also applies to data which is held manually as well as that held on computer. It contains regulations relating to obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of personal data relating to living customers. This could be as little as a customer's name and address.
Handout 1.21 - Data Protection & Confidentiality
The Act places obligations on those who record and use personal data (data users) . They must be open about their use and follow sound and proper practices which are defined in the Act.
All personal data relating to candidates must be: • • • • • • •
Collected and processed fairly and lawfully. Held only for specified purposes. Used only for those purposes and only disclosed to authorised people. Adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are held. Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. Held no longer than is necessary for the registered purpose. Protected by proper security.
Your organisation is bound by law to protect the confidentiality of candidates and their records. It will have specific requirements covering such things as: • • • •
The types of information which can be stored. How these should be stored safely and securely. Persons in and outside the organisation who are authorised to see or receive information Information which can be supplied to customers about themselves and how their requirements or orders are being processed, used and stored. • Confidential information about the organisation which should not be supplied to customers.
You should be familiar with your centre's procedures for confidentiality and comply with them at all times.
Suggestions for how to deal with Data Protection and confidentiality relating to candidates' evidence:
• Names and addresses of customers may be removed from records and documents before they are submitted as evidence. • The assessor can offer to sign a record agreeing to abide by confidentiality procedures and not release any confidential information to third parties (with the exception of internal and external verifiers). • Evidence may be left in the workplace and signposted on assessment records to what the evidence is; where it can be found and why it confirms competent performance. • Carry out observation of activities actually happening rather than examining product evidence. • Ask for written permission from the organisation or customer that the evidence may be used for the purpose of proving competent performance. • Look for alternative evidence
Complaints and Appeals Procedures
All centres are required by their awarding body to have procedures in place for complaints and appeals against assessment decisions. Each member of the assessment team must know these and operate within them at all times. Candidates must know the procedures to follow if they wish to complain or make an appeal. It is essential to separate out these procedures as they have different purposes and different levels of formality.
The Appeals Procedure This is a formal procedure designed to protect the candidate's right to open access and fair assessment. It is used where a candidate wishes to appeal against an assessment decision made by an assessor and for this purpose only. Any other type of grievance against the assessor or the centre is handled within the complaints procedure. The appeals procedure is only used where disagreement about assessment decisions cannot be settled through discussions between the assessor and the candidate and candidates MUST be informed of the existence of the procedure and receive all necessary information on how to access and use it.
Handout 1.22 - Complaints & Appeals Procedures
The Complaints Procedure A complaints procedure is an internal procedure which is dealt with wholly by relevant staff in the centre. It is designed for use when a candidate has a complaint against the centre or staff within it. For example, if the assessor was late in turning up for an observation and the supervisor (or candidate) was annoyed, he or she uses the complaints procedure. If a candidate is upset about the way the assessor spoke to him or her, again the complaints procedure is used. A complaint is quite different from an appeal against an assessment decision.
Each centre must have a formal procedure for dealing with appeals which is monitored by the awarding body. This must contain mechanisms for escalating the level of appeal if the candidate is not satisfied with action taken at any level. An appeal may be dealt with internally if the candidate is satisfied, or may be taken outside the centre right up to the stage of involving the awarding body. Here is an example of a typical appeals procedure: 1.
If a candidate wishes to make an appeal over his or her assessor's assessment decision for any unit or element of a qualification and this cannot be resolved with the assessor, he or she should request an Appeal Form, complete this and make an appointment to see the internal verifier.
If, after discussion with the internal verifier, the candidate is not satisfied with action recommended to resolve the appeal, he or she should make a request to the internal verifier to bring the appeal to the attention of the external verifier on his or her next visit. This request must be made in writing and handed to the internal verifier.
If this visit is not for some time, or the candidate feels he or she will not be allowed proper access to the external verifier, he or she may approach the awarding body in writing, giving all facts about the appeal. The awarding body will make no charge for this service. If the external verifier feels the appeal cannot be resolved satisfactorily, he or she may wish to refer the appeal to the chief verifier for a second opinion or if he or she feels that the grounds for appeal are of a technical nature. The appeal may be satisfied at this stage or the candidate may wish to take the appeal to the awarding body.
After all other avenues have been explored, if the candidate is still not satisfied with actions recommended by all parties mentioned above, he or she may request an Appeal Form from the awarding body, together with the fee payable. The awarding body will enter the appeal into formal records and deal with the appeal. If the appeal is upheld, the fee will be refunded and the centre required to take action to satisfy the appeal.
ÂŠ Accrington & Rossendale College MMXI - HB
Published on Nov 19, 2013