There’s lots of ongoing discussion at the moment about End-Point Assessment, as the various apprenticeship schemes gather momentum under the guidance of the Institute for Apprenticeships.
As a Principal Consultant in the field of assessment and quality assurance, Chief EQA of a UK Awarding Organisation, Chief Executive and Writer, this is an interesting development that my colleagues and I are all watching closely.
One of the most striking things that seems apparent so far, is the confusion in some camps as to what End-Point Assessment or EPA actually is … and in what way it is the same or different from the more established assessment that we have all become used to.
Although I can see why EPA has been singled out for special attention, in practice it seems to me that it is only really a specific instance of normal assessment, undertaken under closely specified conditions.
Something Different? Something Special?
A big deal seems to be currently being made of End-Point Assessment as something different and something special. This is causing some anxiety and difficulty as more and more apprenticeships are launched.
To my mind, it is a pity that End-Point Assessment is being singled out in this way. Yes, it does have some differences from other assessments and could represent a big change for some, but only because the apprentice standards themselves have particular requirements.
That said, other professional recognitions and qualifications also have particular requirements and as long as it is clear to professional assessors what the particular requirements of the standards actually are, then ‘End-Point Assessment’ surely is only ‘Assessment’.
Why is End-point assessment different?
The assessment focal points have been determined by the Institute for Apprenticeships, the Approved End-Point Assessment Organisations, and the Standards for the specific industry-based apprenticeships.
It is these aspects that make End-Point Assessment a particular instance of assessment which relates specifically to the assessment of apprentices, within the Institute for Apprenticeships UK government-funded scheme. The purported overall aim of this is so that employers have greater confidence in their apprentices competence.
However, because the Standards for each Apprenticeship are different, there is no one simple list of differences between End-Point Assessment and traditional Assessment, nor between End-Point Assessments for different Standards.
I do think there are some obvious common differences, which include:
- End-Point Assessors must be independent and have had no prior contact whatsoever with the candidates (apprentices) that they are assessing
- End-Point Assessors must be working for and on behalf of an End-Point Assessment Organisation which has been specifically authorised to assess one or more specific apprenticeship schemes
- End-Point Assessors do not always have the freedom to select the assessment method by which they will make their assessment judgements. Many End-Point Assessment activities and assessment methods are specified in the apprenticeship standards, although there are some standards that do not specify in this way.
- End-Point Assessors will only undertake the assessment activity at the end of an apprenticeship and are not free to choose to assess over a period of time as the apprentice develops their knowledge and skills.
- an End-Point Assessment activity unless specified otherwise within the standards, is a single point assessment, a little bit like an MOT test for a vehicle.
- End-Point Assessors will make a definitive decision on one-time assessment. Apprentices who do not pass are (within most Apprenticeship Standards) not offered an opportunity to resubmit just the element that has “failed”, in the way that traditional assessment will often facilitate and permit.
- Most End-Point Assessment standards require grading according to a grading scheme specified in the Standard in use.
Getting qualified in End Point Assessment
As Apprenticeships schemes and End-Point Assessments are on the increase, many people new to the world of professional assessment are likely to become involved. This is an exciting development and these people will need training, support and formal recognition as they become established in their new or special assessor roles.
After some consideration, ATi are now delighted to be able to offer the relatively new Level 3 Award in Undertaking End-Point Assessment. This RQF qualification now forms part of our growing range of blended learning approaches that includes:
- Award in Understanding the Principles and Practice of Assessment
- Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment
- Award in Assessing Vocationally-Related Achievement
- Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement
- Award in Undertaking End-Point Assessment
By using our own workbooks and accompanying additional reading materials, on-line webinars & seminars with adviser-assessor support, our programmes have been recognised as being highly-relevant and great value to professional assessors. All have specific focal points for their assessment activity, just as different standards have specific focal point requirements.
To be considered a true assessor and have the credibility to progress further, I firmly believe that individuals should hold or be working towards formal recognition of their assessor skills by gaining one or more of the qualifications. At these times of national and global changes, this will help to maintain crucial standards within a multitude of sectors, assist in the development of well-rounded apprentices and of course recognise the professional status of assessors and quality assurers.
Free webinar and further information
To find out more about the new End-Point Assessment qualifications including how these compare with traditional assessment approaches, do join me for my short free webinar.
Notes to editors
ATi provide bespoke developmental and qualification programmes through both face-to-face and supported blended learning, including topics of assessment, internal/external quality assurance and train-the-trainer. Please visit our various qualifications and course pages for further information.
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