EQA Q-and-A: Webinar follow up!


It was great to host our recent webinar on “Becoming an EQA” where I explored the role and responsibilities of an External Quality Adviser (EQA).  This included some thoughts on applying to awarding organisations as well as the EQA qualifications and how these can be achieved.

Thanks to those of your who completed the quick survey and took a few moments to send me your interesting comments and suggestions for future webinars.  Thanks also to those of you who posted questions during the live session and sent in further follow up questions.   As promised, here are my thoughts of a few of the most popular themes:

1.      Can a Standards Verifier gain the EQA qualifications?

Although the work of a standards verifier (SV) is very like much of the work of an EQA, in that an SV samples candidate work and assessor work and gives feedback, many of the requirements of the EQA qualification are not normally undertaken by a standards verifier. My answer to this question is therefore…..no, probably not.

2.      Do I have to be working for an awarding organisation in the role of an EQA to gain the EQA qualification, or can I undertake shadowing, understudy, or attachment to an awarding organisation to provide the required evidence?

The qualification specifications are very clear on this! The evidence produced must be from a real working environment. If you are not working in the role of an EQA for an awarding organisation but are only undertaking the EQA visit “under supervision” and not with authority and in your own right, then the evidence produced is not from a real working environment.  This means that you are not taking responsibility for e.g. fully planning it or the formal reporting of it, which is (quite rightly) what the qualifications require.

I do know that some awarding organisations and associated centres are trying to offer the EQA qualification under the guise of a “secondment” or “attachment” featuring evidence from a single visit only.  In my view, and that of ATi’s senior team, this does not demonstrate the qualification criteria sufficiently: good practice would be at least two or three visits evidenced within a portfolio.

If you find a centre that is willing to provide the full EQA award (knowledge unit and practical unit) without you holding a role as an EQA for an awarding organisation, please be prepared that your evidence may not be accepted, and any certificates awarded may be deemed improperly gained and potentially be removed by Ofqual!

To avoid this, please make sure when seeking this qualification that you check exactly how the practical unit can be gained.  Be very wary of organisations offering a route via some form of simulation (such as shadowing or short attachment).

3.      I hold a role as an EQA for an awarding organisation, but because of recent absence or other duties have not been exercising this role for a while. Are there any time limits on the evidence that I must produce to gain the practical unit of the qualification?

In general terms, the answer for most qualifications in the UK is that evidence must be current. However, the definition of current does vary between qualifications. Because the EQA is right at the top of the qualifications and quality assurance chain it would be normal for a centre providing these qualifications to ask that your evidence is within 12 months of your assessment date. Having said this, however, exceptions can be made and there will be some working disciplines where your visits to centres might be more sporadic, in which case perhaps within 24 months might be permitted.

If the majority of your evidence is rather old, a simple top up to show currency may be all that is needed. The golden rule here of course is that you should discuss this matter with your adviser/assessor who should be able to guide you on what might be needed, and what would be acceptable, if necessary checking with the relevant awarding organisation.

4.      Many awarding organisations seem to insist that sampling should be a percentage of work undertaken by candidates, whilst others do not have this rule. What percentage should be sampled by an EQA, and for that matter by an IQA?

There are no hard and fast rules here. Traditionally a percentage was always stated by awarding organisations, mainly for the reason of making sure that enough was sampled to try and guarantee quality. Current good practice, following Ofqual’s guidelines of working on a risk basis, is not to state a percentage: the amount of sampling that is needed depends on quite a large range of variables.

If you have further individual questions, or would like to register with us for an EQA qualification, we would be very pleased to hear from you. check out our Open Programmes or visit our EQA qualification page.

Professor Ian Favell
Ian is a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University and has been Chief External Verifier for CIPD for almost 20 years. As Principal Consultant for Assessor Training Ltd Ian is particularly interested in quality assurance, assessment and verification, training, learning and development, and the development and use of competencies and competency frameworks.
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