With the end of apprenticeship frameworks just a few days away we thought it would be timely to write a short article about apprenticeship on programme assessments.
Apprenticeship frameworks were typically formed from portfolio-based qualifications. These followed the pattern of selecting the appropriate units, having learners submit evidence to cover the criteria, assessing the evidence and learner progress being tracked by the number of completed units. The achievement was completion of the portfolio.
With apprenticeship standards, it is not quite so straightforward as learners can only complete once they have successfully negotiated the independent end-point assessment. But, how do you know they are ready for EPA. How are you sure they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours? How have you assessed the learners and what has given you the confidence that they are ready?
From an inspection perspective, providers also need to have a clear understanding and can demonstrate that what learners are being asked to learn has been committed to their long term memory.
Regular On Programme Assessment
With the change from portfolio-based qualifications to EPA, it is really important that apprentices are regularly assessed. This will help delivery staff in determining how the curriculum is contributing to the development of knowledge, skills and behaviours. On programme assessment will help:
- Determine through empirical evidence what apprentices are learning
- Identify gaps in the delivery of knowledge, skills and behaviours
- Inform teaching pedagogy by aligning best practices with apprentice and employer needs
- Identify weaknesses in the curriculum leading to improvement actions
- Demonstrate overall programme effectiveness and have a clear understanding of what works for apprentices and employers.
Developing On Programme Assessment
There is a fairly straightforward sequence to developing on programme assessment:
- Identify the apprenticeship standards
- Link standards with other outcomes such as functional skills, Prevent Guidance etc
- Identify direct measures that will determine if apprentices have met that standards as well as being able to demonstrate the commitment to their long term memory.
- Review the delivery at suitable times – annually, end of course etc
- Add findings against each of the measures
- Add actions against each of the findings
- Communicate the results to staff involved with the programme.
From an inspection perspective, you should try to identify links between the standards, assessment results and how you will make improvements to delivery, pedagogy, curriculum planning, off and on the job learning and endpoint assessment success.
Making improvements to apprenticeship programmes
Many apprenticeship providers are in uncharted waters with the new standards-based programmes but using on programme assessment and then reviewing success will help improve the delivery. Using assessment results is a core element in ensuring that there is a continual improvement process. It is also vital in determining curriculum impact.
As part of the improvement process, apprenticeship providers should ask:
- What did our findings tell us about the development of knowledge, skills and behaviours?
- Did we identify the curriculum impact?
- From the findings we have gathered are we able to make improvements?
- How prepared were learners for EPA and what was the achievement data?
Example Assessment Plan
We thought it might be helpful to put this into a visual.