Developing Programme Assessment Plans

With OfSTED returning to publishing reports for inspections conducted before the coronavirus lockdown, we wanted to remind education and training providers that there will come a time when training programmes will be back in full operation and OfSTED will start to inspect again. After 6 weeks of lockdown, this is probably a good time to focus again on programme and curriculum design. Also, while there is talk about extending some framework programmes beyond the July 2020 deadline, apprenticeship providers could use this time to make the move to standards for all of their programmes. To support providers in this task we thought it would be helpful to release a short guide to help with this transition.

Difference between Programme and End Point Assessment Plans

Each apprenticeship standard has an assessment plan that sets out how learners complete their programmes. It is the job of the training provider and employer to get them there. To do this, providers, with the agreement of employers have to identify the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed and decide how these will be taught, developed and practised through on and off the job training. For apprenticeship delivery, there should be two types of assessment plans:

  • Endpoint Assessment Plan – this is what will be used by the endpoint assessment organisation to assess the learner at the end of their programme with the grading criteria.
  • Programme Assessment Plan – this is what will be agreed between the training provider and employer that sets out what learners need to know (knowledge, skills and behaviours) and why they need to know it. This is important as it links to OfSTED Quality of Education judgement. The what and why are the curriculum intent. In the assessment plan, providers should also set out how they are going to measure each work/evidence requirement and what the success criteria are for each – this is how curriculum impact is determined.

Programme assessment plans

Programme assessment plans help providers deliver apprenticeships and support learners in meeting the knowledge, skills and behaviours. By reviewing programme assessment plans teaching and training staff can also get a better understanding of apprentice learning, to make changes to their curriculum and pedagogies in the interest of improving teaching and learning.

Programme assessment plans allow training providers to implement a standardised process for designing and delivering high-quality programmes and meeting the OfSTED Quality of Education judgements. This is our recommended method of designing and developing apprenticeship programme assessment plans and providers make meaningful decisions about areas of strength and weakness in order to improve teaching and learning.

Step 1 – Identify the Apprenticeship standard outcomes

The first step is to identify the outcomes. In an apprenticeship programme, these are knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Step 2 – Determine the assessment measures

What do you need to do so that learners can demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours at the end of the programme? What tasks or evidence will they be required to complete or submit and what benchmark will define success, i.e all learners to achieve 80% pass mark for a test. To repeat what we have said – this is your curriculum intent – what is required and why and how will you determine if learners are meeting the required levels to be successful at the endpoint. In choosing measures and methods, providers should think carefully about what assessments are being set for learner and how they will provide you evidence that the knowledge, skills and behaviours are being met, that programme strengths can be built on and what learning and development needs are required by learners to drive programme improvement.

outcomes assessment measures

Step 3 – Mapping outcomes

Once you providers have identified the knowledge, skills and behaviours, they should map these to other assessment plans that may cover additional skills, knowledge an experiences. It is useful to map outcomes to other outcomes sets such as functional skills, safeguarding and Prevent.

mapping outcomes

Step 5 – Create the curriculum plan

The curriculum plan is critical in the design of the programme as it sets out the implementation. The curriculum should be made up of activities, modules or small courses and these should be mapped to the apprenticeship programme assessment plan. It is important for the curriculum plan to be properly sequenced and that learners, employers and the delivery staff know the logic of the order of delivery.

apprenticeship assessment plan

It is also recommended that as part of the curriculum planning process, staff also identify the 20% off the job training activities too.

Step 6 – Review the assessment plan

It is really important for providers to review their assessment plans. Having set out measures that will set success benchmarks, it is vital that at natural points in a programme these are reviewed and findings added against each of the measures. This should then feed into a programme improvement action plan. Importantly, the findings will also provide the analysis required to measure the curriculum impact.


This has been a difficult time for all education and training providers but it should also be used for positive development activities. Many providers will still be planning the recruitment of learners in September and October – this is now the perfect time to get those course right.


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