The importance of getting end assessment right in apprenticeships
Apprenticeship end assessments
22 July 2016
One of the big changes to apprenticeships that the Government has made is the move towards end assessment. It is seen by many as a real step change in apprenticeships although we have yet to see delivery in practice.
It’s really important to point out up front that, in principle, the move to end assessment is a positive change for apprenticeships. If it is designed and delivered well then it will provide a much more holistic assessment of each apprentice which then frees you, the training provider, up to work with your employer customer on designing and delivering the workplace and off-the-job training and learning.
It’s really important that assessment plans are robust and properly thought through. They can be developed using a range of assessment tools to suit different occupations but all plans must deliver validity and value for money. It is especially important to design a robust method of assessing practical competence holistically. We are urging all trailblazer groups to place as much emphasis on the assessment plans as on developing the standards themselves.
The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has been given responsibility for the quality of end assessment and for governance. We very much welcome this which can provide the basis for a high quality system. What’s not yet clear, is exactly how independence will be maintained in end assessment. We believe the independent assessor role is hugely important in the apprenticeship process and should be undertaken only by expert assessors who are both independent and highly occupationally competent and have the credibility to make authoritative judgements.
End assessment costs are coming out at a reasonable level; somewhere between £400-1,500. This represents a small proportion of the total for most apprenticeship price caps but could be a higher percentage in some cases for some of the lower funding caps. There is no direct correlation between the cost of end assessment and the funding cap because it is the nature of the occupation which determines the assessment methods that must be used.
Finally, it’s really important that you work closely with your employer to determine when the end assessment should take place. This should only be when the apprentice is able to show mastery of their given occupation. Of course qualifications will often be involved even where not mandatory, but if not then there will always be informal continuous assessment taking place throughout the apprenticeship. We will continue to support employers and providers to deliver this, as well as work with policy makers to ensure the end assessment works as the culmination of a high quality apprenticeship.