From October 1st 2015, the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) ceased to exist and all post-16 vocational qualifications along with GCSEs and A-levels are now part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).
The main changes affect the Awarding Organisations (AOs) as follows:
- Awarding Organisations are no longer required to follow the QCF format when designing new qualifications
- There is no longer a requirement for AOs to share units
- AOs have until 2017 to describe qualifications’ size in terms of Total Qualification Time (TQT), part of which will still be made up of Guided Learning Hours (GLH)
- AOs will also be required to justify the validity and ‘worth’ of any new qualification by reviewing and evaluating its effectiveness over its lifecycle
The RQF uses the same levels as the QCF: Entry 1-3 and Levels 1-8. The demand at each level remains the same.
The RQF maps to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and the European Qualifications Framework to allow for portability.
The level descriptors now cover both academic and vocational qualifications.
There are level descriptors for ‘Skills’ and ‘Knowledge and understanding’.
There is no longer an ‘Autonomy and accountability’ level descriptor.
TQT stands for Total Qualifications Time as follows:
- Total Qualification Time (TQT) is the total time it typically takes to study and be assessed for the qualification
- Guided Learning Hours (GLH) concerns the part of TQT that is taught or supervised
NB: GLH do not automatically include digital/e-learning unless the learner is directly supervised or taught.
It depends on the sector.
It is no longer a regulatory requirement for assessors to hold an assessment qualification or to keep a record of their CPD. However, requirements for assessors, IQAs and EQAs vary between sectors. Some require assessors and teachers to hold qualifications and/or QTLS status, some do not.
All assessors must be occupationally-competent and have the expertise to assess in accordance with their sector’s requirements. Many have overarching assessment strategies covering apprenticeships and/or groups of qualifications and you must find out how these apply to you.
If there are no requirements within your sector or from your AO, then it is a good idea to ensure assessment or quality assurance is in line with the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Learning and Development (NOS) 9, for assessors, or 11, for IQAs. Click here to download the NOS under ‘Resources’.
Under the RQF, it is no longer a requirement for centres to provide a recognised RPL route as they were required to do for QCF qualifications.
Principles of recognising and taking account of what potential learners already know and can do should form part of a robust initial assessment system. As a centre, you will need policies and procedures in place to take account of individual learners’ experience and potential, including:
- any previous qualifications, including credits they already have
- previous experience
- existing knowledge
- their aptitudes within their chosen area of learning.
You will find further help with setting up initial assessment in ‘The best initial assessment guide’. You can see sample pages here.
No, but it’s a good idea to keep your practice updated and to keep abreast of current changes as these will have an impact on assessment practice. For example, changes to apprenticeships mean assessors can no longer assess those they teach.
No. The assessment strategy requires trainee assessors, IQAs and EQAs to be observed carrying out ‘live’ assessment by their assessor, not through using video recordings or other product evidence. This is a mandatory requirement.
Check with your Awarding Organisation as guidance varies. For example, some insist on the assessor being present whilst the trainee assessor is carrying out assessment.
You can use product evidence to confirm other aspects of the trainee assessor or IQA’s knowledge and/or competence, but observation of live performance is a requirement.
You will find the details on pages 19 and 25 of the LLUK document Qualifications in assessment and quality assurance; Guidance for Awarding Organisations (LLUK, 2010). Click here to download the document under ‘Resources’.
You need to find a reputable training providewho offers a route to gaining the qualification that combines practical experience, teaching and learning of the underpinning knowledge, and robust assessment of your performance.
Ideally, this means you having expertise in the vocational area you wish to assess (or IQA) and having access to those learners you will be assessing (for example, being employed or volunteering within the relevant vocational sector).
As a rule of thumb, steer clear of providers offering high earnings potential and/or who offer to supply you with the evidence you need to gain a qualification (for example, by supplying you with learners to assess).
For guidance on avoiding the pitfalls, read my article on gaining an assessor/IQA/EQA qualification here.
If you have a question please contact us.