Frequently asked questions

The RQF is the Regulated Qualifications Framework that replaced the QCF in 2015. All post-16 qualifications including GCSEs and A-levels come under the RQF. Under the RQF Awarding Organisations can design qualifications without following any prescribed format, however, they have to justify the validity and worth of any new qualification they want added to the RQF by reviewing its effectiveness and providing evidence of need.

T-levels are technical qualifications as described in the government’s Post-16 Skills Plan (July, 2016). ((Add link to the Post-16 Plan in Resources)) There are 15 proposed technical routes, each with an associated technical qualification. The Skills Plan aims to rationalise the post-16 technical and academic routes, making it easier for learners to cross from one to the other. There are two pathways within the technical route: new apprenticeships and the college pathway. The overall aim of the technical option is to ‘prepare individuals for skilled employment in occupations which require a substantial body of technical knowledge and a set of practical skills valued by industry’ (page 17).

Subscribers can find out more here. ((add link to T-Levels presentation))

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 or IQA’ing, for example, being employed or volunteering within the relevant vocational sector.

You also need to find a reputable provider who offers a relevant qualification. The route to gaining your qualification should combine practical experience, teaching and learning of the underpinning knowledge, and robust assessment of your performance. Steer clear of providers offering high earnings potential, online learning with little or no support, 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 Hilary’s article on gaining an assessor/IQA/EQA qualification here.

No. The revised assessment strategy ((add link to this in Resources)) 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.

Under the RQF, it is no longer a mandatory requirement for approved centres to provide a recognised RPL route as they were required to do for QCF qualifications.
However, 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.

Potential EPAs need to:

– demonstrate up-to-date industry knowledge and skills of the role they plan to assess
– possess a relevant assessor qualification
– ensure they have up-to-date assessment experience and practice.

Subscribers can find out more here ((Add link to presentation on becoming an EPA))

Potential assessor trainers need to be able to do some or all of the following, depending on their responsibilities:
– plan a curriculum of learning linked to the knowledge, skills and behaviours within the apprenticeship standard
– initially assess learners and agree an individual learning programme (ILP)
– involve employers
– coach learners on or near-the-job
– assess progress and give feedback
– prepare learners for end-point assessment
– plan schemes of work and formal sessions
– possess a relevant teaching qualification such as The Certificate in Education and Training, the Diploma in Education and Training or equivalent. The Award in Education and Training (AET) or PTLLS are entry-level qualifications, often gained as a result of a short micro-teach and do not prepare would-be teachers and trainers for the in-depth teaching of knowledge, skills and behaviours required by apprenticeships linked to specific roles.

Subscribers can find out more here. ((add link to presentation on becoming an assessor trainer))