Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Like Every Good Ending, the Key Is in the Delivery

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Like Every Good Ending, the Key Is in the Delivery

Article excerpt

there have been many headline-grabbing announcements in apprenticeships over the past two years, not least the government's target of three million apprenticeships by 2020 and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. Another big change for the skills sector is the move to end assessment.

Before delving into this, it's worth stating categorically that, in principle, the move to end assessment is a positive change for apprenticeships. If it is designed and delivered well, it will provide a much more holistic assessment of each apprentice, which frees up the employer and training provider to focus on designing and delivering the workplace and off-the-job training and learning.

What's important is 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.

Where real work can be observed, this is the best method, but some occupations just cannot be "seen" easily. This means use of example projects, which must be carefully designed and managed. We've seen some plans that fall short on this.

The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has been given responsibility for the quality of end assessment and for governance. We very much welcome this. But what's not yet clear is exactly how independence will be maintained.

We have seen the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) undergo some difficulty in defining its position here, for example over whether and how to allow apprentice employers' staff to be assessors. We think they have reached the right place by insisting that when this happens, a registered assessment organisation must still design and manage the assessors.

We believe that the independent assessor role is hugely important in the apprenticeship process and should be undertaken only by those who are both highly competent and have the credibility to make authoritative judgements. …

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