This document applies to all Awarding Body qualifications (such as those offered through FutureQuals), and in parts the principles apply to Higher Education qualifications such as RGU and the ORMS HEMP course. If you are not sure what parts apply to the qualification you are delivering, contact ORMS’ Quality Manager.
It sets out those principles and approaches to unit/qualification assessment already described in the Regulated Qualifications Framework. The information is intended to support the quality assurance processes of both ORMS and any Awarding Body whose qualifications ORMS delivers, and it should also be read alongside individual unit assessment requirements. The purpose of these statements is to ensure a consistent approach to those elements of assessment, which require further interpretation and definition.
- Learners must meet all of the learning outcomes and assessment criteria identified in each unit to achieve the full unit. Evidence should be developed over a period of time using different assessment methods.
- Assessment decisions for competence based learning outcomes (e.g. those beginning with ‘to be able to’) must be made by an occupationally competent assessor using evidence generated in the workplace during the learner’s normal work activity. Any knowledge evidence integral to these learning outcomes may be generated outside of the work environment but the final assessment decision must be within the real work environment.
- Assessment decisions for competence-based Learning Outcomes must be made by an assessor qualified to make assessment decisions.
- Competence based assessment must include direct observation as a primary source of evidence. Assessment of competence based units and qualifications should ideally be carried out within the workplace, however, where this is not possible, candidates can be assessed within an approved Realistic Working Environment (RWE) that replicates a real work setting. The criteria for RWE can be found under Definition 5.6 below
- Learner evidence of occupational competence for units at any level should be generated and collected through performance under workplace conditions. This includes the knowledge-based learning outcomes and assessment criteria. These conditions would be those typical to the candidate’s normal place of work. The evidence collected under these conditions should also be as naturally occurring as possible. It is accepted that not all learners have identical workplace conditions and therefore there cannot be assessment conditions that are identical for all learners. However, assessors must ensure that, as far as possible, the conditions for assessment should be those under which the learner usually works.
- Simulation may only be utilised as an assessment method for competence-based Learning Outcomes where this is specified in the assessment requirements of the individual unit. The use of simulation should be restricted to obtaining evidence where the evidence cannot be generated through normal work activity. Where this may be the case, the use of simulation in the unit assessment strategy will be agreed with the Awarding Body.
- Expert witnesses can be used for direct observation where they have occupational expertise for specialist areas or the observation is of a particularly sensitive nature. The use of expert witnesses should be determined by the IQA and agreed with the Awarding Body.
- Assessment of knowledge based Learning Outcomes (e.g. those beginning with ‘know’ or ‘understand’) may take place in or outside of a real work environment.
- Assessment decisions for knowledge based Learning Outcomes must be made by an occupationally knowledgeable assessor qualified to make assessment decisions.
- The assessment of selected the Awarding Body qualifications may be subject to additional or modified assessment requirements. These requirements can be found listed under APPENDIX A – D. All definitions remain the same as in section 6 of this document.
- Assessors employed by ORMS will be both currently, occupationally knowledgeable and currently, occupationally competent to assess units and qualifications for which they have the expertise. They will need to be knowledgeable and competent in both the vocational area as well as in assessment. They must not assess learners where they have a potential conflict of interest, for example a family member or close friend. If this cannot be avoided, additional quality assurance checks must be put in place. Further advice on Conflict of Interest is contained in ORMS’ Conflict if Interests Policy E13. ALL staff are required to register their interests using this form (link here)
- ORMS and the Awarding Bodies require that the assessor holds, or be working towards, a current, recognised Assessor qualification. Assessors holding the Post-graduate, Professional Graduate or Certificate of Education (PcET), L3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement, A1/A2 or D32/33 qualifications are not required to re-qualify. Where the Awarding Body does not expect the assessor to hold a formal qualification, we would expect that the assessor meets the same standards of assessment practice as set out in the Learning and Development National Occupational Standard 09 Assess Learner Achievement.
3 Internal Quality Assurance
- Internal quality assurance is key to ensuring that the assessment of evidence for units is of a consistent and appropriate quality. ORMS works to ensure that assessment is being monitored for consistency, reliability, inclusiveness, transparency and validity over time. Those carrying out internal quality assurance must be currently, occupationally knowledgeable, have relevant occupational expertise at the level (or above) in the area they are assuring and be qualified to make quality assurance decisions.
- ORMS and the Awarding Body requires those responsible for internal quality assurance to hold or be working towards a current, recognised Quality Assurance qualification. Those responsible for internal quality assurance holding the L4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice, D34 or V1 qualifications are not required to re-qualify. Where ORMS or the Awarding Body does not require those responsible for internal quality assurance to hold a formal qualification we would expect that those responsible for internal quality assurance meet the standard of practice set out in the Learning and Development National Occupational Standard 11 Internally monitor and maintain the quality of assessment.
- The Internal Quality Assurer is responsible for the integrity of the unit/qualification that ORMS claims for the learner. The IQA will also ensure that there is no conflict of interest in assessment at the centre or where it cannot be avoided, that additional quality assurance is put in place.
4 External Quality Assurance
- External Examiners and External Quality Assurers are appointed by the various Awarding Bodies whose qualifications ORMS delivers. They have to meet rigorous criteria and have responsibility for ensuring the integrity and quality of units and qualifications that are delivered by ORMS. EEs and EQAs work with our staff to ensure that all Awarding Body and regulatory requirements are met. Those carrying out external quality assurance must be currently, occupationally knowledgeable and have gained their expertise working within the sector or associated professional/occupational area they are assuring and be qualified to make quality assurance decisions.
- ORMS and Awarding Bodies require those responsible for external quality assurance to hold or be working toward a current, recognised Quality Assurance qualification. Those responsible for external quality assurance holding the L4 Award in the External Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice, V2 or D35 qualifications are not required to re-qualify. Where the Awarding Body does not require those responsible for external quality assurance to hold a formal qualification we would expect those responsible for external quality assurance to meet the standard of practice set out in the Learning and Development National Occupational Standard 12 Externally monitor and maintain the quality of assessment.
- External Examiners are appointed by either RGU or ORMS and meet the specification and roles described in ORMS Policy E3: External Examiners. Where the Programme Specification (validation) document requires a specific qualification, EEs will be appointed against this criteria.
- Occupationally competent: This means that each assessor must be capable of carrying out the full requirements within the competency unit(s) they are assessing. Occupational competence must be at unit level, which might mean different assessors are needed across a whole qualification. Being occupationally competent means they are also occupationally knowledgeable. This occupational competence should be maintained annually through clearly demonstrable continuing learning and professional development.
- Occupationally knowledgeable: This means that each assessor should possess relevant knowledge and understanding, and be able to assess this in units designed to test specific knowledge and understanding, or in units where knowledge and understanding are components of competency. This occupational knowledge should be maintained annually through clearly demonstrable continuing learning and professional development.
- Qualified to make assessment decisions: This means that each assessor must hold a relevant qualification agreed with ORMS or the Awarding Body as suitable to support the making of appropriate and consistent assessment decisions.
- Qualified to make quality assurance decisions: the Awarding Body will determine what will qualify those undertaking internal quality assurance to make decisions about that quality assurance.
- Expert witness: This is where an expert witness, such as a qualified professional, observes the learner working in their workplace and records their findings when it would not be possible for an assessor to observe the learner’s practice. An expert witness must:
- have a working knowledge of the units on which their expertise is based
- be occupationally competent in their area of expertise
- have EITHER a qualification in assessment of workplace performance OR a professional work role which involves evaluating the everyday practice of staff. ORMS will approve expert witnesses but an ORMS assessor will judge the evidence provided by the expert witness against the assessment criteria. This can be used as competence and knowledge evidence.
- Realistic Working Environment (RWE): It is essential that an RWE operates in an environment, which reflects a real work setting. This will ensure that any competence achieved in this way will be sustained in real employment. To undertake the assessment in a RWE the following guidelines must be met:
- the RWE is managed as a real work situation
- assessment must be carried out under realistic business / emergency provider pressures
- all services that are carried out should be completed in a way, and to a timescale, that is acceptable in business / emergency provider organisations
- candidates must be expected to achieve a volume of work comparable to normal business / emergency provider practices
- the range of services, products, tools, materials and equipment that the candidates use must be up to date and available
- account must be taken of any legislation or regulations in relation to the type of work that is being carried out
- learners must be given workplace responsibilities to enable them to meet the requirements of the units
- Customer perceptions of the RWE are similar to that found in the work situation being represented.