How are end-point assessments regulated?
End-point assessments (EPAs) are regulated 2 ways – both internally and externally.
The internal quality assurance (IQA) is carried out by the end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) to make sure the assessment is delivered, standardised and marked properly.
The IQA must include:
- The materials and method of assessment
- The level of moderation
- The minimum knowledge and experience expected of the assessor
- How often assessors should meet to standardise assessment across the EPAO
- The process for benchmarking and reviewing standards across different locations
This is all pretty standard stuff – it's the external quality assurance (EQA) that's a little tricky.
Different standards will have different EQAs. The group of employers that write the standards nominate the EQA provider they'd like to regulate their assessment and all EPAOs delivering the assessment must then use the chosen provider. This will help regulate the quality of the EPA across an apprenticeship standard, regardless of which EPAO has delivered it.
There are 4 possible approaches to EQA:
- Professional body-led
- The Institute for Apprenticeships
Higher and degree apprenticeships are different again as they're regulated by the QAA (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education).
Each of the EQA providers do things a little differently. Ofqual have created their own guidelines for employer groups to follow when they're writing the assessment plan. They provide a number of options to suit the standard and don't charge for quality assurance.
The employer group can elect a registered professional body relevant to the industry to quality assure. Or the employer group can create its own approach and work with a regulatory body to check assessments.
If the employer group can't find an appropriate EQA, The Institute of Apprenticeships can be elected as a last resort. This is the least popular option as the Institute controls quality assurance for the Register of Assessment Organisations – which may cause a conflict of interest – and the Institute charges for its EQA service.
As you can see, there's a lot to think about when you're choosing an EQA, so we've created 10 must-ask questions to help you decide.