How to benchmark learning in apprenticeships

Find out what benchmarking, why it’s important and what Ofsted thinks.

How to benchmark learning in apprenticeships 

computer with a tick

Benchmarking is the new buzzword in apprenticeships.  

You may have heard providers whispering about benchmarking... you might have had a meeting about benchmarking... you may have even heard Ofsted talking about it. But benchmarking has been part of apprenticeships for years – so why all the commotion?  

Well, benchmarking has changed. Instead of being a tick-box exercise to record prior learning in the initial assessment, Ofsted wants to see benchmarking being used throughout the apprentice’s programme.  

To understand exactly what Ofsted means by this, let’s get back to basics:  

What is benchmarking? 

Benchmarking is a method of measuring performance. You record performance at the beginning of a project so you can see what progress has been made and what opportunities are available for improvement.  

Why is benchmarking important in apprenticeships?  

Providers need to benchmark a learner’s understanding of the KSBs in their initial assessment and use this to see how a learner has progressed and what extra support they need. Recording this progression supports quality assurance and motivates learners. It also provides proof to the employer that their apprentice is learning the skills they need, and their levy has been well spent.  

This is all pretty straightforward, so why is benchmarking the new buzzword? Because of Ofsted. 

How does Ofsted want providers to benchmark learning?  

Ofsted wants to see the apprentice’s learning benchmarked against each KSB at the start of their programme. They then want to see evidence of the progression of learning and how learning impacts outcomes. This means providers need to find a way to record learning progression in relation to learning activities – which hasn’t been the easiest thing to do. Until now.   

How can OneFile help?  

Our apprenticeship software has been designed with Ofsted in mind, so it has built-in features to help you benchmark and record learning the way Ofsted wants you to:  

Benchmark learning  

With OneFile’s evaluation scorecard, apprentices can benchmark their understanding of each KSB before they start their programmeThis means apprentices know exactly what level they’re at before their apprenticeship and can then work with tutors and employers throughout the programme to evaluate their learning as they progress.  

Show how learning impacts outcomes 

With OneFile, apprentices can link their learning reflections to training activities to show what they learned, when. Apprentices can then see all the training activities they’ve submitted against each KSB when they’re evaluating their learning. There's a clear link between training, learning and outcomes – which is exactly what Ofsted wants to see.  

Record evidence of the progression of learning 

Here's the really clever part. Ofsted wants to see evidence of the progression of learning, which is a really tricky thing to evidence – but not with OneFile. With our evaluation scorecard, ratings are automatically recorded against each outcome and plotted on a graph to show the progression of learning. Easy.  


OneFile isn’t just great for benchmarking learning, it has everything you need to deliver apprenticeships the way Ofsted wants you to. That’s why it’s the go-to software for apprenticeships.  

To find out more about OneFile, how it works, and how it meets Ofsted’s guidance, download your free guidance pack 

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.