What is end-point assessment?
The introduction of the end-point assessment (EPA) marked one of the biggest changes within recent apprenticeship reform.
Instead of being assessed continually throughout their course, all apprentices need to complete an end-point assessment to achieve their qualifications. The EPA is designed to test whether each apprentice has gained the skills, knowledge and behaviours (KSBs) outlined in the standard, and assign a grade to each learner, according to their performance.
How will the EPA work?
Each EPA is different and details of each are set out in the apprenticeship standard for the corresponding subject.
All EPAs must follow these rules:
- They must be delivered by an independent end-point assessment organisation with no affiliation to the employer or training provider involved in the apprenticeship.
- All end-point assessment providers must be approved by the ESFA before being added to the Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations (RoAAO).
- When an employer takes on an apprentice, they can select the end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) from the register and then confirm their selection with their training provider.
- Most EPAs will be graded
- The apprentice cannot achieve their apprenticeship without passing the end-point assessment.
When an apprentice is nearly ready to take the EPA, they must agree alongside the employer and EFA assessment provider on when is the right time for assessment. Their employer will then put them forward for the assessment.
What will the EPA look like?
EPAs, outlined in the assessment plan for each standard, must explain what's being assessed, how the apprentice will be assessed, and who will carry out the EPA – as well as indicate the quality assurance measures in place.
The EPA can take a range of forms:
- Professional discussions
- Workplace observations
- Portfolio of work
- Assessment of work output
How much will it cost?
The cost of each EPA will vary according to the requirements set out in the standards – such as assessment tools, methods, and estimated completion times. However, the EPA is expected to cost between 10-20% of the overall cost of the apprenticeship delivery.
For non-levy payers, the employer will pay one third of the EPA costs and the ESFA will pay two thirds. For levy-paying employers, the EPA will be paid for by their levy contributions.
Who will the EPA affect?
The EPA is mandatory, and has a big impact for learners – in terms of both pros and cons
Some apprentices have chosen more vocational training over ‘academic’ courses to align with their practical skills sets. They may be discouraged from applying for apprenticeships in the first place or struggle with the amount of admin involved.
On the other hand, some apprentices will feel motivated by the EPA’s grading system - working hard to achieve not only a pass, but also merits and distinctions.
Employers should work closely with their training provider to monitor their apprentices’ progress. Otherwise, they run the risk of paying for retakes if learners fail the EPA – which includes negotiating re-sit fees with the end-point assessment provider.
With a digital eportfolio, employers can track their learners' progression throughout their course, ensuring apprentices aren’t scheduled to sit the EPA before they're ready.
Training providers will have to collaborate with the EPA provider to ensure their delivery matches the assessment plan outlined in the standard.
Want to know more?
Download our guide to find out how the apprenticeship reforms will affect people across the sector.
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.