What is end-point assessment?
The new end-point assessment (EPA) is one of the biggest changes in the new apprenticeship reforms.
Instead of being assessed continually throughout their course, all apprentices now have to complete an end-point assessment to complete their qualification. The EPA is designed to test whether each apprentice has gained the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the standard, and grade each learner according to their performance.
How will the EPA work?
When an apprentice is ready to take the EPA, their employer will put them forward for the assessment. Each EPA is different, so the requirements for each assessment are laid out in the apprenticeship standard.
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.
What will the EPA look like?
The EPA is outlined in the assessment plan for each standard. The assessment plan 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 has big impact for learners. Many apprentices choose vocational training over an academic course as it aligns with their practical strengths. By making the EPA mandatory for every apprenticeship, some learners may struggle to pass their course and could even be discouraged from applying in the first place.
Others will be motivated by the grading system, encouraging them to work hard to achieve a pass, merit or distinction.
Employers have to work closely with their training provider to monitor the progression of their apprentices. If learners aren't prepared for the EPA and fail, employers may be charged extra for retakes. This means the employer will need to negotiate re-sit fees with their end-point assessment provider. With a digital eportfolio, employers can track their learners' progression throughout their course, ensuring they're not scheduled to sit to the EPA before they're ready.
Training providers will have to collaborate with the EPA provider to ensure their delivery matches the assessment plan outlines in the standard.
Want to know more?
Download our guide to find out how the apprenticeship reforms will affect people across the sector.