Internal Quality Assurance and Assessment Policy and Strategy

Introduction and Aims

BCE delivers vocational qualifications supported by a robust system of internal quality assurance that aims to:

  • Ensure accuracy and consistency of assessment decisions and delivery
  • Continually improve assessment practice through development and training of both teams and individual assessors and tutors
  • Meet the different Awarding Organisation’s (AO) requirements

The processes and procedures outlined in this policy apply to all qualifications delivered by BCE whether vocational or with an awarding body and describe in detail how these aims are monitored and achieved.

Roles and Responsibilities (Please also refer to the organisation chart)

The Lead Internal Quality Assurer (IQA)

The Lead IQA is responsible for planning and auditing the quality of course delivery and assessment and monitoring the implementation of the IQA strategy to ensure that the organisation complies with the Awarding Organisation’s requirements. BCE are working with a number of different Awarding Organisations. The Lead IQA is responsible for planning and implementing all IQA activities and quality assures the performance of all internal quality assurance staff.

Internal Quality Assurers (IQA’s)

IQA’s appointed by the Lead IQA and are responsible for planning appropriate IQA activities which include:

  1. Monitoring and observing the delivery and assessment practice of assessors and tutors within their curriculum and occupational area
  2. Assuring the accuracy, consistency and quality of assessors’ decisions against the assessment criteria of the various qualifications BCE deliver
  3. Assuring quality delivery of qualifications in line with the various qualification specifications and requirements that BCE offer
  4. Being part of EQA visits and audits as required and ensuring any EQA recommendations are communicated and carried out
  5. Delivering standardisation training as and when needed
  6. Develop assessors and tutors practice in line with IQA development/action points and feedback

All IQA staff at BCE must be:

  1. Occupationally competent and meet the requirements of the relevant assessment strategy
  2. All Trainer/Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers must attend regular training and complete continual professional development (CPD) activities to keep them informed of changes within the sector. Copies of their certificates should be held in the office.
  3. Hold relevant qualifications in both quality assurance/IV and assessment and where appropriate competence qualifications at the required level
  4. Keep their CPD updated and that they can demonstrate that they meet Ofqual CPD requirements. Make CPD uploaded on iCQ and available for audit as and when necessary.

Quality Assurance Procedures

IQA Sampling Plans and Rationale

All IQA plans are based on a sampling rationale whereby assessors are rated according to the level of risk they represent. BCE uses the “traffic light” rating system as follows:

RED – indicates a high level of risk

Red is for existing assessors with no record of CPD, unqualified assessors, new or existing assessors with frequent actions identified on sampling (newly qualified or those new to BCE); any assessor identified as having made unsafe decisions or with very high caseloads. New and unqualified assessors must be assigned a mentor through their development.

AMBER – indicates a medium level of risk Newly qualified tutors/assessors with few actions identified on sampling; qualified and/or experienced tutors/assessors new to BCE.

GREEN - indicates a low level of risk. Green is for experienced assessors who consistently demonstrate up to date practice in line with National Occupational Standards, have rare action points on samplings.

Trainer/Assessor responsibilities

All learners should complete an individual learning plan and assessment methods should be focused on the learner. Trainer/Assessors must adopt a wide range of assessment methods in line with the learners individual learning style and specific job role. The evidence collected should be;

  • Valid
  • Current
  • Authentic
  • Meets the standards of the relevant qualification

Prior learning should be recognised and taken into consideration when planning and assessing a learner. Evidence of learning should be photographed and uploaded to iLearner and assessed to the relevant criteria.

Monitoring of tutor and assessor practice

IQA’s monitoring of all areas of delivery increases according to the level of risk that attaches to the tutor/assessor. It is BCE’s aspiration that all tutors and assessors move through the system to attain green status and will all possible to develop the members of staff accordingly.

RED – A visit every 6 weeks to include observations of delivery / assessment as appropriate and on-going sampling of all decisions across all units, learning outcomes and assessment criteria until the assessor regularly demonstrates accuracy and/or consistency of judgement and practice. To move from RED to AMBER the RED tutor/assessor must achieve 2 observations and 2 samples with no more than 1 action identified on each. At least 70% of all decisions must be sampled.

AMBER – A visit every 3 months to include at least one observation of practice and sampling of decisions across a sample of units and/or assessment criteria. The basis of this will be decided by the IQA in their rationale based on previous practice and outcomes of monitoring. To move from AMBER to GREEN the AMBER tutor/assessor must achieve 1 observation and 1 sample with no more than 1 future action on each. At least 50% of all decisions must be sampled.

GREEN – A visit every 6 months – sampling based on CPD objectives in the assessor’s individual training record and/or the teams standardisation or observation of practice if requested by the assessor. To remain green, the tutor/assessor must not incur more than 1 action on any visit. More than 1 action will move the green assessor to AMBER. At least 30% of all decisions must be sampled.

Where tutors/assessors are not qualified (apprenticeships/diplomas) all decisions must be countersigned by a qualified mentor/countersigning assessor.

Areas to be sampled

Learners: across cohorts and programmes and where learning difficulties exist.

Assessment Methods: to cover questioning, observations, work sheets, product evidence, RPL, professional discussion, guided discussion, assignments, case studies and projects.

Units/assessment criteria: new qualifications and or units, levels, grades, comparison of assessment criteria.

The Learning Process: delivery, recruitment, IAG, RPL, induction and training/learning.

Records: records of assessment decisions, assessor reports, marking, assignment and knowledge question marking, feedback to learners.

All portfolios at levels 2 and above must be sampled by the IQA a minimum of 3 times. These samples should take place;

  • 6-8 weeks from programme start
  • half way through
  • on completion of the qualification

Team Meeting and Standardisation

There will be a minimum of 6 standardisation meetings for each area of delivery per year. The assessors for those programmes must attend these meetings and the aim of these meetings are:

  • Ensure accuracy and consistency of assessment decisions
  • Ensure consistent quality of delivery
  • Improve and develop the practice of assessors

The agenda for these meetings will be based on areas of practice identified through sampling, observation of delivery and assessment, feedback from EQA visits/sampling or as a result of changes to qualifications standards or the sector itself.

Staff must attend a minimum of 4 standardisation meetings every year. All staff will receive a copy of the minutes via e-mail within 1 week of the meeting.

CPD of Assessors

The Lead IQA is responsible for identifying individual assessor development needs and to provide opportunities and resources to support them in achieving and implementing these to improve assessment/delivery practice overall. CPD must be recorded via iLearner. This must be regularly updated by the assessor as a result of CPD activity and discussed at staff one to one meetings. 

CPD activities for assessors and tutors include:

  • Peer observations
  • IQA observations
  • Reading of books linked to national occupational standards
  • Training courses – internal and external
  • Update Training
  • Standardisation training
  • Self-assessment and evaluation against the NOS for tutors/assessors 

One to one meetings for tutors/assessors

Each member of the delivery/assessment team must receive at least a half hour one to one meeting every month, this will enable BCE to implement support where necessary at the earliest opportunity. The outcomes of this must be recorded on the BCE 121 form. These will be scheduled in advance and the form needs to be completed electronically and stored in the 121 file.

Caseloads will be based on one learner for each hour worked per week, i.e. a Trainer who works a 20 hour week would be expected to manage a caseload of 20 learners.

Apprenticeships

Currently apprenticeships delivered by BCE are subject to compulsory 8 weeks’ reviews as per lead contractor requirements.