• The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) has today published a new framework for the external quality assurance (EQA) of end point assessment.
  • It set out guidelines for EQA organisations to assure apprentices and employers that end point assessments (EPAs) for apprentices are delivered to a consistently high standard.

The Institute has today published a new framework that sets out how apprenticeship EPAs must be externally quality assured.

It sets out what good practice in EPA looks like, and what EQA providers should look out for to be confident this has happened. The resulting improved clarity to EPA and EQA providers will ensure consistency with how assessments are delivered across the country.

Nikki Christie, the Institute’s Deputy Director for Apprenticeship Assessment and Quality, said:

“This new framework will ensure that rigorous standards are maintained with EQA for years to come.
“EPA is one of the key aspects of today’s apprenticeships – as it provides a robust and independent test that an apprentice who completes their apprenticeship can do their job to the high standards required. It is therefore vitally important that quality assurance around EPA is consistent and highly effective.
“Employers and apprentices will be given confidence that this is the case through the framework.”

Every apprentice must pass an EPA before completing their apprenticeship, known as an apprenticeship standard, to prove they have learned the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to thrive in a role.

The Institute has worked with EQA providers and stakeholders to produce this new framework and ensure that all assessments, from an actuary to a laboratory technician, will be carried out and quality assured to the same high standard.

It also outlines the importance of occupational expertise at the assessment stage, ensuring that assessment can be carried out across a diverse range of sectors and meet the needs of employers in the process.

Tom Bewick, Chief Executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies, said:

“We really welcome the development of this quality assurance framework. It provides much greater clarity and sets out consistently what EPA and EQA providers can expect in future. 
“We fully support the Institute’s goal of ensuring England’s apprenticeship system is shown to be as amongst the best in the world. That’s why implementing quality driven apprenticeship strategies, including setting out the common means by which high-quality performance is secured, is so important.”

EQA is fundamental to the credibility of apprenticeships; it is crucial that employers are confident that anyone who has completed an apprenticeship can do the job for which they have been trained.

Equally, it is essential that apprentices are confident that they have been assessed to the same standard whichever EPA organisation conducts their assessment.

Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said:

“It’s great to move to one framework because it should satisfy the need for consistency and coherence, thereby lowering the cost of EQA and leading to less confusion.
“A real positive is to see the core principles of assessment reflected - valid, reliable and manageable. AELP looks forward to working with the organisations involved on implementing a smooth transition.”

 

For background:

  • Employer groups who develop each apprenticeship select an appropriate EQA provider, to monitor the work of EPAOs, based on their expertise and standing amongst employers of that specific occupation.
  • EQA providers are approved and regulated by the Institute to check they are delivering to a consistently high standard.
  • The EQA framework sets out five principles - Relevant; Reliable; Efficient; Positive; Learning - that underpins its EQA functions, enabling it to achieve the right outcomes and play its part in transforming the skills landscape. 
  • The Institute is always looking for ways to improve and be more effective and efficient and welcomes feedback.