In an apprenticeship standard, the occupational standard determines the content of the training and an apprentice’s progress towards occupational competence needs tracking through continuous assessment. The application of continuous assessment without and with qualifications is explained and illustrated below.

Continuous assessment without a qualification

Where a qualification is not mandated or used in an apprenticeship standard, there is a need for continuous assessment and recording of achievement against the occupational standard, in order to:

  • track the apprentice’s progress
  • provide feedback
  • determine if the apprentice is ready for end-point assessment (EPA)

Illustrated in the first diagram below.

This type of continuous assessment is termed ‘formative continuous assessment.’

Formative continuous assessment is the responsibility of employers and training providers delivering an apprenticeship standard. It is usually less formal, less frequent, and carries a lower burden of quality assurance than summative assessment (see below), and involves the employer’s supervisory staff.

Continuous assessment with a competence qualification

Continuous assessment within an occupational competence qualification will determine achievement of the qualification and can track the apprentice’s progress against the occupational standard.

Illustrated in the second diagram below.

This type of continuous assessment is usually termed ‘summative continuous assessment.’

Employers and training providers will need to ensure that the occupational standard maps in full to the qualification, before choosing not to use formative continuous assessment to check progress against the occupational standard.

Continuous assessment with an off-the-job technical qualification

An occupational standard will only map in part to an off-the-job technical qualification. Therefore, there will be a need for formative continuous assessment to track progress against the occupational standard.

Illustrated in the third diagram below.

Employers, including small employers, can carry out much of the formative continuous assessment and recording of achievement in an apprenticeship standard with some support. In contrast, summative continuous assessment for a qualification is usually carried out by training providers, operating under an awarding body quality assurance regime, and is often very resource intensive and relatively expensive.

Qualifications diagram