The moderation process focuses on assessment and quality assurance across the whole organisation and learner base. Course Springs is required to have an assessment process and system that is:
- Free from barriers which would restrict access and progression
- Free from overt or covert discriminatory practices with regard to gender, race or creed (Service Equal Opportunities Policy applies in full)
- Designed to pay due regard to the specific learning needs of individuals
- Based on assessments of outcomes of learning, arrived at independently of any particular mode, duration, location or learning
- Awarded based on valid and reliable assessments made in such a way as to ensure that performance to the national standards can be achieved at work
It is the responsibility of IQAs (Internal Quality Assurance) to ensure that assessors in their team are following the guidance set out in these standards. IQA should identify the areas giving concern or the candidate may use the appeals procedure. The moderation process is designed to support internal quality assurance, investigate any issues regarding assessment or quality assurance that cannot be resolved locally and provide opportunities to sample assessment decisions, and internal quality assurance practice, before claims for certification are made by the centre. The Quality Nominee and Support Officer will manage and administer the moderation process. If issues with an individual assessor or IQAs decisions are found at moderation stage, the IQA will summarise the issues and this will be recorded on the assessors Personal Development Plan. Where a significant shortfall has been found with regard to assessment practice, the relevant IQA will draw up an action plan with the assessor to complete additional/refresher training or development to improve the individual’s understanding of the process or standards to be applied. Until this action plan is completed an assessor will be marked as ‘at risk’ and an increase in IQA monitoring in line with the organisation sampling policy will occur.
Records Of Internal Quality Assurance
IQAs must maintain a record of their activities relating to quality assurance and sampling. This process is facilitated within the electronic portfolio system which contains a sampling table and has reporting mechanisms built into the system.
Sampling Policy And Procedure
The purpose of the internal quality assurance sampling strategy is to ensure there is a planned approach and methodology for checking the validity or accuracy of assessment decisions. Centres are required to have a sampling strategy which is approved by the awarding organisation. IQAs are expected to prepare a sampling plan which is designed in accordance with the agreed sampling strategy. The plan should show the sampling activities over a 12 month period from January to December. Over this 12 month period IQAs should ensure that their plan covers all units for a qualification and that they check the assessment decisions of all assessors in their team within this period.
A key principle of the sampling strategy is that sampling must take place at both interim (formative) and summative stages of the delivery and assessment of the qualification. It is not acceptable to carry out ‘end loaded’ sampling or to focus solely on examination of completed documentation. Neither should sampling be a process of ‘second assessing’. Instead, it must be focused on a ‘risk management’ approach.
The agreed centre sampling strategy states that internal verifiers will carry out 100% quality assurance of evidence, until such time as they are qualified and deemed to be experienced. Assessors are required to make judgements on all the evidence submitted for a unit and complete assessment decisions for all units for which they are responsible.
The higher level of sampling by IQAs is required under the following conditions:
- Where the IQA is not yet qualified
- Where the assessor is not yet qualified
- Where an IQA has not previously verified units assessed by the assessor
However, following consultation with the Quality Nominee it may be agreed that sampling of evidence can be reduced to 30% under the following conditions:
- Where the IQA is qualified and experienced and is verifying a qualified, experienced assessor
It is important to point out that the percentage figures regarding sampling are intended as guides. Where the strategy dictates 100% sampling; this means that the IQA must, as a minimum, check the assessment decisions of every assessed unit. This does not mean that the IQA must check every piece of evidence and every learning outcome and assessment criteria as this would result in second assessing. As well as checking assessment records and documentation the IQA should also be sampling all aspects of the assessment process, such as observing an assessment taking place, sitting in on an assessment planning or review meeting, observing the assessor giving feedback to a candidate or questioning the candidate, It is also good practice to align different processes as this will result in assessment and internal quality assurance practice that is cost effective and timely.
Claims For Certification
Course Springs is responsible for processing certification. Claims for completed units or full course completion will only be made once any assessment, internal quality assurance or moderation processes have been completed and there is confirmation that it is ‘safe’ to honour the claim. Replacement costs of any lost original certificates will be the sole responsibility of the candidate.
Continuous Professional Development
Continuous professional development (CPD) is the process by which all members of the assessment and internal quality assurance team keep up to date with current practice, develop their professional practice and progress into new roles. CPD helps individuals and teams stay interested in their work and motivated to take advantage of development opportunities. staff benefit from a wide range of training courses covering technical skills, management skills and specialist courses related to assessment and internal quality assurance of qualifications.
Assessors and IQAs are responsible for ensuring that they maintain their professional practice in the occupational area they are assessing or quality assuring. They must in addition make sure that they are up to date with their assessment and/or internal quality assurance practice. CPD can cover a range of activities including attendance on training and development courses, contribution to local standardisation meetings and moderation processes, attendance at joint assessor and internal quality assurance meetings, self-study, shadowing another practitioner, preparing and delivering to others training and learning sessions on different aspects of the role, membership of relevant network organisations or forums and access to multimedia events.
It is important that a record is kept of CPD activities and these should be available for inspection by authorised personnel. Assessors, invigilators and IQAs are reminded of their responsibilities for maintaining records and taking personal responsibility for their own training and development. Maintenance of CPD must be in line with requirement of the awarding organisation and Service needs. The performance review process provides an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their training and development with their line manager and to identify and agree future development and support needs. All formal training is evaluated and results from course evaluations recorded and analysed.
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