General requirements for regulated qualifications
Fitness for Purpose (Condition D1)
1. Awarding of a qualification should reflect the individuals capability within a particular field. In2Assessments policy is to provide qualifications that fairly reflect a learners competence in an area of study/or employment. Such qualifications will have the following considerations regarding policies and procedures designed to reduce the risk in relation to fitness for purpose. (Condition D1.2)
Validity - Validity is about the extent to which a qualification reflects a learner's competence in the defined field. This requires the assessment criteria and methods to match activities that would be typically representative of performance. This includes where and in what context the assessment takes place. Where possible the practical assessment should take place within the work environment. Assessment methods should directly relate to the assessment criteria with the least amount of steps in the process as possible. The context of the assessment should be typical of the context of a normal working environment in the field that is subject to assessment.
Reliability - In2Assessments has detailed procedures for ensuring that the qualifications it provides clearly reflect the competence of the candidate at clearly defined levels of attainment and across the specified volume of work. These procedures are describe in the sections related to design of assessment, grading and delivery.
Comparability - In2Assessments will follow the criteria and assessment plans provided by the qualification body. In2Assessments Monitoring Assessor Practice and Decisions procedures including feedback to assessors and comparisons across moderators ensure that there is comparability internally. Through the use of freelance IV's this also enables us to ensure that we have a way of comparability externally.
Manageability - In2Assessments will utilise the best software programme to support assessors and learners through the EPA process. The system will provide secure access and will be available 24/7. Data will be stored on this system and reports and candidate tracking will be easy to access.
In2Assessments will rely initially on contracted freelance Independent End-Point Assessors and Internal Verifiers to provide its EPA service. These staff will be based remotely and across the country providing a geographical choice along with a skills and qualification choice when allocating assessors to candidates. Due to this nature of employment, this will allow In2Assessments to staff accordingly to demand.
Minimising Bias - In2Assessments have a range of strategies in place to minimise bias. There is a comprehensive Equality, Diversity and Fair Access Policy, qualifications are independent of purchasing particular technology products and the software used aids management and administration. There is a policy for reasonable adjustments in place.
Conflicts between aspects of fitness for purpose (Condition D1.3)
The main constraint on fitness for purpose is the cost-benefit equation. Establishing systems for ensuring validity, reliability, comparability and bias come at a cost which is broadly manageability. In2Assessments look to manage costs through its IT systems and reduce the risk to quality in the outcomes. The ethos is one of invest in the people and the systems and reduce the risk to quality in the outcomes. The internet and clear communication channels are key to the success of this strategy. For this reason 100% of new assessors will have their work checked (Sampling Plan). They will be provided feedback on their assessments and as they become more consistent monitoring will be reduced.
Accessibility of qualifications (Condition D2)
In2action-EPA has a comprehensive Equality, Diversity and Fair Access Policy covering the accessibility of its qualifications and this is monitored throughout the year by the EPA Manager. A report is provided on an annual basis to the Governing Committee. If during this review and monitoring any incident or aspect of the assessment process that is judged to be disadvantageous or at risk of being disadvantageous to any learners, the assessment process and qualification will be reviewed and modified as a result to achieve fairness.
In2Assessments will gather feedback and data from learners and different stakeholders regarding for its provision of a fair assessment process, especially repeated and similar reasonable adjustment requests.
Reviewing Approach (Condition D3)
Review of Approach - In2Assessments staff will meet regularly to discuss qualifications and their operation on a day to day basis. The plan is for a formal review on an annual basis and would take into consideration the customer care policy and the policies and procedures for qualification provision. The evidence for these reviews will be based on feedback and comments from stakeholders through formal and informal meetings. All Centres/employers will have an annual centre visit where views and information can be gathered using an online system. There is also a permanent customer feedback form on the website. If at any time there is objective evidence that an approach requires changing, this will be implemented taking into account any risk associated with the change that could in itself have an Adverse Effect. If there is any evidence in the current approach that any part of the approach has an Adverse Effect or has significant risk of resulting in an Adverse Effect, the approach will be modified again taking account of such risk associated with the change. The overriding principle is that learners should not be disadvantaged.
Responding to Enquiries and Complaints (Condition D4)
In2Assessments has a clear procedure for responding to enquires and there is a complaints form available via the website. All complaints will be treated seriously and will acknowledged within 24 hours of receipt. The action taken will depend on the subject matter of the complaint.
If the complaint is related to the award of a qualification it will be dealt with in accordance with the appeals procedure. If the complaint refers to a member of In2Assessments staff, it will be investigated internally using the company disciplinary procedures. The outcomes of the investigations of the complaints will be fed back to the complainant, subject to any over-riding need for confidentiality. In all cases In2action-EPA staff will deal with complaints in a calm and even handed manner.
Compliance of Qualifications with Regulatory Documents (Condition D5)
The design of In2Assessments qualifications including design of assessment, grading and delivery are based on the associated regulatory document and checked to ensure full compliance. These take into account elements of good practice that are proposed as well as specific requirements. An example of this is the adoption of a risk based approach to qualifications in keeping with the regulators risk based approach to regulation.
Management of the withdrawal of qualifications (Condition D6)
The In2Assessments Withdrawal Policy outlines how In2Assessments would in a point in time withdraw a qualification when it first:
a) ceases to register learners for a qualification
b) ceases to deliver or award that qualification to learners
c) surrenders its recognition in respect of that qualification, or
d) has its recognition withdrawn by Ofqual in respect to that qualification
The primary principle is to protect the interests of learners when any qualification is withdrawn for whatever the reason. In2action-EPA will provide adequate notice before withdrawing a qualification and it will inform the Regulators prior to informing end users.
No learner who has embarked on that qualification will be unable to complete it given reasonable timescales typical of those need by the majority of candidates. The only over-riding factor to this policy is if instructed by the regulators to withdraw the qualification to a different timescale.
The withdrawal procedure is to give adequate notice with a deadline for the receipt of final assessment evidence. After this deadline the technology for receiving assessment grades under-pinning the certification process will be unavailable. All certificates awarded before that deadline will be available for authentication against the In2Assessments database of qualifications. Learner interests will be protected by allowing sufficient time from the announcement of the withdrawal to enable completion of any units of work that have been started. This policy will be modified in the light of any notice served by the Regulators to do so.
Making available information to help meet Teachers' needs (Condition D7)
It is In2Assessments policy to provide guidance in relation to interpreting and providing evidence against the assessment criteria with the amount of guidance being determined with the risk associated with the assessment. Where an examination is used, a sample exam will be provided and teachers encouraged to use it diagnostically and to provide feedback to In2Assessments on any improvements that they think can be made from their own field testing.
Compliance with saving and transitional provisions following cessation of accreditation (Condition D8)
In2Assessments will follow the guidance in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 set out by Ofqual. The qualifications that In2Assessments will offer will be approved by Ofqual and outlined in Section 139 (a) & (b), until such date as when the qualification is ceased by Ofqual subject to Section140 (6) & (10).
(1) Where a qualification is subject to the accreditation requirement Ofqual must accredit a particular form of the qualification if—
(a) that form of the qualification has been submitted for accreditation by a recognised body which is recognised in respect of the qualification, and
(b) that form of the qualification meets the applicable criteria for accreditation most recently published under section 140.
(2) Ofqual may not accredit a form of a qualification if the requirements set out in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) are not met in respect of that form of the qualification.
(3) An accreditation under this section has effect from such date as Ofqual may specify.
(4) Ofqual may not charge a recognised body in respect of accreditation under this section.
(5) If Ofqual refuses an application for accreditation it must provide the recognised body with a statement setting out the reasons for its decision.
140 Criteria for accreditation
(1) Ofqual must set and publish the criteria for accreditation under section 139.
(2) Different criteria may be set for the accreditation of different qualifications or different descriptions of qualifications.
(3) Ofqual may revise the criteria.
(4) If Ofqual revises the criteria it must publish them as revised.
(5) Before setting or revising the criteria Ofqual must consult such persons as it considers appropriate.
(6) If Ofqual revises the criteria under this section which are applicable to a form of a qualification which is accredited under section 139, the accreditation ceases to have effect on the date specified by Ofqual.
(7) Ofqual may vary the date specified under subsection (6) at any time before the date.
(8) Ofqual may determine that subsection (6) does not apply in relation to a specified revision.
(9) Ofqual must publish a determination made under subsection (8).
(10) Ofqual may make saving or transitional provision in connection with the accreditation of a form of a qualification ceasing to have effect under subsection (6).