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Flying colours for Advance HE’s End-Point Assessment Service

27 Nov 2020 | Advance HE Advance HE’s End-Point Assessment Service rated ‘Good with Outstanding elements’ by QAA.

“Advance HE has clearly created a culture of learning that ensures improvements can be made to enhance the learning experience from EPA and continue to improve assessment practice through reviews and quality assurance processes,” This is one of the many positive feedback points from the QAA report which rates Advance HE’s End-Point Assessment Service ‘Good with Outstanding elements’.

Advance HE is an End-point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) for the Level 7 Academic Professional degree apprenticeship. This apprenticeship is intended to develop full competency in early career higher education academics, on one of two routes – either teaching or research; the latter is offered in partnership with Vitae.

Advance HE is the only EPAO for this apprenticeship to have formally passed the readiness checks, as part of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE)’s quality framework. Consequently, Advance HE has been tasked with independently assessing the competency of apprentices who undertake the Academic Professional apprenticeship across a number of universities and colleges in England.

Dr Nicola Watchman Smith, Head of Academic Apprenticeships & Excellence Awards, said, “A key part of the formal external quality assurance process is a quality inspection carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) on behalf of IfATE. I am absolutely delighted that our EPA service has been awarded a rating of ‘Good with Outstanding elements’ by the QAA. This is particularly notable given the service has only been active since November 2019.

“I would like to thank our partners, Vitae, for their research-route expertise and our pool of independent assessors, all of whom are Advance HE Senior or Principal Fellows and specialists in early career academic development, who have helped to shape this unique service.”

Find out more about our End-Point Assessment Service.

Extracts from the QAA Report:

  • Assessment materials have been tested and extensively reviewed prior to any EPA being conducted so that they validly assess occupational competence of apprentices.
  • Employers, providers and apprentices all spoke positively of their assessors with feedback that had been received as a particular strength. They commented that the feedback from assessor is “justified, fair and detailed” and one employer stated that “the feedback from assessors is exceptional in quality”.
  • Advance HE has a robust system for recruitment and selection, which has ensured they have a high calibre of assessor and IQA to conduct and moderate EPA. 
  • Staff, employers, providers and apprentices are well informed of policies and feel assured they are using the most up to date documentation through the use of the Advance HE Connect portal.
  • Apprentices commented that guidance was very clear and easy to follow. The booking and planning of their assessments was systematic but gave them the flexibility to work around other work commitments, which they really appreciated. Employer providers felt well informed.
  • Technology is used well with employers, providers and apprentices interacting online with ease.
  • Students, employers and staff all spoke positively about Advance HE Connect portal system as a way of ensuring they get up to date information and have access to key policies, procedures and information, including those around access to fair assessment, reasonable adjustments, appeals and complaints.
  • Employers, providers and apprentices have had regular updates on COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
  • Support materials are comprehensive and helpful with apprentices, employers and providers all being well informed and knowing how to access them. All processes to support assessment delivery are effective.
  • One apprentice commented that their assessor had an empathetic approach that made them feel comfortable. They found the experience memorable, enjoyable and both they and their assessor found the EPA process a good learning opportunity.
  • Advance HE have robust systems in place to obtain and act on feedback from employers, apprentices and training providers. One of the providers commented that Advance HE has been “responsive and made changes as required”.
  • Employer providers spoke positively about the “Coffee morning” sessions where they are able to get updates and discuss issues with Advance HE and other providers. They also appreciate the regular monthly calls to them as employers and found the team very accessible. One employer commented that “Advance HE wants to learn as well and make good changes”.
  • Recruitment and selection of assessors is outstanding with a high level of up to date knowledge, expertise and occupational competence within the team.
  • The feedback from assessors is clearly a strength that apprentices and employers’ value.
  • Apprentices, assessors, employers and providers are well engaged as stakeholders and actively take part in reviews to improve the student experience and the quality of assessment. Technology is harnessed well and supports communication and information available to apprentices, employers and providers so that they are well informed of the EPA process.

"Advance HE has clearly created a culture of learning that ensures improvements can be made to enhance the learning experience from EPA and continue to improve assessment practice through reviews and quality assurance processes."

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