End-point assessment explained
One of the biggest changes in the new Apprenticeship reforms is the inclusion of End-point assessment. All Apprentices on a new Apprenticeship standard now have to complete and End-point assessment (EPA) to complete their qualification, as opposed to the Apprenticeship (SASE) frameworks where assessment took place throughout.
EPA is taken by apprentices at the very end of the on-programme phase of training when the employer (and in some cases their training provider) is satisfied that they have met the “gateway” criteria to undertake the assessment. End-point-assessments are graded and an Apprenticeship certificate is only awarded after the end-point assessment is successfully completed.
Government plans for the Apprenticeship reform involve the gradual phase out of Frameworks and introduction of Standards, with the aim of a complete phase out of frameworks by 2020.
The new Apprenticeship Standards include assessment and grading of behaviours, skills and knowledge through End-point assessment (EPA) in addition to on-programme assessment of progress throughout the learners' journey, unlike the SASE Frameworks. The EPA requires that an independent End-point assessment organisation carry out the assessment.
We thought that it would be interesting for employers of Apprentices to understand a bit more about EPA and what the employer’s role is in this.
End-point assessment (EPA) is the name given to a series of assessments an Apprentice must take to prove their ability to do the job they have been training for. These assessments take place at the end of an Apprenticeship Standard, following a period of training and development often referred to as the ‘on-programme’ learning. In some Standard based Apprenticeships, the on-programme stage may include mandatory requirements, such as supporting qualifications. These must be achieved prior to applying for the EPA. At this point, the employer, after discussion with their Apprentice and training provider, ‘signs off’ their Apprentice as ready for EPA. This decision
process is known as the ‘gateway’ to End-point assessment.
What’s the role of the employer in the End-point assessment process?
Ultimately the employer makes the decision as to when their Apprentice is ready to take their End-point assessment, based on them being competent and performing in their role. This decision is supported by input from us, as the training provider for the Apprenticeship.
The Gateway explained
The term ‘gateway’ describes the meeting between Apprentice, employer and training provider to establish if the learner is ready to take their End-point assessment. To prepare for this “gateway meeting” the training provider is required to confirm that the mandatory components for achievement of the Apprenticeship are complete. For example, the Apprentice meets the minimum requirements for Maths and English (has GCSEs or equivalent or achieved Functional Skills).
The training provider, Apprentice and the employer discuss the End-point assessment next steps/process and each confirms that they are confident of success at the End-point assessment and make the decision to proceed. It is important to note that the readiness of the Apprentice to proceed to End-point assessment is entirely the employer’s decision.
Who conducts the End-point assessment?
Only an approved End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) can conduct an End-point assessment, our preferred EPAOs are City & Guilds and ILM. Employers can choose other approved sector EPAOs to conduct their Apprentice’s End-point assessment; as the training provider, we would make all the necessary arrangements with the EPAO.
What is End-point assessment grading?
Each Apprenticeship Standard has its own assessment methods. These assessment methods have individual weightings and count towards the overall grading for the Apprenticeship Standard. All Apprenticeship Standards offer grading as Fail, Pass, Merit or Distinction based on the outcomes of the End-point assessment.
End-point assessment activities
End-point Assessment can take a range of forms and varies according to the Apprenticeship. Here are some examples:
Adult Care Worker – situational judgement test, and professional discussion.
Customer Service Practitioner – Practical observation, Apprentice showcase, professional discussion.
Operations/Departmental Manager – Knowledge test, Competency based interview, Review of portfolio of evidence, Professional discussion, Review of work-based project, presentation and Q & A session.
Other forms of EPA include: Assignments, assessment of work output, tests, business projects, and portfolio-based interview.