1.1 This policy replaces the Learn Trade Skills’ Assessment, Internal Verification & Appeals Procedures.
- The policy applies to all the Learn Trade Skills courses leading to qualifications which contain elements of internally assessed work. It should be read in conjunction with the code of practice and guidance provided by the awarding, examining, or HE institution which validates the qualification.
- All queries about this policy should be addressed to the Learn Trade Skills Manager.
4.1 The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework of generic procedures which reflect the
requirements of all awarding bodies; it emphasises quality assurance procedures relating to
assessment and internal verification and includes the Learn Trade Skills student appeals procedure. Further guidance to assist with its implementation can be found in the IV Handbook which is incorporated in the Learn Trade Skills’ Quality Manual.
- COURSE HANDBOOK AND ASSESSMENT PLAN
- A course handbook, which must be available for all programmes / qualifications, is to include detailed information concerning the assessment methodology (e.g. external exams, internal assessed coursework etc.), and, where relevant, a clear definition about what constitutes plagiarism and the penalties which will be imposed should plagiarism be suspected or proven, a schedule of assessments with dates, the assessment appeals procedure and reference to other appropriate policies.
- An assessment plan must be available at the start of a course and made accessible to all staff in the team, as well as the learners in the Course Handbook and/ or on the VLE (Moodle).
- Assessment Plans should ensure that there are clear dates for submission and deadlines for completion. Every effort must be made to evenly distribute assessment for the whole programme over the duration of the course and that as many units or modules as possible are completed in-year as opposed to the end of the year.
- Assessors will be responsible and accountable for:
- Managing the assessment process for their specific units/ modules and identifying appropriate modes of assessment.
- Setting deadlines for the submission of work by students. These deadlines must be strictly adhered to and final, and incorporate opportunities for students to attain high grades, if applicable. If the awarding body permits, students who fail to meet the required standard, can be requested to resubmit their work. A clear deadline, however, which is within a short period from the date of return of the original work, must be set and strictly adhered to. (See Paras. 6.9 – 6.13). All versions submitted by the student leading to the final submission must be retained and provided to the IV, Lead IV and external verifier on request.
- Contributing towards the programme assessment and internal verification plan which must be compiled by the Learn Trade Skills
- Assessing evidence of student competence against published awarding body assessment or performance criteria or learning outcomes.
- Ensuring that evidence is valid, authentic and sufficient.
- h) Maintaining accurate and verifiable assessment and achievement records including observation records which provide detailed individual evidence supporting relevant assessment criteria, if appropriate.
- i) Clearly recording and maintaining accurate and up to date information on individual student progress based on both formative and summative assessment attainment, as well the extent to which deadlines are met. This is in order to identify, and ensure appropriate support is provided for, students designated “at risk”.
- Rigorously and accurately internally verifying assignment briefs and assessment decisions of other members of the teaching team.
- Staff who are assessing student work or competence must be competent to awarding body requirements in the particular vocational, skill or academic area being assessed. They must also have the necessary qualifications, or currently be working towards them, as specified by the awarding body or sector skills council for the course concerned.
6.3 The assessor must provide the learner/ candidate with clear, constructive and developmental feedback on assessed work, indicating the mark(s) or grade(s) awarded and the basis for the decision against each performance criterion or learning outcome being assessed. (See Appendix 1 for further guidelines on giving effective feedback).
- Must always be accurately spelt and grammatically correct.
- Must clearly indicate where and how learners have performed well and provide guidance on how they can attain a higher standard.
- Should be clear and legible (and preferably typed) as should assignments and comments on assignments and front and feedback sheets.
- Should correct mistakes in written English.
- Assessors must be vigilant with respect to plagiarism. (See IV Handbook). Where plagiarism is suspected, if appropriate, the assignment must be checked using the relevant software. Should plagiarism be confirmed, the work must be returned to the learner who must be asked to resubmit within a stipulated deadline. A maximum of a pass grade can only be assigned to the resubmitted work.
- All work which has been marked must be returned to the students with feedback within the timeframe set by Learn Trade Skills standards. These are:
- Within a maximum of 10 working days from the date of submission for formative assessment such as homework or draft assignments.
- Within a maximum of 15 working days for summative assessment. This period must include any internal verification or moderation.
- All assessment decisions on graded or final tasks or assignments must be internally verified prior to informing students of the outcomes.
- It is required that written work should be of an appropriate standard with respect to spelling and grammatical accuracy in accordance with the level of the course. All assessors must stress this in their feedback and correct inaccuracies on student work. However, poor spelling and grammar cannot impact on the grade awarded (if relevant) unless stipulated in the performance or assessment criteria.
- Students must be informed of the implications of submitting work beyond the deadline and supported in any way possible to complete the work on time e.g. attendance at assignment workshops.
- If a student hands in work after the stipulated deadline, in the absence of specific guidelines provided by the awarding body, and unless there are approved extenuating circumstances (See Para. 6.12):
- The work is stamped with the date of submission by a member of the faculty office (or other authorised staff) with an indication that it is late.
- The student is given a stage 1 warning letter indicating that repeated lateness of work will impact on their ability to proceed to either the next stage of their course or the next level (as appropriate). (See Assessment and IV Handbook for template).
- In the event that the student hands in work late again, a stage 2 warning letter is issued indicating that further lateness of work will result in an interview with the Head of School. (See Assessment and IV Handbook for template).
- A third offense will result in an interview with the Head of School and a stage 3 letter indicating that further lateness of work will result in it not being marked. (See Assessment and IV Handbook for template).
- A record of all letters issued must be maintained and the appropriate Head of School informed once a third offense has occurred.
- If there are extenuating or mitigating circumstances, for example sickness, bereavement, such circumstances must be raised by the learner using the standard proforma (See Assessment and IV Handbook). The learner must provide necessary evidence to substantiate the request which requires to be approved by Learn Trade Skills
- When a current or former student submits course work after the formal end of the course, semester or unit, the work may be accepted providing that:
- It is allowed within awarding board rules and guidelines.
- An appropriate assessor is available.
- There are clear mitigating and evidenced circumstances which have been approved by the Curriculum Manager or Head of School.
- The student’s registration with the awarding body remains valid.
A fee will be charged to the student in recognition of the additional work involved.
7 INTERNAL QUALITY ASSURANCE (IQA) (IV)
7.1 Internal verification is the method for assuring the quality and standard of assessment. Internal moderation is part of the internal verification process and aims to standardise all assessors’ decisions in accordance with the standards or specification of the awarding body.
7.2 All members of the course team may be called upon to internally verify assignment briefs and assessment decisions produced by other members of the team.
7.3 Internal Verifiers will be responsible for:
- Producing and issuing an internal verification plan prior to the start of the course with a tracker to monitor and ensure that verification proceeds as planned.
- Verifying written assignment briefs before issue to learners. An audit trail of all versions of briefs leading to the final version needs to be evidenced and made available to the Lead IV and external verifier.
- Regularly sampling evidence of assessment decisions.
- Verifying assessment decisions before informing the learners of the assessment outcomes but making the learners aware that the decisions are subject to external verification.
- Ensuring that any actions required by the assessor following internal verification are carried out and signed off prior to informing learners of the assessment outcome. An audit trail of previous assessment decisions leading to the final, accepted one must be maintained.
- Maintaining up to date records of all aspects of internal verification and sampling.
- Establishing procedures to ensure consistency of interpretation and implementation by the assessor of the criteria and/ or occupational standards.
- Checking portfolios if relevant.
- Monitoring and supporting assessors.
- Ensuring that cross-marking i.e. standardisation occurs.
- Ensuring that all issues are identified, addressed and documented together with the actions taken.
- Facilitating appropriate staff development and training.
- Providing feedback to the external verifier.
- Ensuring timely corrective action takes place in response to awarding body external verifier, examiner or moderator requirements.
- A sample size of 10% is recommended but this may vary in line with the level of experience of the assessor and familiarity with the course. It is important that, over the course of the programme:
- a) all assessors b) all units c) all students
are included in the internal verification sample unless stipulated otherwise by the awarding body. Should there be any concerns over the rigour and validity of assessment decisions, a further sample of work should be internally verified.
- Staff who are carrying out internal verification must be appropriately qualified as required by the relevant awarding body, sector skills council or other institution. They must also have the occupational expertise and experience specified by the employer lead body, Sector Skills
Council or equivalent organisation if appropriate.
7.6 The decisions of inexperienced internal verifiers must be checked and, authenticated by a qualified and occupationally expert internal verifier in line with awarding body requirements.
7.7 All internal verification and moderation procedures will be planned in advance. All activities including the Internal Verification Plan and feedback to assessors and assessors’ actions in response to internal verification, will be clearly documented and be made available to the external verifier, examiner or moderator on request.
- Standardisation of assessment procedures will be applied to ensure that all assessors are working to the same standard (e.g. when new assessors are appointed or when the specification of a programme changes), and to ensure that the judgements and decisions of internal verifiers (on the same programmes) are consistent.
7.9 Final results for coursework/modules/units and the qualification (if applicable) will be determined at a course team meeting or Awarding Body where this is a requirement of the qualification.
- Claims to awarding bodies for certification must be countersigned by the lead internal verifier and the Learn Trade Skills Manager.
- In the event there is a disagreement between a decision made by the IV and the assessor which cannot be resolved through discussion between the people involved, the matter should be referred to the Lead IV or Curriculum Manager of the course concerned whose decision will be final.
- SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS
8.1 Alternative arrangements may be made to internally assess students’ coursework where there are special circumstances e.g. a learning difficulty or disability. These alternative arrangements might include, for example, a viva, a tape recording or a video recording. Any special arrangements for assessment must be agreed in advance, in writing with the relevant awarding body and evidence and records kept. Observation or other appropriate records must be drawn up to provide detailed individual evidence of attainment against assessment criteria.
- STUDENT APPEALS
- Any student who wishes to appeal against an assessment decision on any programme will follow the Student Appeals Procedure attached to this policy. ((See Appendix 1 below). Records of any appeals must be maintained by the Course Team Leader and reported to the external verifier / moderator at each visit.
10 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
12.1 Staff assessing/ verifying on programmes will be required to hold appropriate qualifications if specified by the awarding body.
12.2 The continuing professional development record of assessors and internal verifiers will record information from the annual staff appraisal about training and development needs, how they are being or have been met and indicate progress towards attainment.
LEARN TRADE SKILLS APPEALS PROCEDURE
A INFORMATION FOR STAFF
- A student who feels that their work or competence has been unfairly assessed must first raise the matter with the Learn Trade Skills assessor, who assessed the work.
- The Learn Trade Skills assessor must provide an explanation of how the grade / mark / outcome was determined by referring to the assessment criteria, mark scheme and unit / module specification.
- If at Stage 1 the student feels that the Learn Trade Skills assessor has not satisfactorily responded to his / her concerns the matter should be referred to Stage 2.
- If after receiving an explanation of the assessment, the student is still not able to accept the grade / mark / outcome he or she should write down the reasons for the dissatisfaction and give this to the Course Team Leader so that the matter can be reconsidered. At this point the relevant Head of School and Curriculum Manager must be informed.
- The Learn Trade Skills assessor should in, conjunction with the Manager, instigate a review of the assessment and remark of the student’s work, and arrange for internal verification of the student’s work to be carried out if this has not already taken place. Once this process is complete the student will be informed in writing of the final outcome for the work. This will normally take place within ten working days of receipt of the appeal.
- In the case of practical assessments which cannot be remarked, and no satisfactory agreement has been reached, the matter needs to be referred to Stage 3.
- After Stage 2, if the student is still not satisfied with the outcome, he /she can appeal to the Awarding Body.
- After an investigation, the Awarding Body’s representative decision is normally final.
- In the case of a practical assessment the Head or Deputy Head of Faculty will determine if it is appropriate and feasible for the assessment to be repeated. The second assessment outcome will be final.
- All student appeals must be clearly documented and reported to the External Verifier / Moderators at their next visit. Records and student work connected with appeals may be requested by the External Verifier / Moderator.
NOTE: Awarding / examining bodies and their representatives are not involved in the Centres’s internal appeals procedure.
APPEALS PROCEDURE –
B INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS
- All work which counts towards the award of qualifications will be assessed to a specific marking scheme/performance criteria, which meets awarding body requirements. Assessors aim to assess fairly and impartially against these standards.
- On many courses there are Assessors who are trained Internal Verifiers who oversee the assessment / marking process and sample students’ work to ensure that standards are applied by all Assessors fairly and correctly. Many courses are also subjected to further scrutiny by an Awarding Body representative (EQA). This person also checks that students’ work has been fairly assessed / marked. On some courses, samples of assessed work may be sent off by post to external examiners to be checked.
- If an awarding body representative does not visit the Centre, he / she will carry out a remote quality audit, and review of the quality processes of Learn Trade Skills to ensure that they meet the awarding body standards and requirements.
- You are entitled to know how your work or competence is assessed and why particular grades or marks are awarded or assessment decisions made.
- If you feel that your work or competence has been unfairly assessed you must first discuss the matter with the (assessor) who marked your work, within ten working days of receiving the assessment decision.
- Your assessor will explain the assessment of your work with reference to the performance criteria, evidence specification or mark scheme.
- If you feel at Stage 1 that your assessor has not satisfactorily responded to your concerns please inform the Learn Trade Skills Manager to activate Stage 2.
- If, after receiving your Learn Trade Skills assessor’s explanation of the assessment of your work, you still feel unable to accept the grade / mark or decision, you should write down the reasons for your dissatisfaction and give this to the Learn Trade Skills Manager. You should ensure that you get a receipt from the Learn Trade Skills Manager, when you hand in the letter.
- The Learn Trade Skills Manager will arrange for your work to be Internally Verified.
- You will then be informed of the final assessment decision of your work in writing, normally within ten working days of receipt of your form by the Learn Trade Skills Manager
- In the case of practical work which cannot be remarked, and no satisfactory agreement has been reached, the matter needs to be referred to Stage 3.
3.1 After Stage 2 please inform the Learn Trade Skills manager if you are still not satisfied with the outcome. In such circumstances, the Learn Trade Skills Manager will act as the final appeal.
- In the case of a practical assessment, the Learn Trade Skills Manager will determine if it is appropriate and feasible for the assessment to be repeated. The second assessment outcome will be final.
Awarding body representatives, EQAs who visit Learn Trade Skills, usually ask for full details