Many standards have portfolio assessment, review or showcase as one of the assessment methods for End Point Assessment (EPA). You might think that this part of the EPA wouldn’t really be affected by the current lockdown, because most are carried remotely via access to the e-portfolio. However this isn’t working as smoothly as you’d expect.
There has been so much discussion and debate about what flexibilities will be afforded to the assessment of mandatory qualifications and the actual EPA, it’s not surprising that there’s some confusion, but things are becoming clearer. In the meantime, many apprenticeship training providers have furloughed members of their administration and quality teams, leaving a knowledge gap in terms of EPA requirements and processes.
Currently End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) and End-Point Assessors are having problems gaining timely access to e-portfolio. EPAOs are finding that many of their usual contacts are away from work on furlough and they don’t have contact details of who they should be speaking to. Additionally, there also seems to be an understandable gap in the knowledge of those still working, which is possibly compounded by home working.
One way to avoid unnecessary delays with End Point Assessment is to ensure those remaining in work have a robust handover from their colleagues that usually undertake this work activity and they have clear documented guidance and process flow, for and from each of their EPAOs. Timely access to e-portfolios is really important; assessing the portfolio prior to any of the live assessment gives the End-Point Assessor the opportunity to effectively plan interviews and professional discussions, which in turn gives the apprentice the best opportunity to showcase themselves and attain their predicted or even higher grades.
It’s in everybody’s best interest to give the EPAO and End-Point Assessor early access to the e-portfolio, as part of the Gateway process or as soon as the End-Point Assessor has been allocated. We know that the e-portfolio organisations are keen to support providers and EPAOs. The good news is that it isn’t too difficult to resolve and there’s a common goal and appetite to address this problem because it’s the right thing to do for the apprentices and it’s a WIN-WIN for all stakeholders.
About the author
Debbie Gardiner MBE is Director of DSG L&M Consultancy Services