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This year has seen more red tape than the gift wrap desk at Harrods, and more revamping of similar ideas under a new name than your average motor manufacturer. We at FE News are delighted to welcome Sarah Forton, Chief Executive Officer for ENTO Direct, who explains her company's six step idea of the "Back to Basics" approach.

There have been many initiatives over the years to reduce bureaucracy across all sectors and in all types of organisations. We live in a world of form filling, audit trails, duplicate and triplicate copies and so on and it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the expectation of a paperless office as well as the increasingly challenging environmental issues!

In the world of National Occupational Standards and National Vocational Qualifications the guardians of the Assessment and Verification Standards, ENTO and their sister delivery company ENTO Direct have been waving the flag of a back to basics approach to assessment of proving competence in a job role rather than the all to familiar requirements that many undertaking assessment against standards face. The process is a simple one, and always has been.

Looking Back, Looking Back"¦

Some years ago the Qualifications Curriculum Authority (QCA) published a guidance note to Awarding Bodies and external verifiers entitled "NVQ Portfolios." The key message was to encourage approaches to the collection and presentation of portfolios of evidence of competence that minimised bureaucracy and reduced the burden of assessment without compromising the quality and rigour that are essential to the high quality qualifications that are of value to both the employer and the individual.

This message is still current and in these days of environmental concern perhaps more valid than ever. It is easy to imagine the sheer waste in terms of labour and materials that go into the production of vast amounts of portfolios; these are totally unnecessary as a demonstration of a learner's competence.

The Six Step Programme

This is easily achievable if you follow these 6 simple views of ENTO. First, a portfolio should only be a collection of decisions and not a collection of evidence, this should remain where it naturally occurs. It is not necessary to keep copies of all evidence produced in a portfolio. Secondly, cross referencing evidence to the standards by the learner is unnecessary and a barrier that the learner should not be tasked with facing.

Thirdly, there is no requirement for the learner to own the evidence. The assessor is responsible for ensuring that there is evidence to enable a decision to be made. Fourth, a list of witnesses and their signatures is totally irrelevant as the testimony from a third party still has to be assessed by the assessor to ensure that it is valid, authentic and current. Fifth, candidate log books (or whatever the particular term used by the Awarding Body is) or any method of the learner recording how they achieved their NVQ is not a requirement and present the learner with additional work that is above and beyond the requirements of the standards/qualification they are working towards.

Finally, there are no laid down requirements for the recording of assessment plans, assessment or for feedback. It is for the assessor to decide which method they wish to use. The only requirement is that the evidence can be audited. So there you are. Six easy back to basic steps to help you save time and money, increase achievement rates, offer an improved learner experience and have less stressed assessors and Internal Verifiers as well as saving the environment!!

Gives you a warm feeling doesn"t it"¦.

Guest Writer Sharon Forton, CEO, ENTO Direct

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