Emma Scott, Director of Operations, Vocational and Technical Qualifications

Disruptions from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have heralded many changes to the way we live our lives, including how qualifications are delivered and awarded to students.

Among the changes has been the wider adoption of remote assessment and remote invigilation, as many assessments are unable to take place face-to-face. We have received questions and feedback from awarding organisations, learning providers and students about the role we have played in this so far.

From the outset, we encouraged awarding organisations delivering vocational and technical qualifications to think creatively and to innovate. And they did.

According to a survey we conducted last year, awarding organisations introduced more remote assessment and remote invigilation than any other form of adaptation. Remote assessment is where the student is assessed or judged by an assessor who is in a different location. For example, via live audio or video streaming. Remote invigilation is where the student is observed or supervised by an invigilator while they complete an assessment, which is usually taken online.

We have now seen a range of approaches. Some awarding organisations have rolled out fully functioning remote assessment or remote invigilation solutions, while others have needed to take a more staggered approach.

It is encouraging to see how hard awarding organisations are working to overcome some of the challenges experienced when introducing remote assessment and remote invigilation. For example, in response to the challenges of remotely assessing practical skills, one awarding organisation secured specialist camera equipment and loaned it to providers to observe assessments. The camera is put in the room with a student taking the practical assessment and can be controlled remotely by an assessor. This effectively enables the assessor to "be in the room" by controlling the position of the camera lens.

Some providers and students have embraced remote assessment and remote invigilation, appreciating its flexibility and the chance to move forward with their learning. Others have encountered challenges such as technical issues and accessing the required equipment. In response, several awarding organisations now conduct remote invigilation through web-based applications, so that students can avoid downloading software that may be incompatible with their devices.

We continue to provide support to awarding organisations exploring alternatives such as remote assessment and invigilation, but we are clear that such arrangements should not undermine the value of the qualifications.

For example, an awarding organisation got in touch with us to discuss a few scenarios it felt created a barrier to remote invigilation. One such scenario was how some assessments were 3 hours long and students often required supervised comfort breaks. It was not clear, however, how such breaks could happen during remotely invigilated assessments, especially if the students couldn’t be monitored while they were on a break.

We worked through this scenario, among others, at a workshop and suggested a range of options for further exploration. For example, we suggested breaking the assessment into different parts so that students could have a comfort break once they have completed the first half of the assessment, and before they were ready to access the second part separately. That awarding organisation is now piloting a remote invigilation approach, based on our feedback, that it hadn't before considered possible.

We appreciate that remote assessment and remote invigilation aren’t the answer to every problem. They are tools that, when used correctly and in conjunction with others, enable awarding organisations to ensure assessments are carried out properly and under controlled and supervised conditions. We have seen some examples, where the addition of a second camera recording the assessment from a different angle, have enhanced an awarding organisation’s ability to identify and investigate malpractice, thus maintaining the integrity of a qualification. When done well, remote assessment and remote invigilation can also bring convenience for providers and for students, enabling assessments to take place at a time that suits an individual, as well as results to be awarded that may otherwise have been delayed.

We expect remote assessment and remote invigilation will be here to stay after the pandemic, so we have further work to do and we recognise these adaptations may have unexpected impacts on the student experience or the validity of assessments.

To gain a deeper understanding, we are doing some research on this and are particularly interested in students’ first-hand experiences. We’re keen to hear from you if you are a student who has taken part in remote assessment, or remote invigilation, and wish to share your experience with us. Drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., referencing this article (Remote assessment and invigilation in vocational and technical qualifications), and we will get back to you.

We have seen genuine flexibility, ingenuity, and resilience of much of the awarding sector over the last year. We would encourage more awarding organisations to lead the way to test and implement new approaches to qualification delivery. And we are keen to continue to play our part and give our support for innovative responses to the issues to learning and assessment brought by the pandemic. We all have a role in future-proofing assessment for the benefit of students.

Emma Scott, Director of Operations, Vocational and Technical Qualifications

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event 1 hour

Effective Self Assessment & Improvement Planning (Zoom...

The self-assessment process is, further, the key way in which providers can measure the effectiveness of their provision against the EIF. Under the...

  • Thursday, 10 June 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 1 hour

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (Zoom Conferencing)

A provider’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) plays a critical role in its approach to safeguarding its learners, training its staff, providing...

  • Monday, 19 April 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page