From education to employment

Sharon Forton, CEO, ENTO Direct Discussing Assessment and Retention

Firstly let’s consider some recent statistics. According to the LSC 75000 learners did not achieve their Apprenticeship Frameworks across Level 2 and Level 3 in 2004/05 (Based on figures from LSC “Success rates in Work Based Learning” P1 to P9 and extrapolated). If we translate this into money, based on the lowest funded framework, then around £117 million was lost to providers of work-based learning in 2004-05 alone.

To address this we need to improve on initial assessment and assessment and verification to ensure that we maximise both learner achievement and ensure the financial viability of our businesses in 2005/06. But don”t just take my word for it! There is a great deal of evidence available that raises concerns about the quality of initial assessment in work-based learning.

Particular concerns highlighted include: the use of a one-size fits all approach, brought about by the failure to acknowledge that different types of learners require different types of initial assessment; a failure to use initial assessment results to inform the learning programme; the insufficient use of the accreditation of prior learning and achievement; and a misunderstanding by providers of the purpose of some initial assessment tools, and the consequent misuse of these.

Varying Standards in Provision

The Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI), during their inspection visits to work-based learning providers, identified varying standards of provision, both within and across different sectors and stated that work-based learning was the least satisfactory type of provision, irrespective of whether the provider was a private, public or voluntary organisation of a FE College.

So what are the benefits of good initial assessment? Learners will be better able to reach their own decisions about their learning programmes. It will help them to make sure that they have chosen the right programme, and show them ““ and you ““ what they already know and can do and what they still need to learn. Based on five key principles, listed below, initial assessment should become an integral part of the induction process and inform your planning of each learner’s individual learning programme.

These principles are as follows: that all those with responsibility for initial assessment know exactly what its purpose is and how to carry it out effectively; that the Initial Assessment focuses on the learner and their needs and includes the learner in the process; that the results of the IA are used actively to inform the ILP process; that the IA process is open, honest and transparent; and that you identify all of the learners” learning and support needs in relation to the type and length of their programme, and ensure that these needs are met.

Therefore accurate initial assessment leads to tighter planning and targeting of learning provision and, coupled with good assessment and verification, will result in improved retention and achievement rates.

Sharon Forton, CEO, ENTO Direct – Delivering Vocational Awards in Assessment and Verification.

Assess the impact of these principles in the FE Blog

Related Articles