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Five practical tips for measuring and assessing apprentice behaviours

In this post, we share with you five practical tips on how to measure and assess apprentices’ behaviour whilst on-programme ready for EPA.

As a trainer/coach you know that behaviours are one of the key components of the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSB) used to evaluate an apprentice’s competence at end-point assessment (EPA). Yet measuring and assessing behaviours on-programme can be a real challenge as they aren’t always easy to identify.

Here are some tips to help you develop your apprentice’s behaviours ready for EPA and their future career…

1 – Look for evidence using a variety of assessment methods

It’s highly likely that you are assessing apprentices’ knowledge and skill development throughout the apprenticeship training period, through a variety of methods such as: practical tasks, projects, written tests, observations, interviews and presentations. There is no reason why you can’t also look for evidence of behaviours in all of these methods too.

For example, you can observe how an apprentice interacts with others as part of a project, how they handle feedback from a written test, how they solve problems in an observation or how they show initiative as part of a practical test.

2 – Look for implicit behaviours

Sometimes, behaviours are not directly observable or measurable, but they are implied by other aspects of performance. For example, an apprentice may demonstrate resilience by completing a challenging task without giving up, or they may demonstrate integrity by following ethical principles in their work. You should be aware of these implicit behaviours and look for clues or indicators that can reveal them.

You can also ask questions or use scenarios that can elicit behavioural responses from the apprentice during on-programme assessments.

3 – Ask the employer for regular feedback

The employer is a vital source of information about the apprentice’s behaviour, as they have day-to-day contact with them and can observe them in different situations. It pays to ask the employer for feedback on the apprentice’s behaviour during each progress review and help validate this before the gateway and EPA.

Of course, the employer may have a different perspective on what constitutes quality in terms of behavioural traits (although not necessarily to the standard), so take their views into account and compare them with your own observations and criteria to form a judgement.

4 – Don’t be tempted to engineer evidence or to stretch evidence across multiple areas of achievement, especially during gateway preparation

As you review the apprentice’s readiness at gateway stage to confirm that they have met all the requirements for EPA, try not to create or manipulate evidence of behaviour that is not authentic or representative of the apprentice’s performance.

For example, you should not ask the apprentice to perform a task that is not relevant to their role or standard just to demonstrate a certain behaviour, or you should not use the same piece of evidence to claim multiple behaviours that are not clearly linked. Doing so may compromise the validity and reliability of the assessment and may disadvantage the apprentice in their EPA.

5 – Reward positive behaviours in evidence records and use negative behaviours as a basis for behaviour development

When you record and document evidence of behaviour, you should highlight and praise the positive behaviours that the apprentice has shown, as this can motivate them and reinforce their learning.

You should also identify and address any negative behaviours that may hinder their progress or performance, such as lack of punctuality, poor communication skills or inability to cope well with more pressurised situations. Take the opportunity to provide constructive feedback and guidance, showing apprentices the behaviours that are expected of them, and then review / discuss improvements to their behaviour in future progress reviews.

Developing and assessing apprentice ‘behaviours’ – Masterclass

If you want to take a deep dive into developing and assessing apprentice behaviours, register for our behaviours masterclass.

In this Masterclass, SDN’s curriculum and assessment expert Chris Cherry will take you through:

  • How to identify the apprentice’s behavioural starting point
  • Mapping behaviours from the standard into the training plan
  • Training techniques to develop behaviours, with the employer
  • Monitoring progress, assessing and evidencing behaviours
  • Behaviours and preparation for end-point assessment

There are activities to work through during the Masterclass and plenty of opportunity to ask questions, as we aim to give you the practical tools and confidence to improve your approach to behaviours.

Click here for more information and to book your place on Developing and assessing apprentice ‘behaviours’.

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