From education to employment

How to become an Internal Quality Assurer (IQA)

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What is the role of an Internal Quality Assurer?

All training providers must have an Internal Quality Assurer on their team. Quality Assurance takes place to make sure that the training provider is running at the best they can be.

Each centre’s IQA will be responsible for quality-checking decisions made by the centre’s Assessors. This is to ensure these decisions and the Assessors’ practices, are maintaining the centre’s standards. Some of the tasks that an IQA will undertake include:

  • Making sure all Assessors are appropriately trained, qualified, and carrying out their roles efficiently;
  • Monitoring the centre’s assessment practice and procedures by carrying out sampling activities, such as;
    • Reviewing learners at different stages of the programme delivery and assessment process
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment planning
    • Making sure assessment decisions are consistent and standardised
  • Making sure that the centre’s equality and diversity policy is implemented;
  • Conducting a minimum of two standardisation meetings per year.

If quality assurance isn’t happening, then there are risks to the accuracy, consistency, and fairness of training and assessment practices. Therefore, this can cause a significant disadvantage to learners.

What Is An IQA?

An IQA carries out a very important part of the learning and assessment process. They are the ones who are responsible for making sure operations run smoothly. This involves everything from the learning and studying the apprentice undertakes; all the way through to the final examination (and everything in between!). An IQA helps with the standardisation process, ensuring that assessments carried out are fair and consistent between learners.

The ‘Internal’ aspect of an IQA means that Quality Assurance is being taken place within the training centre itself, by an internal member of staff. The role of an IQA often falls with the Supervisor or Manager within a training centre. As long as they aren’t quality-assuring their own assessment decisions, an IQA can also still work as an Assessor and perform both roles.

Responsibilities of An IQA

The day-to-day duties of an IQA will vary, particularly if they are continuing to assess at the same time. Here are some of the general things that an IQA will be responsible for:

  • Checking that Assessors are fully qualified within their roles
  • Planning and preparing activities to allow for the monitoring of assessments
  • Ensuring the standardisation of assessment practices (working alongside Assessors, trainers and employers)
  • Observing both trainer and Assessor performance & providing constructive feedback
  • Sampling assessment records and decisions / grades given
  • Meeting with the learners themselves
  • Identifying and facilitating best practices within the organisation

Having an IQA within an organisation is very important when it comes to assessments, and making sure that best practices are adhered to. It is quite common that when issues are discovered with the delivery of a qualification, this can be traced back to a lack of quality assurance within the organisation.

Benefits of Becoming An IQA

So now that we have explained in detail the role of an IQA and the qualifications you need in order to become one, let’s have a quick look at some of the benefits of becoming an IQA.
Let’s start with the most important one first – financial gain! On average, IQAs earn in the region of £23,000 – £35,000 per year. This is a step up for experienced Assessors, as becoming an IQA will add extra value to the company. It removes the need for organisations to hire a freelance IQA to carry out their quality assurance, as one of their employees can carry out the work instead.

Continued Professional Development (CPD) is another reason to become an IQA. As an Assessor you will already be aware of the importance of keeping your CPD record up to date, and taking an IQA qualification will help with this. Even if you don’t want to become a lead IQA, even just completing the knowledge qualification will help you to become a better Assessor within your current role.

How do I become an Internal Quality Assurer?

So, there are currently 3 IQA Qualifications available; however, only 2 of them qualify you to Quality Assure.

Level 4 Award in Understanding the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

First of all, starting with the most basic of all the IQA Qualifications, this course does not actually qualify you to internally quality assure assessment. But, it does provide you with the knowledge behind IQA. This makes this award a great form of CPD (Continuing Professional Development), especially for Managers. By completing this qualification, you will know:

  • The context and principles of Internal Quality Assurance;
  • How to plan the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment;
  • Techniques for monitoring, maintaining and improving the quality of assessment internally;
  • How to manage information in accordance with legal and good practice requirements for the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment.

For more information on this course, please see our Level 4 Award in Understanding the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice page.

Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

Now, moving onto this next qualification, this is the equivalent to the old Internal Verifiers qualification. It qualifies you to make quality assurance of assessments and assessment decisions, but it doesn’t qualify you to be the Lead IQA of your training provider. By completing this qualification, you will know and be able to:

  • Plan the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment;
  • Maintain legal and good practice requirements when internally monitoring and maintaining the quality of assessment;
  • Manage information relevant to the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment;
  • Internally evaluate, maintain and improve the quality of assessment.

If you think this is the right course for you, we have more information our Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice page.

Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

Finally, the most highly regarded IQA qualification; the Lead IQA. This is the ideal qualification for you if you wish to be the Lead IQA of your training provider, as it provides you with all the skills necessary to not only Quality Assurance qualifications but also lead and manage the whole quality assurance process. By completing this qualification, you will know and be able to:

  • Quality Assurance qualifications;
  • Manage the Internal Quality Assurance processes for a training centre;
  • Manage other IQAs;
  • Develop and write Internal Quality Assurance policies and procedures;
  • Manage External Quality Assurance (EQA) visits.

In the long run, this is the course we would recommend the most. So if becoming a Lead IQA is the path you want to go down, take a look at our Level 3 Certificate in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice page.

As you may know, here at Brooks and Kirk we offer more than just Assessor courses. We also offer courses in Internal Quality Assurance (IQA). These courses act as a step-up from the Assessor courses; so if you’re looking to take your Assessor career even further, becoming an Internal Quality Assurer might be the perfect thing for you.

All things considered, there is one more thing you need to know. You must be a qualified Assessor in order to become an Internal Quality Assurer. There are rare situations in which a person has their IQA qualification without their Assessor qualification; but as we’ve mentioned, a big part of quality assurance involves the Assessors in your team. How can you quality assure what they are doing, if you aren’t sure yourself?

If you do need the Assessor qualification, you’re in luck; we at Brooks and Kirk offer the Assessor course too.

The Internal Quality Assurance (IQA), Internal Verifier (IV) or V1 course, what is it and who is it for

Why are there three different names for the same course? The D34 unit was replaced by the V1, otherwise known as the Internal Verifier (IV). Then the V1, or IV qualification as most people know it, was replaced by the Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) course.

You will find that a lot of organisations do still refer to this qualification as either the IV or V1, but if you are looking to do the course, then it’s the Internal Quality Assurance course that you need to be looking for.

Also worth knowing…

There are actually three different qualifications within the Internal Quality Assurance suite. The relevant qualifications for you will depend on your job role.

The three qualifications are:

  • Level 4 Award in Understanding the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice (Unit 1)
  • Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice (Units 1 & 2)
  • Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice (Units 1,2 & 3)

Who are these qualifications for?

The vast majority of people who train to become IQAs are qualified and experienced assessors. For most people, the IQA course is the most logical progression for their career as an assessor.

Although, the role of an Internal Quality Assurer is very different to that of an assessor. So it is important that you know what the roles of an IQA include.

If you are already V1 or IV qualified, then it may just be a case that you want to update yourself with the most recent knowledge based component in the IQA suite. If this is the case, then the Level 4 Award that only covers unit 1 will be the qualification you need.

The Level 4 Award that incorporates units 1 and 2 is the qualification you will need if you are either currently, or going to be internally assuring the quality of assessment.

Effectively, you are assessing the assessor! Every NVQ candidate needs to have an assessor and every assessor needs to have an Internal Quality Assurer.

You will need the Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice if you are going to be the lead IQA within your organisation.

This course would qualify you to lead the process of ensuring that all standards are met during the delivery of training and within the training organisation as a whole.

What are the roles of an IQA?

If you are considering training to become an Internal Quality Assurer, then you can expect the following responsibilities to be included as part of your role as an IQA:

  • Plan, operate and evaluate internal assessment and quality assurance systems
  • Support and develop tutors and/or assessors
  • Monitor and improve the quality of assessment practice
  • Apply policies, procedures and legislation to meet external/regulatory requirements

What does the IQA course itself involve?

Obviously, it depends on which qualification you would be completing with regards to what your course would involve. Below is the titles for the three units and a short description of what they involve.

So whether you are just doing the unit one, or the full three unit qualification, this quick unit overview should give you a better idea on exactly what you will cover in your course.

Unit 1 – Understanding the Principle and Practices of Internally Assuring the Quality of Assessment

This is the knowledge based unit. You would gain the knowledge and understanding required to be able to internally assure the quality of assessment.

The theory for the course includes the following areas involved within Internal Quality Assurance:

  1. The Principles
  2. The Techniques, and
  3. The Planning

The delivery method for this unit can either be online or classroom based sessions.

Unit 2 – Internally Assure the Quality of Assessment

This unit involves you putting the theory into practice. As part of this unit, you would be required to monitor two assessors – each with a minimum of two candidates of their own.

This is a competency based unit, which means that you would have to be observed working with the two assessors.

Unit 3 – Plan, Allocate and Monitor Work in Own Area of Responsibility

This is another competency based unit. As part of unit 3, you would learn to plan, allocate and monitor work in your own area of responsibility. Not only this, but you would learn how to make any necessary changes to original work plans.

The evidence from this unit would come from you working with real learners/staff/customers.

Hopefully this article has helped you to build a better understanding of what an Internal Quality Assurer does, and even more importantly, if it’s something that would be ideal for you.

Sam Sleight, Head of Marketing, Brooks and Kirk (Assessor Training) Ltd

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