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Robust Initial Diagnostic Assessment

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The Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) is a term we have all been familiar with for what seems a long time, although it has only been in use for c20 months.

Within the EIF, Inspectors will make graded judgement on four areas of your provision:

  • Quality of Education
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Personal development
  • Leadership and management

Whilst all four areas will be graded, it is understood that the overall grade will not be higher than that achieved for your Quality of Education.

The Quality of Education is split into:

  • Intent
  • Implementation
  • Impact

Putting first things first, the focus on your Intent is crucial in not only planning but evidencing to Ofsted the purpose, rationale and aim of the programme for each individual Apprentice. Alongside this, the ESFA recently released ‘guidance to provide additional information to support initial assessment of prior learning in accordance with the policy intent and the apprenticeship funding rules.’ Ensuring you are complying with the requirements of both Ofsted and the ESFA is vital to not only your Apprenticeship provision but to protecting and giving each Apprentice the best opportunity to learn, retain and successfully complete their Apprenticeship.

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In order for Apprentices to fully understand their roles and responsibilities during their Apprenticeship, they must be inducted onto the Apprenticeship by providing them with all of the information they will need. This includes; what the Apprenticeship will consist of, what End-point Assessment is and the assessment methods they will face, the roles and responsibilities of themselves, their Employer and Training Provider throughout the different stages of their Apprenticeship, Initial Assessment to establish their starting point against the Standard, an overview of the Apprenticeship learning programme and assessment preparation.

Whilst Initial Assessment of English and maths is standard practice, the Initial Assessment of the respective Knowledge Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) of each Standard is necessary to understand what prior learning each Apprentice has against the Standard, and just as importantly to build individual learning programmes from the Initial Assessment results. The ESFA talk about ‘Robust Initial Assessment’ throughout their guidance and define ‘robust’ as ‘the KSBs of the individual Apprentice assessed in detail against the KSBs set out in the relevant occupational Standard’.

Robust Initial Assessment against the KSBs will support establishing a true starting point, identify areas of prior knowledge and competence and those areas with gaps in knowledge, understanding, competence and behaviours specific to the job role and the Standard. This will also support evidence of your ‘Intent’ to Ofsted and requirement to ‘conduct and initial assessment’ to ESFA.

We all know that an old ‘skill scan’ cannot cut it anymore, nor can a blanket Initial Assessment approach across all Apprentices and all Standards. How do we carry out ‘Robust Initial Assessment’ you may be starting to ask? Vistar can help you in how to do this right now. If you need advice, guidance and support on Initial Assessment, Vistar has created the products and services to support Training Providers with Vistar Initial Diagnostic Assessments (IDA) which are Standard specific assessments split into; a Knowledge on-screen multiple-choice test covering all Knowledge criteria within the respective Standard, and a Competency-Based Interview, with associated question bank and marking guidance, covering all Skills and Behaviours criteria within the respective Standard; both of which provide a report upon completion showing current knowledge and competence against the respective Standard.

The Vistar IDA reports can be used to confirm ‘right Standard, right level’ and can be revisited throughout the programme to allow the monitoring, tracking and evidencing learning progress and distance travelled, a key Ofsted requirement. They can also be shared with the Apprentice and Employer so that all parties involved are fully engaged, motivated and fully informed of what training is required for the Apprentice to reach occupational competence set out in the respective Standard. The Vistar IDA reports can also support the building of holistic, individual and efficient Schemes of Work and Action Plans which complement your curriculum.

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