Quality assurance is a continual process that through evaluation and constant assessing is able to create a planned system with the hope to achieve a greater success or maintain optimal performance. In essence to maintain quality and by pre-planning assessements it should create a stable and consistent outcome of results. This applied internally then becomes a side by side journey of support, development and training for the learner from start to finish.
The functions of internal quality assurance are to identify the level of knowledge of a learner in the beginning and thereafter the knowledge gained by the learner. It also analyses the learners understanding and skills. The aim of assessement is to identify whether the learners goals of quality have been met and to confirm whether the leaner has the capacity to transfer what has been learnt into practical and competant skills.
The constant assessment of the learning plan in place is to see what training perhaps is needed or whether the next course of action is to help develop the learner further to become more suited to their role.
Concepts of quality assurance are the intepretation of specific ideas to re-enact a specific goal, an action plan. They capture a focus of what is to be achieved and the outcomes, hence the list of concepts for quality assurance are there to achieve the end goal.
The key concepts of quality assurance are:
Accountability – You are held accountable for your learns and company as well as your are answereable to both as well.
Achievement – Keeping track of achievements to evaluate the success rates. The success rates are a direct correlation of how effective their training and assessments have been.
Assessement strategies – Are to make sure you are complaint with guidelines and regulations in place. By following company procedures you are also preserving your companies reputation.
Confidentiality -Abiding by legislation such as Data Protection Act 1998, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974,The Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, Freedom of Information Act 2000, The Equality Act 2010 and General Data Protecion Regulatioon (GDPR) 2016
Risk factors – This covers a broad spectrum in the however the key factors in risk and the most important are the authenticty of the learners work, changes to qualifications and standards, assessor competence and reliability of witnesses.
Evaluation – Is calculated towards assessing past and current practice to provide a better future version
Interim and summative sampling – Interim sampling are samples taken in the middle of the beginning and end period of time/stage and summative is the sampling at the end of time/stage. Interim testing allows for a clearer picture of how the learner is progressing, it allows time to correct any mistakes or identify any problems. The summative allows you to see the finished result after all assessements have taken place.
Transparency – Clarity in what is expected. Managing the learners expectations for future standards and goals. This includes the assessors own abilities in understanding the criteria. Honesty, integrity should lead every step of the assessment process open for unhindered investigation or auditing.
Credibility is the foundation of the quality of trust, it is an influence that can impact the employers reputation, the learners integrity in their credentials and public trust. It can be increased through high quality work that would in turn show through a high success rate with learners or loyal consumers. The reputation and credability of any company can be impaired by poorly trained and assessed staff and that would then affect the employers company as a whole as it would of created poorly manufactured products and poor services.
When assessed correctly or when the qualification is obtained the learner is demonstrating to the world the standards at which the employer operates their business. Qualifications are set in place to help deliver standards. The qualifications are supposed to ensure the public of those standards being met.
The qualifications are important to the learner as they will impact career choices and capability of doing a good job and through this it can affect the student recommendation for the qualification.
A way of creating a consistent standard or outcome is to standardise practice. One way in which my own workplace does this is by sitting down all assessor’s and group marking. Stating outloud what how you have graded work and why to not only your manager but your peers. In this it enables my own manager to see how I rationalised and interpreted my own marking, whether it was justified and in accordance to company guidelines and whether I am thinking along the same lines as every other assessor. This sets the benchmark for us all as by the end of the session that we are all “on the same page” and of the same mind.
In this my own work is subject to contiuous and regular checks by my manager who is also subjected to regular updated training and boaster sessions by the trainers.
This system is in place like many other methods used to make sure that assessors are monitored as well as it reduces inaccuracies and makes sure that all outcomes are fair. It allows managers to see into whether there is a lack of skill or knowledge in their own assessors and identifying any issues that will hinder them performing their roles.
The assessors and internal quality assurance work on a set of key principles and they are put into practice to further maintain standards, credability and fairness. Failure to adhere to these principles will bring about a reduced standard in the assessors because they will not be corrected on any practices.
The first set is referred to as VASC, this is used to make sure all work is:
Valid- the assessment process is appropriate to the subject or qualification, assess only what is meant to be assessed and the learner’s work is relevant to the assessment requirements
Authentic – the work has been solely produced by the learner
Current- the work is relevant at the time of assessment
Sufficient – the work covers all of the assessment criteria/ learning outcomes
Reliable- the work is consistent across all learners, over time and at the required level.
If we then go further into internal quality assurance and touch upon other key principles they go by
Internal quality assurance planning is essential in the role. It can be a document created through your project team that several teams involved in the project can refer to to ensure the highest of quality is achieved.
The easiest method used is a small check list or cycle known as PLAN, DO, CHECK and ACT. This will allow work with open communication with those involved with the project to prevent any inconsitancies or disagreements, it should allocate tasks and define responsibilties and create a scheudule.
Once the beginning part of the plan is put into place, usually identifying whom is apart of the project planning and the objective has been agreed upon then you should create a list of what each role will require and then you assign roles and responsibilities and through this a schedule will be created. Every task should have a purpose that benefits the prime objective.
The lists created should take into consideration firsly whether the assessors are all on the same page of what they are aiming to achieve? Anything that might become a concern e.g. complex activities. The experience level of the assessors and if they are qualified, in this if they do not, do any assessors need further training? Is there anything in place to handle any complaints or appeals? And if yes, has everyone been informed? Rationale and strategy should be looked into. Learners need to been designated to assessors? And finally are the documents or records suitable and up to date? From this list a plan can then be put into action. This purpose is to aid effective managment of a project.
Sampling is a crucial part of the assessing, the sample is checked for whether the learner has correctly planned and documented their service or product. It allows assessors to check the overall quality and analyse for any defects, mistakes or risks. Every sample cannot be checked so there will be missed areas however if there are any potential defects, mistakes or risks the assessor can increase the sample size or add random additional samples at any time. The original decision is not set in stone if this is the case and any findings can be updated if any extra action had to be taken to quell any concerns.
It is just as important to plan sampling as it is to plan the assessment itself. If you need to observe, question or interview they needs to be readily available on the day, so pre-planning this through the company or organisation first is required. The choice is always down to the assessor over whom to speak to as any chosen by the company or organisation will allow those involved to conceal any potential concerns.
The sampling stratgey itself should always be a written statement and the assessors responsbility to plan around. It can be based on numerous factors but should take into consideration, type of sampling, assessement strategies to make sure they are compliant, what is to be monitored and risk factors.
The internal quality assurance rationale is the reason why internal quality assurance should take place. The rationale itself is a collection of reasons for the actions done by the assessor. They are in place to make sure all activities are safe, valid and reliable.