COVID-19 and EUIAS EPA Flexibilities
At the beginning of the lockdown period, there was a collective ‘pause’ while everyone tried to make sense of the new circumstances. Quite soon after, the IfATE produced advice for end-point assessments which can be summarised as “look for ways to carry them out where this can be accomplished safely, while maintaining the validity of the assessment outcome ”. This was in marked contrast to the approach for general qualifications and some vocationally related qualifications where exams have been cancelled. We will have to wait and see how successful the arrangements are for awarding learners with grades for these qualifications. Meanwhile, in the world of apprentice assessment, we have been working with our external quality assurance provider, Open Awards, to devise safe ‘flexibilities’ so apprentices can complete their end-point assessments.
To date, we have agreed nine ‘flexibilities’ with Open Awards including adaptations to assessment methods and to assessment plans.
We have been able to carry out online technical interviews and remotely assessed practical observations, permitting 40 apprentices to date (June 2020) to continue with their end-point assessments for Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician, Water Process Technician and Power Network Craftsperson.
The flexibilities we have agreed so far include:
- Trade tests live-streamed to assessors in remote locations (enabling trade tests to take place without assessors having to travel or be on site)
- Where connectivity is not good enough to support live streaming, recording of trade tests for remote assessment later
- Temporary suspension of the requirement for assessors not to be involved in the apprentices’ training programme (enabling EPAs to take place when employer technical experts are not able to travel to the required site)
- Technical interviews being carried out using video-conference technology; while reviewing portfolio evidence
- Temporary suspension of the requirement (in two standards) for the apprentice to be able to drive, owing to the cancellation of the national driving test programme, pending completion at a later date (enabling apprentices to complete their programmes and join front line staff)
If you are interested in finding out more, contact the EUIAS Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.