We were recently contacted by a potential member who wanted some advice on Assessor courses.  With 30 years-experience in accounting and business admin roles within many business sectors, she had often prepared and given in-house training which included the development of assessments. However, this practitioner didn’t have formal qualifications in assessment and wanted to know how to go about this. The Assessors Guild were able to provide advice and guidance needed.

It is often the case, many people are assessing and training regularly without any formal qualifications in assessment or teaching and they don’t always get the recognition that they deserve. These are people who know their subject sector inside out but lack the methodology and formality that an assessor qualification provides to ensure that each assessment is consistent, reliable and valid; and more importantly produces fair and equitable results for a diverse range of candidates and assessment modes.

So, our advice to this practitioner was this:

To become an assessor, the first thing you need is occupational competence (which was clearly already there in abundance). Assessors are able to assess in whichever area that they are occupationally competent in, so for example this practitioner would be able to assess in business related subjects and accounting.

Choosing the right assessor qualification is key. There are many out there, so it depends which area a practitioner wishes to focus on, e.g. End Point Assessment, Vocational Assessment etc.

The following current assessor qualifications are available, all have a different focus:

  1. Level 3 Award in Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment
  2. Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment (ACWE)
  3. Level 3 Award in Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement (AVRA)
  4. Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA)

If the wish was to focus on NVQ assessment to include practical and theory, then the CAVA would be the recommended qualification route, if the focus was on class-based assessments, which are mainly theory and not preparation for work (practical) then the AVRA would be suitable and the ACWE would be more for those wanting to assess directly in the workplace for learners that are undertaking competency-based assessment.

That said, selecting the CAVA seems to be the best all-rounder. It  doesn’t exclude you from undertaking assessment either in a classroom or workplace as it includes most methodologies. So, this would be our recommendation.

New to the scene is the L3 in Undertaking End Point Assessment which is aimed at qualified assessors who wish to become an Apprenticeship End Point Assessor. It is a short course and whilst you may find providers offering it to non-assessors, this would not be a good idea as it is very condensed and does not cover everything needed to universally assess across a diverse range of assessment methodology. This condensed approach would be more suited to Continuing Professional Development, once qualified in one of the four above.

Whilst there are a range of private providers that offer all of these qualifications, you must be certain that they are offering a valid qualification, meaning that it is regulated by Ofqual or other regulatory bodies such as Qualifications Wales, CCEA and so on and follows regulatory guidance. A training course that is not regulated would not be sufficient at this career stage and may not secure work.

Whilst we wouldn’t directly recommend a provider, our advice was to approach local FE colleges or Adult Education Establishments to see if they offer the CAVA. They tend to be the most cost-effective and offer flexible learning for returners to education.

This practitioner has since gone on to enrol in the CAVA at a local Centre and was really appreciative of the advice that The Assessors Guild could provide. Excellent news!

Final note:

Post qualifying the most important thing to remember is Continuing Professional Development. Once anyone is qualified it doesn’t mean that you know everything there needs to be known about assessment. You must be prepared to continually learn, not necessarily through formal qualifications but by taking part in CPD activities that will enhance your skills, knowledge and understanding.

It is our duty as assessment professionals to commit to professional development and our members will be expected to upload their annual CPD to their member portal as proof of their commitment to the sector and our Professional Standards. That reminds me, I need to get mine up to date!


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Sam Taylor

Head of The Assessors Guild