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End-Point Assessment – your questions answered

What is an end-point assessment?

The End-Point Assessment (EPA) is a requirement of the new ‘Future Apprenticeship’ scheme. It is an independent assessment, which is undertaken at the very end of an apprenticeship and takes into account the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the learner. Each candidate will be awarded a grade: pass, merit or distinction, which is a change from the old system where apprentices either passed or failed. As the name suggests, the assessment will only be undertaken once the employer and/or the training provider considers that the apprentice has met all of the standards in their training programme.

Who carries out the end-point assessment?

The EPA must be carried out by an assessor who is employed by an Approved Assessment Organisation. Approved Assessment Organisations (AAO) are those who have met government requirements and therefore appear on the Register of Approved Assessment Organsiations. Employers wishing to appoint an end-point assessor must choose a provider from the register.

What about end of unit assessment?

Anyone who is competent in the area being assessed can sign off units throughout the apprenticeship, although it’s best practice to ensure that assessors and trainers are qualified. It is likely that the trainer and assessor will be the same person for some employers/training providers. The End-point assessor cannot be the same individual who was assessing during the apprenticeship, plus they must hold an assessor qualification like the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.

Do NVQs require an end-point assessment?

No. The EPA requirements only affect apprenticeships.

Who decides on what to assess?

For EPAs, standards across all sectors are set by ‘Trailblazer’ organisations. These are organisations that are thought to lead within their sector. The trailblazer organisations set the standards that make up the apprenticeship and each standard will have an assessment plan associated with it. These are the plans that the End-point assessor will use to award a pass, merit or distinction.

Can I work as an assessor and an End-point assessor?

Yes, provided you do not do both for the same apprentice/employer. To work as an end-point assessor, you must work for an approved AAO.

How do I become an End-point assessor?

To work as an EPA you have to show that you have understanding and occupational competence of two years or more within the scope of the apprenticeship. You also have to hold or be working towards an assessment qualification, for example, the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement. Obviously, it’s important to show that you are keeping up-to-date with your own professional development and that you keep yourself abreast of industry changes.  There are a number of AAO who advertise online for independent end-point assessors and list their requirements in addition to the above.

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