How Assessor Qualifications Have Changed and What This Means If You Want To Assess
Posted on 21st November 2020 at 10:50
Apart from our old faithful Award in Education and Training, the qualifications we are asked most about are the ones you need to be an assessor. Becoming an assessor has suddenly become very confusing. When I qualified in 2009 it was easy: you completed the A1 Award and all was well. If you search for Assessor qualifications online today, though, you are met with hundreds of options with all sorts of titles. Some of the qualifications listed don’t even exist anymore so for this blog, we thought we would cut through the jargon and work out what is really needed if you want to be an assessor.
Being an Assessor can mean delivering and assessing NVQs, or assessing NVQs where someone else has taught the theory, or marking distance learning qualifications that aren’t necessarily NVQs, or maybe considering the progress of a member of staff who is undertaking an internal induction within an organisation… it can mean a lot of things.
However what most of us think of when we think of an assessor is the person puts together a portfolio of evidence to show we are competent in the subject we're studying. With the increase in apprenticeships, assessor roles are rife and it’s a very attractive job. It can be really flexible; you generally manage your own diary; it’s varied and you’re usually doing something rewarding: helping someone to gain a qualification in an area in which you’re an expert.
What hasn’t changed is the occupational competence you need to be an assessor. As the name suggests, this is your expertise (or near enough!) in the subject you want to assess. It’s unlikely you’d want to assess plumbing if you are an experienced bricklayer, but if you did want to, you’d need to build up your work experience in that first!
Most organisations employing assessors want you to have an absolute minimum of 6 months of work experience in that area and, even better, a qualification one level higher than the one you want to assess. That said, if you have 10 years’ management experience but no level 3 management qualification, you are unlikely to be sent away.
“Have you done TAQA?” is a question you might be asked if you’re looking into assessing.
TAQA is not a qualification on its own. It stands for Training Assessment And Quality Assurance and is the name of the suite of qualifications relating to education and training, rather than a qualification on its own.
This can be:
Training - Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET)
Assessment - Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA)
Quality Assurance - Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice; Level 4 Award in the External Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice.
You don’t have to have completed all of the qualifications that are considered to be within TAQA to be an assessor. If you hold the first two qualifications and want to apply for an assessing job that is asking for TAQA in its person specification, apply for the job anyway because you have the qualifications needed to be an assessor. Many employers list TAQA as a requirement and what they really mean is CAVA or AET and CAVA.
This is the full qualification you need if you want to be an assessor. It is competency and knowledge based so, most of the time, you will need to have learners to work with if you want to sign up to this course…which can be tricky if you need to have the qualification to be able to assess in your workplace…. however some CAVA providers may be able to give you some of their portfolios to work with. That’s certainly something to check. We offer options where you can use some of our resources and learners if you don't have your own, if you are local to us. If you're not, we can give you some more guidance on how to obtain your own learners to work with.
If you're organising your own learners, they need to be working towards an accredited qualification. There are no rules to say they have to be registered on that qualification or complete it, though!
The bulk of CAVA is made up of the UPPA unit – Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment.
This is a knowledge-only unit, which means you don’t need to have learners to complete it. You need your learners for the final two units, as they're observation based.
If you have completed the Award in Education and Training you might have already done this unit, but it is unlikely because this unit is quite long, meaning that many providers (including us) tend to opt for the shorter unit in AET to keep costs low for the learner.
This unit alone isn't likely to be enough to get a job as an assessor, but it's easy to upgrade to the full assessor qualification if you have already studied this unit because you'll already have completed the knowledge unit.
We offer this unit as an option with the Level 3 Award in Education and Training because it makes upgrading to CAVA so straight forward (and cheaper). See this blog for more information on that.
If you hold one of the old assessor qualifications, such as A1 or D32, these are still valid and you won’t need to complete CAVA.
Excellent assessors are true motivators. Sometimes learners of any age don’t want to study the courses they’re on and adult learners often have a million and one other things to do when they’re not at work, so coursework can fall to the bottom of the pile.
You might need to deliver training, so confidence and the ability to teach a variety of learners with different learning styles and abilities is really important. The Award in Education and Training will help with that, if you don’t already hold it. You’ll also have to be amazing at admin (because there is loads of it) and be prepared to follow strict guidelines from the awarding body/bodies you’re working with. They’re the people who decide what the qualification should look like and what your candidate has to do to show competence. Then it’s your job to help your candidate to show that they have the skills and knowledge that the awarding body needs.
An assessor can earn anything from £18k – over £30k: it depends how and what you assess. You could be part time, full time, freelance, contract, permanent… it can be truly flexible if you find the right organisation (and if you can’t find the right organisation, you can always create your own, of course…).
Do you want to set up your own training centre or academy? Read this blog.
If you’d like any further information about this or any career or course, please get in touch. We offer free advice and guidance and, if we don’t offer the course you’re looking for, we’ll help you find someone who does.
Tagged as: AET; CAVA; Assessor, Assessing
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