Quality Assurance Policy
Solvo Vir operates a robust system of internal quality assurance to ensure a high standard of programme delivery for learners and employers across all accredited centres, in accordance with Awarding Organisational requirements.
This Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Policy provides detailed information about how Solvo Vir will assure the quality of its programmes for which it is registered to deliver. It outlines our responsibilities as a Centre to ensure:
- Appropriate design of a programme to meet programme delivery or unit specifications and rules of combination
- Effective delivery that meets learner’s expectations of agreed learner journey
- The accuracy and consistency of assessment decisions between assessors
- Assessors are consistent in their interpretation of qualification or national occupational standards
- Maintenance of documentation audit trail to enable certification and distribution to learners
- Monitoring, review and evaluation for continuous improvement
Company procedures are in place to provide a description of the Internal Quality Assurance processes accessible to staff via the Shared Google Drive.
All staff have an awareness of company policies including Assessment, Plagiarism & Cheating, Safeguarding and Equality & Diversity.
This policy is a continual working document and will be reviewed and revised as necessary (As a minimum it should be reviewed annually with all other Solvo Vir Policies).
Overall strategic management of the Quality Assurance Framework is the responsibility of the Head of Quality reporting to the Senior Management Group (SMG) on a monthly basis.
The Quality Manager is responsible for:
- Drawing up and implementing an annual First Party Audit (FPA) programme of internal quality audits across the business and a range of learning activities.
- Ensuring that all internal and external Audit recommendations are addressed.
- Co-ordinating the monitoring, review and evaluation of the quality of the delivery of teaching and learning throughout the business.
- Co-ordinating the Self-Assessment Reporting (SAR) process including the production of Self-Assessment Reports and of action plans.
- Co-ordinating the updating of Quality Procedures for the Learner’s Journey.
- Management and implementation of appropriate change to ensure continuous improvement and compliance with all new quality initiatives.
- Development, implementation and monitoring of learner and stakeholder views about teaching, learning and assessment provision.
All Senior Managers will work closely with their staff to develop effective quality control procedures in order to achieve the highest possible level of quality assurance.
All staff will have quality assurance responsibilities including: undertaking file audits, interviewing learners and employers; attending standardisation meetings and contributing to on-going continuous improvement through their job role.
Overall responsibility for quality matters rests with Solvo Vir’s Head of Quality.
Day-to-Day responsibility for ensuring the policy is put into practice is delegated to the Assessment team with responsibility for quality in their job description.
Solvo Vir employees have an equal responsibility for ensuring that the Solvo Vir’s Quality Assurance policy is adhered to and of notifying the Head of Quality of any actual / potential issues. Staff should consult with the Head of Quality on any matters that affect this policy.
The Head of Quality will be the person with the overall responsibility and accountability for Solvo Vir’s Internal Quality Assurance Process and the roles and responsibilities of the Internal Quality Assuror (IQA).
Appointment of Occupationally Competent Trainer/Assessors & Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Personnel
All Assessors and IQAs will have occupational competence and relevant professional qualifications. New Trainer/Assessors will be expected to gain the recognised qualifications within 6 months of taking up post and will be given the necessary support, training and time to achieve this as part of on-going Continuous Professional Development.
Role of the Trainer/Assessor
It is the responsibility of all Trainer/Assessors to:
- Use documentation provided by the IQA
- Ensure that learners are provided with assignments that are fit for purpose, to enable them to produce appropriate evidence for assessment
- Assess learners evidence using only the awarding organisation assessment and grading criteria
- Ensure that assessment decisions are impartial, valid and reliable
- Ensure validity, authenticity, currency and sufficiency of evidence
- Ensure that assessment procedures will minimise the opportunity for malpractice
- Maintain an accurate and detailed audit trail of student recruitment, induction, registration with the awarding organisation, assessment decisions and certification
- Ensure assessment of all programmes meets both the relevant national standards and the grading criteria for the qualification
- Ensure equal and fair access to assessment for all learners and that the methods used are valid (appropriate for each student and qualification) and maximise holistic assessment opportunities
- Observe learner’s performance through formative assessment and/or conduct other forms of assessment in accordance with the qualification requirements
- Seek to prevent misuse of the conditions for special student requirements, (for example where learners are permitted support) and that details of all learners that are entitled to special consideration are sent to the relevant awarding organisation
- Ensure all learners enrolled onto a qualification can claim Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) as a valid method of assessment that considers whether they can demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, understanding or skills they already possess and do not need to further develop through a course of learning
- Ensure that once learners are enrolled, registration with the awarding organisation takes place according to the schedule set by the Admin Team
- Ensure roll-on, roll-off short courses are registered within one month of enrolment
- Ensure that assessment schedules are planned, published (issued to learners and relevant staff), monitored and allow for naturally occurring evidence
- Resources provided enable assessment to be performed accurately and appropriately, leading to assessment decisions that are valid, authentic, reliable and sufficient
- Ensure learners are provided with assessment material and assignments that have been internally verified as fit for purpose, which enable them to produce appropriate evidence for assessment
- Ensure that dates for submission of formative assessment are clearly visible and marked work is turned around within 15 working days
- Ensure that during the programme, accurate records of assessment and achievement, at criterion level are tracked and documented
- Ensure assessment processes minimise the opportunity for malpractice from both the student and staff; any such practice will be subject to student or staff disciplinary procedures
- Demonstrate commitment to anti-discriminatory practice and equal opportunities
- Ensure learners declare that submitted work is their own, use appropriate citations and referencing for research sources and that authenticity is checked -we may use electronic checking systems to minimise or eliminate plagiarism
- Ensure that feedback is constructive, motivational, relates to the assessment criteria, provides clear guidelines for improvement and informs the next step in the process
- Ensure maintenance of confidentiality for sensitive information
- Ensure learners who wish to appeal against an internal assessment decision, i.e. If the student considers that their work has been wrongly assessed and wishes to appeal, are fully informed of the appeals process
The centre agrees to:
- Register or enter learners for an examination or assessment in accordance with the awarding organisations published procedures for that qualification
- Maintain a unique learner identifier (UCI) or unique student number (ULN) for each learner entered for an examination or assessment and to ensure that the same UCI is used consistently for the learner over time to enable aggregation of units and qualifications
- Enter learner under names that can be verified against suitable identification such as a birth certificate, passport or driver’s licence. We may need to check that the name the learner is using within the centre is his/her legal name rather than a ‘known as’ name. This will help to prevent issues at a later date when the learner may need to verify that he/she is the person named on the certificate
- Verify the identity of all learners that they enter for examinations or assessments.
- Make suitable arrangements to receive, check and store question papers and examination material safely and securely at all times
- Take all reasonable steps to maintain the integrity of the examinations/assessments, including the security of all assessment materials
- Assist an awarding organisation in carrying out any reasonable monitoring activities
- Ensure that all venues used for examinations and assessments, records and secure storage facilities are open to inspection
- Create examination/assessment conditions, including on-screen and computer-based assessments, which ensure that the work submitted is that of the learner alone using only the items/materials specified
It is the responsibility of the IQA to ensure:
- All awarding organisation communication is communicated to the Senior Management Group
- Liaise with and organise Standards Verifier visits in accordance with award organisation requirements
- Ensure that assessment staff are sufficiently experienced/qualified (TAQA, CAVA, A1, D32, D33, or equivalent qualification) are allocated to the programme
- Ensure that any unqualified assessors/IQAs have all assessment decisions/internal quality assurance decisions are countersigned by a qualified Assessor/IQA
- Ensure that records of departmental qualifications are kept centrally and up to date
- Ensure that staff new to the programme are inducted in line with Solvo Vir’s procedures
- Standardised internal verification documentation is provided and used
- Provide appropriate assessment materials including programme specification and standard recording documentation
- Advising and supporting Trainer/Assessors to assist them in interpreting and applying the standards correctly and consistently
- An annual internal verification schedule, linked to assessment plans, is in place
- Secure records of all internal verification activity are maintained for three years
- Produce and follow a documented IQA strategy for each programme (reviewed annually)
- The outcome of internal verification is used to enhance future assessment practice and all assessments are subject to internal verification sampling
- Ensure assessor to candidate ratio is compliant with awarding organisation requirements to enable fair access to assessment
- Ensure all assessment decisions in (QCF) NVQ qualifications made by trainee internal quality assurers’ and assessors are countersigned by qualified quality assurers’ and assessors’ who hold the relevant vocational qualifications
- Each verified sample will be appropriately structured to include assessor work from all units/ programmes, processes, assessment methods, sites and teams:
- All the assignment briefs or assessment tools used in every unit is verified
- A sample of assessment decisions made for every unit are verified
- A sample of assessment decisions from every assessor is verified
- That within the sample:
- The range of assessment decisions made is included
- The experience of the assessor is considered when setting the sample size
- The sample size is sufficient to assure the accuracy of the assessment decisions for the whole group
- The sampling process is planned and documented
- Providing Trainer/Assessors with prompt, accurate and constructive feedback on their assessment decisions
- Undertake an active role in raising issues of good practice in assessment
- Undertake audits of the IQA procedure to ensure compliance
- Identify and address staff development activities as required for the programme and awarding organisation regulations
- Record and document all appeals including nature and outcomes
- Ensure that all certification claims are authorised
- Ensure that learners have been made aware of the complaints and appeals procedure
- Participate in the complaints and appeals procedure, liaised with learners and all involved
Requirements of Internal Quality Assurer (IQA)
In order to deliver highly effective assessment which is appropriate, consistent, fair and transparent we need to ensure that our IQAs have the necessary skills to develop Trainer/Assessors:
- IQAs must have the appropriate knowledge, experience and occupation competence and qualifications relevant to the vocational qualifications for which they are responsible (as defined in the assessment strategy provided by the Sector Skills Council and Awarding Organisation) so that an accurate judgement is made regarding learner performance.
- IQAs understand Solvo Vir’s Internal Quality Assurance policy and procedures, the awarding organisation quality assurance procedures, the qualification standards and the rules of combination for achievement of the qualification.
- IQAs for competency-based programmes are qualified to the appropriate level.
The centre agrees to:
- Notify an awarding organisation as soon as it is discovered, by completing the appropriate documentation, any established, suspected or alleged case of malpractice (which includes maladministration)
- Notification must be made to an awarding organisation whether involving a student (during examinations or following the authentication of controlled assessment, coursework or verification of other assessed qualifications) or malpractice or maladministration by a member of staff
- Investigate any instances of suspected malpractice (which includes maladministration)
Conflicts of interest in assessment
Solvo Vir has an obligation to identify, monitor and manage any conflicts of interest in assessment outcomes. Therefore, Solvo Vir will take all reasonable steps to avoid any part of the assessment of a learner being undertaken by any person who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment. This includes internal quality assurance activities.
Due to the size of the centre, some roles may be undertaken by the same person. However, the Trainer/Assessor role and the internal quality assurer role must be carried out separately. The Trainer/Assessor will not quality assure their own assessments as this would present a conflict of interest.
Individuals should not be involved in the assessment or the quality assurance of assessment decisions at a centre in which they have a personal interest or, where this happens, they must ensure that the assessment process is subject to scrutiny by those without personal interest.
Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Sampling Strategy
All IQA activities, planning sampling, feedback sampling, evidence sampling and Trainer/Assessor observations are planned and carried out to ensure that assessment decisions and practices are regularly sampled and findings are acted upon to ensure consistency and fairness.
Sampling plans cover:
- The assessment decisions of all assessors
- All units
- All assessment methods
- Learners at different stages of their awards
- All assessment records
- Formative / Summative quality assurance
The details specific to our organisation are:
Trainer/Assessors must be occupationally competent in their field in which they assess or internally quality assuring.
IQA planning is completed electronically, monthly by reporting on E-track portfolios.
The information is gathered from our Maytas system, and cascaded to the Trainer/Assessor and IQA.
IQA is planned electronically for the duration of the learner’s programme so that IQA’s and Assessors are fully aware of all activities in advance.