What is a work-based assessment?
Within your apprenticeship programme your tutor will use a variety of different assessment methods. If you are undertaking an Apprenticeship Framework (Level 3 and 4), one of these methods will be a work-based assessment. You no doubt will hear this known as “your observation”.
An observation involves your assessor observing you, the apprentice, undertaking a task or series of tasks in your regular workplace as part of your normal duties (“on-the-job”).
The observation is complemented by the assessor asking you questions to further explore your understanding of what you are doing and why you are doing something in a certain way. Questioning is likely to continue after the observation especially if there is an opportunity to expand on something or the assessor require more clarity.
A well-designed observation is using this holistic approach and provides the best and most valid assessment of occupational competence.
Why is work-based assessment important?
There are many people who start a new job and they don’t do an apprenticeship. For these employees, they have to rely on the new company they work for having someone in place who can teach you new skills and give you the experiences you need in your job. For these individuals this experience will be very varied with many having no one to support them to develop their skills. It also requires that employers have a structured approach to their internal training to ensure that all aspects of your job role are covered. In many cases this is more ad hoc and very much depends on the staff who are training you to do the job.
Within an apprenticeship there is a great emphasis based on both the employer and the training company to ensure that throughout your programme you expand on your knowledge but also gain valuable work-based experiences so that you develop in your job role.
Who is involved in the work-based assessment?
- On a day to day basis your workplace mentor/manager and more experienced peers are continually assessing your competencies/skills and by supporting you every day in your job role they will be able to judge your progress. This may result in formal processes in the workplace, such as monthly supervisions and appraisals.
- Your assessor will be unlikely to visit you in the early stages of your apprenticeship as there needs to be some time for you to start to grow and develop in your role.
Reviews and Witness Testimonies – another part of work-based assessment
· Until the time your assessor visits they will still be monitoring your “on the job” progress by means of regular reviews. The reviews should capture your own personal feedback on your progress as well as the input and feedback from your manager.
· The assessor will also discuss with your manager the requirement to produce a witness testimony. The witness testimony will be based on the outcomes/criteria within the specified units you are completing within your apprenticeship. This means that they are very specific in their content and they build up a picture of where your competencies are at that point in time and where you may next need to develop your work-based skills.
Off the job work- based assessment
Whilst some of the off the job time will be spent knowledge doing based activities such as reading this protected time allows many practical aspects of the training to be factored in like using a new piece of equipment or shadowing someone doing a task you are not yet trained to do but you should know about it and may well be part of your job role in the future.
Planning your work – based assessment
Your assessor will discuss the details with you and you will be able to plan ahead for this assessment. You will understand what outcomes and criteria you will be covering during the assessment and it is important to understand, that the assessor is only assessing you on your level of competencies you have in doing your regular job role.
On the day
All of our tutor/assessor are skilled at putting apprentices at ease and the vast majority of you will enjoy the experience. If you are worried/nervous then discussing this with your tutor will allow them to provide the right support and guidance you need on the day. Earlier I mentioned that the assessor will ask you questions during and often after the assessment and these questions are centred on the job role/tasks you regularly carry out anyway – so you should be at ease with these too.
Should you have any concerns or worries leading up to your work-based assessment, your tutor will be happy to discuss these with you and support you to enjoy the assessment.