How to standardise assessments

Now that employers are leading the development of standards for their apprentices, Trailblazer groups will set the industry standards then develop an assessment approach designed to confirm that standards are being met.

Through assessment, an individual assessor will need to ensure that the apprentice has provided enough evidence of sufficient quality to confirm that he or she has reached the required standard. However, for an assessment to be reliable, it is also important that all assessors share a common understanding of the standards.

One of the processes used to ensure this is standardisation, which encompasses the processes to check, adjust, and ensure that assessment processes and criteria are applied consistently. Standardisation is an essential part of ensuring the consistency of assessment judgements.

Standardisation exercises identify any discrepancies between assessors and allow adjustments to be made to remedy these. There are different ways of carrying out standardisation, depending on the nature of the assessment evidence.

Here are some examples:

• When the evidence consists of written tests, double marking allows assessors to review the same evidence to check each other’s interpretation of the standard.

• When evaluating product evidence, assessors should work together on examples of apprentices’ work. By discussing discrepancies in their judgements, and coming to a shared understanding based on the assessment criteria, a common standard will be applied.

• When assessing performance, practical activities, or process skills, assessors will also need a similar form of trial, perhaps involving pairs of assessors carrying out dual assessment. Both should initially make independent judgements, and then discuss discrepancies and reach consensus.

It can be advantageous for assessors to work together as it encourages the sharing and dissemination of good practice.

For more information and guidance on assessment, learning and the new apprenticeships visit SQA’s dedicated area for trailblazers and employers, click here.