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blog navigating excellence different techniques for externally sampling evidence of assessment

Navigating Excellence: Different techniques for externally sampling evidence of assessment

blog navigating excellence different techniques for externally sampling evidence of assessment

Level 4 Award in External Quality Assurance: A Beacon of Assessment Excellence"

The realm of educational assessment is a critical arena where the quality of learning experiences is determined. One of the cornerstones ensuring this quality is the Level 4 Award in External Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice. In this blog, we'll delve deep into this award's pivotal role in maintaining assessment excellence.

Crafting a Comprehensive Sampling Plan: The EQA's Toolbox

At the heart of ensuring assessment quality lies the concept of a sampling plan. Often referred to as a sampling strategy, this plan is the bedrock upon which the EQA's activities are built. It's through this plan that a variety of data is collected, allowing the EQA to make informed judgments about assessment quality.

The Diverse Methods of Data Collection

To build a robust sampling plan, it's crucial to understand the diverse methods of data collection at the EQA's disposal. These methods include:

Vertical Sampling: A Focused Approach

Vertical sampling involves selecting a single unit or learning outcome and assessing it across multiple assessors or multiple sites. This focused approach allows the EQA to deep-dive into specific aspects of the assessment process.

Horizontal Sampling: A Learner-Centric Perspective

In contrast, horizontal sampling broadens the scope by assessing several units or learning outcomes, but all within a single learner's assessment. This approach provides valuable insights into individual learner experiences.

Diagonal Sampling: The Holistic Assessment Picture

Diagonal sampling takes a holistic approach, involving samples from various units and learners. This method paints a comprehensive picture of assessment quality and course delivery.

Thematic Sampling: Targeting Specific Aspects

Thematic sampling narrows the focus further by selecting samples based on specific activities. This method allows EQAs to delve deep into specific aspects of assessments.

Flexibility in Sampling Plans

A key takeaway is that EQAs aren't limited to a single data collection method. Instead, they can create a sampling plan that combines these diverse methods to gain a well-rounded perspective.

The Vital Role of EQA in Gathering Samples

With the sampling plan in hand, it's the EQA's responsibility to gather samples of all assessment activities. This process comes in two forms:

Interim Sampling: Keeping Learner Progress on Track

Interim sampling involves monitoring learners at different stages of their assessment journey. This ensures that assessments are proceeding smoothly and learners are on the right track.

Summative Sampling: Validating Assessment Decisions

In contrast, summative sampling focuses on reviewing the assessment decisions made by assessors. EQAs must follow an audit trail to ensure that assessments meet criteria such as validity, authenticity, reliability, currency, and sufficiency.

Observing Practice: Real-Time Assessment Insight

One powerful way to ensure assessment quality is by observing assessments and IQA practices in action. EQAs have the unique opportunity to witness decisions as they happen and engage in insightful discussions with staff and learners.

Sampling Assessed Work: Fairness, Safety, and Ethics

Sampling assessed work is the cornerstone of EQA activities. It's not about re-assessing or re-marking; instead, EQAs check the correctness of assessment and IQA decisions, while ensuring the entire process adheres to principles of fairness, safety, and ethics.

Remote Sampling: Challenges and Solutions

Remote sampling presents unique challenges, as EQAs can't physically observe practice or interact face-to-face. However, this section explores how EQAs can navigate these challenges, emphasizing communication and precision.

Understanding Risk Ratings: Impact on Assessment Centres

Assessment centres are categorized based on risk ratings, which impact the level of scrutiny they undergo. These risk ratings include:

Agreeing on Action and Improvement

Even in low-risk centres, EQAs might identify areas for development. This section explores how EQAs collaborate with centre staff to establish SMART action points and document them for improvement. It also touches on the consequences of missing action point deadlines.

Diverse Methods of Sampling

In today's dynamic educational landscape, EQAs employ various sampling methods:

Observation: Realism Meets Competence

Observation entails witnessing practical assessments in real or simulated work environments, providing a realistic measure of competence.

LMS Portfolios: Remote Sampling Made Convenient

Leveraging electronic portfolios simplifies remote sampling, allowing EQAs to collect evidence remotely, although with an increased risk of plagiarism.

Projects and Assignments: Comprehensive Sampling

Projects and assignments play a crucial role in comprehensive sampling, especially for larger units or complete assessments.

Technology-Enabled Testing: Efficiency in Assessment

Many assessments now leverage online testing, including multiple-choice question papers, whether paper-based or online.

Distance Learning: Adapting Sampling Strategies

Distance learning programs require EQAs to adapt their sampling strategies, often combining in-person and remote sampling for a well-rounded assessment.

In the ever-evolving landscape of educational assessment, EQAs stand as guardians of quality, ensuring learners receive the education they deserve.

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matthew reynolds
Mathew Reynolds | Managing Director and Teacher
Welcome to the ETA. It is my goal to help you get your qualifications in the easiest and quickest way. Unlike other training providers, I am putting my name and reputation on the line, I am not hiding behind logos, this is me, this is my company and I am accountable for you to reach your goals.
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