END POINT ASSESSMENT
What is an End Point Assessment?
End-Point Assessment is the final test for apprentices during their apprenticeship. It is designed to be an objective and impartial assessment of an apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours. Activities are different for every apprenticeship, but they all follow the same overall structure.
Before the apprenticeship begins, an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) will have been chosen by the Employer to conduct the assessment of the apprentice. An EPAO is a third-party organisation, separate from the Employer and Training Provider, that conducts the final assessment of the apprentice and determines the final grade.
The Employer makes the final decision about which EPAO is chosen. However, many Employers take guidance from Training Providers on which organisation is the best fit for them.
Before an Apprentice can progress to the End-Point Assessment stage, they must have achieved the relevant Functional Skills qualifications in English, maths and ICT, or achieved equivalent qualifications.
If the Apprentice is undertaking a Level 2 Apprenticeship Standard, they will need to have successfully completed a Level 1 Functional Skills qualification (or equivalent) and attempted Level 2 Functional Skills qualification in both English and Maths.
If the Apprentice is undertaking a Level 3 or Higher Apprenticeship Standard, they will need to have successfully completed a Level 2 Functional Skills qualification (or equivalent) in both English and Maths.
When the apprentice has completed their formative training, there will be a short period of time where the Employer, Training Provider and apprentice will assess the apprentice’s progress. The Employer will then determine whether or not the Apprentice is ready to take on the End-Point Assessment.
Generally, the Gateway stage is where all aspects of the apprenticeship must be completed. These could include:
- Any on-programme qualifications, including Functional Skills
- Any finalised projects, such as portfolios or projects
- Any other requirements outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard
For some apprenticeships, there will need to be a meeting between parties involved in the apprenticeship to determine how and when the assessment process will unfold.
How Does End Point-Assessment Work?
Towards the end of an apprenticeship, the Employer and Training Provider will begin preparing the apprentice for the End-Point Assessment. The schedule for all the assessments will be determined by the End-Point Assessor, who is hired by the EPAO.
End-Point Assessment is made up of a number of assessment elements which the apprentice must pass in order to complete the apprenticeship.
These assessments are designed to give the apprentice the opportunity to demonstrate all the required knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard. These are the criteria required for them to be fully competent in their role.
During the assessment period, the apprentice will undergo several assessments over a set period of time, which will be led and graded by the End-Point Assessor.
Search for your Apprenticeship Standard on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education website to find out the requirements of the apprenticeship and what the apprentice will accomplish through their programme.
Who Conducts the End-Point Assessment?
The End-Point Assessment will be conducted primarily by the End-Point Assessor.
This individual will be an assessment professional with years of experience in their related field, whether this is healthcare, hospitality or management. The End-Point Assessor will be assigned to the apprentice by the EPAO.
The End-Point Assessor will conduct and lead the End-Point Assessment process. For some assessments, they will actively engage with the apprentice. For others, they will remain a detached observer.
For instance, if the apprenticeship contains a professional discussion, it will be the End-Point Assessor leading the discussion and asking the apprentice a set of prepared questions. However, during a practical observation, the End-Point Assessor will observe the apprentice conducting their normal duties in their workplace to assess their skills and behaviours.
Usually, the End-Point Assessor is the only individual other than the apprentice involved during an assessment, although there are exceptions. For instance, during a professional discussion, the Employer or one of their representatives will attend the discussion in order to support the apprentice and to clarify any answers given. It is also not required for the End-Point Assessor to conduct or invigilate an online situational judgement test.
The assessment activities an apprentice undertakes depends on the apprenticeship they are taking. Assessment activities can include:
- Professional discussions
- Knowledge tests
- Situational judgement tests
- Practical observations
- Question and answer sessions
- Culinary challenges
All assessment activities will be designed to best draw out the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours while maintaining a rigorous and impartial assessment of their abilities.
The rules surrounding each assessment differ from standard to standard. Make sure you know all the rules before the End-Point Assessment period begins.
How Long Does It Take?
The length of the assessment period depends on the apprenticeship.
In some apprenticeships, it can take a few weeks, while in others the process can last several months. The length of the process might also depend on the judgement of the End-Point Assessor and the progress of the apprentice through the assessment process.
Where Does It Take Place?
Unless otherwise stated, assessment activities will take place on the Employer’s premises. Employers and Training Providers should ensure that the premises are prepared for the individual assessment activities, and that any equipment and/or resources are at hand for the apprentice to use.
The assessment period is complete once all assessment activities have been passed by the apprentice. The End-Point Assessor will then assign a final grade for the apprentice based on their performance.
Grading for an apprenticeship is split up into particular grading scales: either Pass/Distinction or Pass/Merit/Distinction, depending on the apprenticeship.
What About Retakes?
If an apprentice does not pass their assessment, they will need to retake the assessment in order to pass. (For some apprenticeships, a certain amount of time must be taken between the failed assessment and the retake.)
The cost of retakes could be covered by the Employer’s Apprenticeship Levy pot or by the funding allocated. If no funding remains, the Employer will need to finance retakes.
When Will the Apprentice Get Their Certificate?
When all assessment activities have been passed, the EPAO will request a certificate on behalf of the apprentice from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The ESFA aims to issue publicly-funded certificates within 10 working days of the request.
If you currently do not have a job, the National Apprenticeship Service website www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship advertises apprenticeship opportunities with a wide variety of organisations and within numerous sectors.