Digital Industries Trailblazer Apprenticeship: Approach to Assessment

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1 Digital Industries Trailblazer Apprenticeship: Approach to Assessment Supported by e-skills UK

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3 Digital Industries Trailblazer Apprenticeships: Approach to Assessment Contents 1. Introduction and Overview Formative assessment Knowledge assessment Final summative assessment Ensuring independence Delivering consistent, reliable judgements Delivering accurate, valid judgements Graded assessments Affordability and sustainability Quality assurance and quality control Manageability and feasibility Professional body recognition Implementation Plan Separate Documents Occupational Brief for Software Developer (available from e-skills UK) Occupational Brief for Network Engineer (available from e-skills UK) 3

4 Digital Industries Trailblazer Apprenticeships: Approach to Assessment 1. Introduction and Overview The apprenticeship Standards for Software Developer and Network Engineer were designed by the industry for apprentices employed in a wide variety of different organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Employers likely to use the new Standards include: Large IT businesses, each of which may take on hundreds of apprentices a year, where the Apprenticeship pathway is a mainstay of recruitment; The armed forces, which takes on hundreds of apprentices a year in specialist IT trades across all three services; Small and medium-sized specialist IT businesses, which may employ apprentices as core staff to provide the skills for growth; Large non-it businesses, which may employ a handful of apprentices in IT roles, typically at head office; Small and medium-sized non-it businesses, which may take on a small number of apprentices in these roles, to support their core business. It is likely that relatively large numbers of people will enrol on apprenticeships in both roles. The actual job role of the apprentice will vary significantly from one employer to the next, and may include for example: Software developer web developer, application developer, mobile app developer, games developer, real time systems developer. Network engineer network technician, systems engineer, network administrator. Our approach to assessment, therefore, has been designed to be appropriate, relevant and feasible in a wide range of contexts while also ensuring consistency across these contexts. Employers have adopted the following broad principles to inform the approach: Assessment should motivate apprentices to do their very best, not just do enough to satisfy a minimum standard for example by using a high stakes method in the synoptic project, which gives apprentices a clear performance goal to aim at. The assessment process should add value to both the apprentice and the employer, by complementing and building on normal performance management and development tools. It should enable and encourage progression and continuous professional development, by being linked to professional qualifications and recognition. 4

5 It should position the apprenticeship, not just as a job, but as the starting point for a career in the sector assessment at the end marks a clear recognition of achievements, on which the individual can build. The assessment methods chosen should ensure relevance and consistency, irrespective of the specific job role of the apprentice. Costs and practicalities should be appropriate and proportionate to employers with small numbers of apprentices. Assessment should be driven by the Standards and should cover full competence in the relevant occupation. The approach is based on employers requirements that apprentices a) are able to perform their role to a demonstrably high standard on completion; and b) make good progress towards this goal throughout the apprenticeship. Overview of Assessment The assessment is based on a modular series of knowledge assessments - which may include an internationally recognised vendor or professional qualification if the employer chooses - which are taken at agreed points during the apprenticeship programme. Each of these must be passed before the final summative assessment takes place. A final summative assessment, completed in the last few months of the apprenticeship, including three elements a summative portfolio - containing evidence from real work projects which have been completed during the apprenticeship, usually towards the end, and which, taken together, cover the totality of the standard a synoptic project - giving the apprentice the opportunity to undertake a businessrelated project over a one-week period away from the normal workplace a structured interview with an assessor - exploring what has been produced in the portfolio and the project as well as looking at how it has been produced The independent assessor will assess and grade the final assessment and will decide whether to award successful apprentices with a pass, a merit or a distinction. The approach is illustrated in the following diagram and then described in detail in the rest of the paper. The Tech Partnership expects that all other IT and Digital apprenticeship Standards developed in future will adopt a similar approach as appropriate to the content in the standard. 5

6 Learning and formative assessment Apprentice: carries out work as defined by their employer, selects evidence for their portfolio from work carried out towards the end of the apprenticeship and completes the Knowledge Modules Summative Assessment Apprentice: submits portfolio, completes synoptic project and attends interview Substantial piece of work * Substantial piece of work Substantial piece of work Summative portfolio Synoptic project Vendor or professional qualification ** Knowledge Assessment Modules *** Interview Employer: creates opportunities for the apprentice to carry out work and produce outcomes; confirms that apprentice is ready for summative assessment Training Provider: maps and assesses work against the Standard, helps apprentice select evidence for the summative portfolio, confirms readiness for summative assessment Approved Assessment Organisations: set and mark the knowledge modules Independent Assessor: assesses and grades the apprentice on the basis of synoptic project, summative portfolio and interview Independent Moderation: quality controls the independent assessment service Threshold: Apprentice deemed to be ready for summative assessment * Created when an apprentice carries out a complete and/or discrete piece of work, having first learned and applied the relevant skills/competencies and behaviours and the work is done to a satisfactory standard ** Mapped against the knowledge assessment to allow exemptions against knowledge modules *** Modular, to enable equivalents against the vendor and professional qualifications 6

7 2. Formative assessment This is a minimum two-year apprenticeship and therefore needs a robust process of formative assessment to ensure that apprentices make good progress towards the final summative assessment, which itself must be of sufficient quality to attest to the level of skills, knowledge and behaviours. Our approach to ensuring that apprentices make good progress in moving towards full competence is based on regular monitoring by employers and training providers plus knowledge assessment at appropriate points during the apprenticeship. Training providers will need to work closely with the employer to plan and deliver assessments appropriately. This approach focuses that relationship on those things that add value to the employer as it centres on real work competencies demonstrated in a real work environment. Employers will use their normal performance management processes to monitor the progress of the Apprentice, provide feedback and guide development. Training providers will support this by ensuring that the requirements of the apprenticeship are reflected in these processes, and by filling any gaps through their work with apprentices. Employers and training providers will carry out joint reviews of progress at regular intervals, involving apprentices, line managers and others directly involved, e.g. mentors, workplace coaches etc. They will agree how any issues are to be resolved. Apprentices will carry out knowledge assessments, via approved vendor or professional qualification(s) and/or modular knowledge assessments, at appropriate points as agreed by the employer and the training provider. Apprentices will be encouraged to develop and maintain examples of their work throughout their apprenticeship, as this is a key part of the ongoing formative assessment. Some of this work will be selected for a summative portfolio, to be used during the final summative assessment (see below). The decision as to when an apprentice is ready to cross the threshold from learning and formative assessment into the summative assessment phase will be made by the employer and the training provider based on their monitoring of apprentices progress. In order to move into the summative phase apprentices will need to have completed all of the knowledge modules (or the relevant vendor or professional qualifications as appropriate) and produced a summative portfolio. 2. Knowledge assessment The modular knowledge assessment assesses the technical knowledge and understanding as set out in the Standards and as further expanded in the Occupational Briefs. In totality, these modules will cover the full range of the required knowledge and understanding. The knowledge modules will be developed against the Standard and then mapped against selected vendor and professional qualifications. This will enable: 7

8 specific vendor or professional qualifications to give exemption from the relevant knowledge module (s); and specific knowledge modules to be the equivalent of defined vendor and professional qualifications. This is illustrated in the following diagram. Vendor or Professional Qualification Vendor Qual 1 Professional Cert 2 Vendor Qual 3 Vendor Qual 4 Exemptions and Equivalents Exempts module A and C Exempts module B Exempts module F Modules of Knowledge Assessment Module A Module B Module C Module D Module E In practice it means that: employers can select one (or more) of the defined vendor or professional qualifications, in which case the apprentice would only have to take the other knowledge modules; OR employers can select to do all of the knowledge modules; and apprentices do not have to be assessed more than once in specific knowledge areas. The approved list of vendor and professional qualifications will be specified by the Tech Partnership by the end of October and will ensure that these are only those that are recognised and valued across the sector. The Tech Partnership will review this list annually to ensure that these continue to be the most relevant. This list will be no more than ten of the most established, widely recognised and highly valued vendor qualifications for each standard. For example for Network Engineer this is likely to include Cisco CCNA 1-4; Microsoft MCP in networking; Comptia Cloud+ or Network+ and Microsoft Active Directory. for Software Developer this is likely to include the vendor certificate relevant to the language (eg Java, C#, PHP, Python, HTML); and the ITIL Diploma Once this list has been finalised, by the end of October, these will be mapped against the knowledge modules, once developed, to determine exemptions and equivalents. The knowledge modules and vendor/professional qualifications can be taken at any time during the apprenticeship to ensure relevance to the job role and to maximise the impact of learning. The training provider and employer will agree which combination of qualifications and modules will be taken and the schedule for these assessments. Wherever possible each module will be capable of on-line assessment. 8

9 All modules of the knowledge assessment, or the equivalent vendor or professional qualifications, must be passed - and must be passed before the final summative assessment and grading takes place. 3. Final summative assessment This takes place in the last two or three months of the two-year apprenticeship, using three assessment methods: Summative portfolio Synoptic project Interview 4.1 Summative portfolio In the summative portfolio apprentices present evidence from real-work projects completed towards the end of the apprenticeship, illustrating the application of knowledge, skills and behaviours. The evidence contained in the portfolio will comprise a small number of complete and/or discrete pieces of work which, together, cover the totality of the Standard. These pieces of work will be produced by the apprentices having first learned and applied the relevant skills/competencies and behaviours. It will showcase their very best work, enabling them to demonstrate how they have applied their knowledge and understanding in a real-work environment to achieve real-work objectives. Employers and training providers will assist the apprentice to develop their portfolio to ensure that the summative portfolio is complete, that it covers the totality of the Apprenticeship Standard and has been done to a satisfactory standard. Wherever possible, this will be an e portfolio or other electronic platform. The completed portfolio will be assessed by an independent assessor who makes their own judgement on the quality of the work. The independent assessor may also note particular aspects of the work that they wish to discuss with the apprentice during the interview, either to confirm their judgement and/or provide further information on which to base their grading decisions. 4.2 Synoptic project The synoptic project presents evidence from a business-related project testing the application of higher order skills, techniques and knowledge. It is designed to assess apprentices in a consistent way, irrespective of their particular workplace and their particular role within their company, and must therefore be completed outside of day-to-day work pressures. High-level descriptors of such a project are given below for each of the two Standards. Software Developer This could be a project to design and develop a new product to achieve defined business objectives, for a defined user group or customer group, using one of the defined languages, within defined business processes, and applying appropriate legislation. 9

10 Network Engineer This could be a project to plan and configure a network to meet a defined specification, to satisfy security requirements, using one or more of the defined tools, to meet specified criteria and performance levels. A bank of up to ten business-related projects will be developed, tested and approved for each Standard. Each of these projects will present a typical business task, appropriate for an SME, an IT business, a large corporate or a non-it businesses. All of the projects will be comparable in terms of content and complexity; it is the context within which the skills and knowledge must be demonstrated that will vary. Training providers and employers will select the most appropriate project for each apprentice, based on their current job role. Each project will take about one week to complete. Apprentices will complete their project off-thejob, so that they are away from the day to day pressures of work and in a controlled' environment, which may be on the employer s premises or the training provider s premises. The requirements for the `controlled environment' will include a quiet room, away from the normal place of work, with a dedicated work-station, with access to all the required equipment and with an invigilator present to ensure it is their own work and to respond to any questions in a consistent way. Like the summative portfolio, the synoptic project is assessed by an independent assessor who makes their own judgement on the quality of the work. The independent assessor may also note particular aspects of the work that they wish to discuss with the apprentice during the interview, either to confirm their judgement and/or provide further information on which to base their grading decisions. Projects will be trialled to ensure they are valid, reliable and comparable to the other projects, before being approved for use. Projects will be monitored over time to ensure comparability and continuing relevance. At least half of the projects in each Standard will be available to complete online. 4.3 Interview The interview is a structured discussion between the apprentice and their independent assessor, focusing on the summative portfolio and the synoptic project. It covers both what the apprentice has done, and the standard of their work, and also how they have done it. This enables the assessment to include a broad range of skills and behaviours, such as Thinking and problem-solving skills; Customer, stakeholder and client relationships; Communication skills; and Business and commercial understanding. These behaviours are described in more detail in the occupational brief, together with examples of how they can be explored during the interview. The purpose of the interview is to: 10

11 clarify any questions the independent assessor has from their assessment of the summative portfolio and synoptic project; confirm and validate judgements about the quality of work; explore aspects of the work, including how it was carried out, in more detail; provide a basis for the independent assessor to make a holistic decision about the grade to be awarded. A structured brief will be developed for the independent assessor to support the discussion. This will ensure that consistent approaches are taken and that all key areas are appropriately explored. 4. Ensuring independence Independence and impartiality are achieved through the final summative assessment being undertaken by an independent assessor from a licensed third party. The independent assessor will make a holistic assessment of each apprentice s work, including the grade to be awarded, on the basis of evidence supplied in the summative portfolio and synoptic project, and through the interview. Organisations delivering the independent assessor service will be approved by the Tech Partnership, acting on behalf of the sector, and the Tech Partnership will be responsible for independent moderation of these services. 5. Delivering consistent, reliable judgements The assessment methods described above are designed to produce assessment outcomes that are consistent and reliable, allowing fair and proper comparison between apprentices employed in different types and sizes of organisation. The processes described in this section are designed to ensure the consistent application of the assessment processes and standards. The apprenticeships Standards define what is required in terms of skills, knowledge and behaviours. Our approach puts the Standards at the heart of the assessment process, ensuring that judgments on occupational competence are consistent and that there is standardisation and comparability between employers. The Tech Partnership will develop specifications for the tools, materials and techniques to be used in assessment and will specify the skills and experience required by independent assessors. These measures will provide the necessary confidence that those undertaking assessment have the necessary skills and industry knowledge to make reliable judgements. Awarding Organisations and other relevant organisations, such as BCS and APMG, will be invited to submit proposals for the provision of these services. The Tech Partnership will license a small number of organisations whose proposals fully meet the specification. 11

12 The Tech Partnership will award licenses to those organisations who can demonstrate that they meet the defined requirements. There will be a range of employer-defined requirements and criteria for Assessment Organisations including their proposed tools and materials to deliver the assessments their experience in delivering assessments their sector knowledge and understanding their credibility within the sector the capability and sector experience of their staff their internal verification processes their employer responsiveness their customer service processes their training and development plans their leadership and management arrangements their infrastructure and geographical coverage their quality assurance and quality control procedures their strategic and business plans Successful organisations will then be awarded a licence - showing that their services meet the employer-defined requirements and that they can deliver the required assessment services for these apprenticeships. Employers and training providers will be advised that the Tech Partnership have approved these Assessment Organisations to assess against these Standards. Licences will be formally reviewed on a bi-annual basis. This use of licensed third-party assessment organisations will ensure that everyone involved in assessment has a consistent approach and operates at the required standards Once these organisations have been licenced, they will develop the assessments and supporting materials, including documented criteria for the use of each assessment tool. These tools will be standardised and approved by the Tech Partnership before being trialled and tested and then approved for implementation. Particular attention will be given to ensuring that the tools are consistent and produce comparable results. Independent assessors will be required to be trained and approved in the use of the assessment tools. They will be provided with supporting information to help ensure that all assessments are made consistently and against the specification. The Assessment Organisations will be required to have robust internal quality assurance and verification processes to ensure that the quality, consistency and validity of assessments is maintained. The Tech Partnership will convene regular standardisation meetings between the licensed Assessment Organisations. The Tech Partnership's external moderation service will monitor and control the quality of the independent assessment services and will be active participants in the standardisation meetings. This moderation service will either be delivered by the Tech Partnership's own network of moderators or by subcontracting the moderation service to another organisation. This will ensure that there is a clear `line of sight' between the apprenticeship Standard, set by employers through the Tech Partnership, and the moderation of assessments against that Standard ensuring that what employers have specified is actually delivered. 12

13 Moderation will check that assessments are robust, that they assess fully against the standards, that they are undertaken consistently and to the same standard, and that the people undertaking the assessments have the skills and industry experience required and have the appropriate training. Immediate and appropriate corrective and remedial actions will be taken where any quality concerns are identified or raised. 6. Delivering accurate, valid judgements The assessment process has been developed specifically against the two Standards and is designed to test the totality of each Standard. The combination of three assessment methods in the final summative assessment ensures that the assessment of each apprentice is based on their performance and reflects accurately the quality of their work and the application of skills, knowledge and behaviours specified in the Standards. Taken together, the three components of the final summative assessment build a cumulative picture of performance against the Standards. They all require apprentices to demonstrate the application of skills, knowledge and behaviours in an integrated manner to deliver the required outcomes, enabling the independent assessor to make a holistic judgement about how well the apprentice meets or exceeds the Standards. The summative portfolio is based on a small number of real-work projects which, taken together, cover the totality of the standard, and provides a demonstration of the application of knowledge and competence in the work environment. This is a key factor for employers in the validity of the final assessment decision. The synoptic project gives apprentices the chance to demonstrate that they can apply the knowledge, skills and behaviours they have learned in controlled conditions, without the conflicting pressures often present in everyday work environments. This provides a relatively high degree of consistency and comparability, increasing the accuracy of the assessment decision. The interview with an independent assessor allows apprentices to demonstrate how they have carried out their work. This again increases accuracy and validity by providing the assessor with an opportunity to assess depth and breadth in the application of underlying knowledge, skills and behaviours. The role of the independent assessor is critical, which is why the licensing process is central to this approach - ensuring that assessments are only undertaken by suitably qualified and trained assessors, using approved tools and materials, with documented criteria, as well as robust internal verification and quality control processes. This will be overseen by the Tech Partnership's independent moderation service. 7. Graded assessments Independent assessors will grade apprentices, using all the information gained in the final summative assessment, against the high-level criteria for pass, merit and distinction defined below. 13

14 8.1 Pass To gain a pass, apprentices must have passed the modular knowledge assessment in its entirety. They must also, in the judgement of the independent assessor: have produced a summative portfolio that covers the skills, knowledge and behaviours specified in the Standards and shows that their work is at the expected level of quality; have completed a synoptic project that demonstrates work at the expected level of quality; have shown that their performance at work and in completing the synoptic project demonstrates the underlying knowledge, skills and behaviours. 8.2 Merit To be awarded a merit, apprentices must have passed the modular knowledge assessment in its entirety. They must also, in the judgement of the independent assessor: have produced a summative portfolio that covers the skills, knowledge and behaviours specified in the Standards and shows that their work is above the expected level of quality; have completed a synoptic project that demonstrates work above the expected level of quality; have shown that their performance at work demonstrates a high level of underlying knowledge, skills and behaviours. 8.3 Distinction To be awarded a distinction, apprentices must have passed the modular knowledge assessment in its entirety. They must also, in the judgement of the independent assessor: have produced a summative portfolio that covers the skills, knowledge and behaviours specified in the Standards and shows that their work is of an outstanding level of quality; have completed a synoptic project that demonstrates work at an outstanding level of quality; have shown that their performance at work demonstrates an exemplary level of underlying knowledge, skills and behaviours. Detailed criteria and exemplars for assessing pass, merit and distinction will be developed by the Tech Partnership to ensure consistent interpretation of these high-level criteria. The moderation service will validate and verify the assessments and the grades awarded by different assessors to ensure that these are fair and comparable. 14

15 In the event of an appeal against the grade awarded, the external moderation service will carry out an independent review of the evidence to confirm or modify the grade. 8. Affordability and sustainability The costs and practicality of assessment have been key considerations in the development of this approach, not least because of the number of smaller businesses who employ apprentices in these two roles. Cost effectiveness has been increased in a number of ways, including the removal of the current duplication in the assessment of knowledge, by having a modular approach which is flexible and recognises knowledge assessed through vendor and professional qualifications the pragmatic combination of assessment methods ensures breadth, validity and reliability to satisfy the assessment requirements whilst minimising additional, non-value adding assessment costs the removal of the current requirements for the collection of unnecessary evidence throughout the duration of the apprenticeship, by focusing on summative assessment the simplification of roles and responsibilities in the assessment process the involvement of the employer in defining the work projects reduces the need for multiple visits by assessors the development of on-line approaches, including on-line materials, resources and assessment processes, to enable scalability and cost-effectiveness Future arrangements will require the employer to co-invest in both the training and the assessment. It has, therefore, been essential to develop an approach to assessment which adds value to the employer. Consultation with awarding organisations and training providers has confirmed that the costs of this approach will be no more than the current arrangements, and could be significantly less. Their view is that less time will have to be spent on assessment, but that the time spent on assessment will be more value adding to the apprentice and the employer. They also recognise that they may need to have more experienced staff involved in the process. Our aim is that assessment costs will be 10-15% of the total cost of the apprenticeship. The direct costs of assessment are estimated as follows marking of knowledge modules hours per module for approx six modules assessment of summative portfolio of evidence hours interview - 2 hours assessment of final synoptic project - based on the model of a practical complex project completed over five days, with one assessor covering a group of up to five apprentices, giving a cost of 1 day of assessment per apprentice 15

16 This gives a direct cost of assessment of three days of assessor costs per apprentice. The overall cost of assessment will include a per-apprentice fee for moderation. This fee will cover the costs of licensing, moderation services and standardisation. The intention is that the same approach to assessment will be used for each of the Digital Industries apprenticeship standards, thereby providing a cost effective and sustainable approach. 9. Quality assurance and quality control The Tech Partnership s external moderation service will license, monitor and control the quality of the independent assessment services. Only organisations whose processes, tools, techniques and materials satisfy the specification, who operate their own robust quality assurance and internal verification processes and who are able to provide a truly independent assessment service will be licensed. Immediate and appropriate action will be taken where any quality concerns are raised. A formal appeals process will be designed, enabling any concerns to be identified quickly, and to ensure fairness and transparency. The Tech Partnership will develop and implement quality assurance, quality control and audit processes for the external moderation service to ensure relevance, validity, consistency and reliability of assessment. This will include the design and delivery of training and guidance for moderators. Statistical analysis of pass rates and grades will be used as a standardisation tool and outliers/exceptions will be investigated to check that assessment judgements are consistent and reliable. 10. Manageability and feasibility The Tech Partnership is a growing network of employers, led by Cisco, collaborating to create the skills to accelerate the growth of the digital economy. Over 100 employers are already actively involved - including the majority of those who have led the work to date on the Digital Industries Trailblazer Steering Group on behalf of the sector. Recognised by Government as the Industrial Partnership for the Information Economy, the Tech Partnership is the skills arm of the Information Economy Council. The Tech Partnership will be the independent body with ultimate authority for design of apprenticeship Standards for the tech sector; design of the specification for the assessment process against the Standards; quality assurance of the assessment process and service against the Standards and specification; and quality control of the application of those assessment processes. 16

17 Employers see the Tech Partnership as best placed to carry out this role as it is the only employer collaboration working to drive up skills across the sector. This approach ensures real employer leadership, maximises the use of available resources and optimises the impact of these developments across the sector. At a practical level, the growing, and open, collaboration between the employers who have led the development of these Standards and the approach to assessment is accelerating the sharing of best practices across different organisations, particularly supporting SMEs and those with smaller cohorts. The Tech Partnership, albeit new, is taking forward the work of e-skills UK and is supported by the staff of e-skills UK. This will ensure that the work required by the Tech Partnership to establish these new assessment services can take place in the required timescales. The use of a small number of quality assured, independent organisations offering the assessment services ensures that assessments will be conducted consistently whilst maintaining incentives for those organisation to be innovative and cost-effective. It will also ensure that there is capacity to meet immediate and future demand. The consultation with Awarding Organisations has shown that there is an appetite and a willingness to invest in the development of these proposed new approaches for the betterment of the sector. This approach requires the development of a number of on-line materials and resources, which may enable the utilisation of the development funding announced in the funding consultation. This will contribute to manageability. It will also enable updating within a tightly quality controlled environment. The use of on-line tools will enable services to be delivered remotely and to be scalable. 11. Professional body recognition Apprenticeships are a key entry point to the significant career opportunities that the digital industry sector can provide. The Register of IT Technicians provides independent recognition that completing a Trailblazer apprenticeship is the beginning of a career in the IT profession. People completing these apprenticeships will be eligible to apply for a place on the independent Register of IT Technicians, providing recognition of their competence in applying technical skills in a business environment whilst signing up to a professional code of conduct and behaviours. A place on the Register acknowledges that those achieving these standards have joined the professional community, and opens the door to the continued support, career development and guidance that professional bodies provide. Professional body involvement and recognition in the development of the standards and the approach to assessment is a further, independent, check on quality assurance both for the apprenticeships delivered against the standards and an individual s assessment against them. A letter of support from BCS, the professional body responsible for the development of the Register of IT Technicians, is attached. 17

18 12. Implementation Plan The approach to development and implementation will continue to be informed by close consultation with training providers, awarding organisations, professional bodies as well as other assessment specialists. The Tech Partnership will work closely with all of those involved in the development and delivery of training and assessment to learn any early lessons, to identify any required remedial actions and to share best practice. The following table shows the key milestones Occupational Briefs Finalise occupational briefs Knowledge Assessment Finalise required vendor and professional qualifications Licensed assessment organisations develop knowledge assessment modules against standard requirements Licensed assessment organisations map exemptions and equivalents with vendor and professional qualifications Tech Partnership approves knowledge assessments Tech Partnership test and trail of knowledge modules Knowledge assessment available for use Summative Portfolio Tech Partnership develop and finalise the specification for the summative portfolio Synoptic Project Tech Partnership further develop and finalise the specification for the synoptic project for each standard Licensed assessment organisations develop two synoptic projects for each standard Tech Partnership approves Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan 18

19 synoptic projects Tech Partnership test and trial of synoptic projects First two synoptic projects available for use Interview Tech Partnership develop specification for structured interview Assessment Organisations develop techniques and materials and for interviews Tech Partnership approve interview processes and materials Tech Partnership test and trial interview processes Interviews ready for use Assessment Services Tech Partnership develop and finalise specification for services and criteria for grading Tech Partnership invite awarding organisations and others to submit proposals Tech Partnership award licenses to those who can satisfy the requirements Moderation Services By April Tech Partnership develop specification for moderation services Tech Partnership develop delivery arrangements for moderation services Certification and Registration Tech partnership agree requirements for apprenticeship certification with FISSS Tech Partnership finalise the process for professional registration with BCS Apprenticeship Starts By April * 19

20 The first meeting of the Tech Partnership's implementation group is taking place on 13th August. This group will be leading the implementation. We are already starting to identify a small number of employers and providers who want to be early adopters of the new Standards. Working groups are being set up during September with providers, employers and potential awarding organisations to ensure that there is sufficient information, shared understanding and support to enable starts to take place this year. The detailed specification for assessment services will be finalised by the end of October, with the licensed assessment organisations in place by the end of September, this means that by the end of September it will be possible for all of the relevant parties to work together to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place. * It is expected that there will be a small number of new starts from January 20

21 Enabling the information society BCS The Chartered Institute for IT First Floor, Block D North Star House North Star Avenue Swindon SN2 1FA Karen Price CEO e-skills UK 1 Castle Lane London SW1E 6DR T +44(0) F +44(0) E 11 th July 2014 BCS Reference: Trailblazer Assessment Dear Karen On behalf of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, I am pleased to write in support of the draft assessment approach for the recent Trailblazer apprenticeship standards being presented to BIS this week. BCS, with its 75,000-strong membership base, is committed to recognising and promoting the value of those who work in the IT industry. The new Trailblazer standards, underpinned by professional recognition that the Register of IT Technicians affords, is a substantial step forward in this work. The assessment approach outlined by the employer group to confirm delivery against these standards is based upon sound concepts and is one which should enable consistent and reliable affirmation to be achieved. Recognition and reward of competent digital industry technicians is vital for the future of our sector, and consistency in assessing those achieving competency is essential. The work that has gone into producing a thorough assessment approach to achieve this is commendable. Professional body involvement and recognition is also a significant independent check on quality assurance against standards, both for the apprenticeships being delivered by employers/providers and the assessment of an individual being trained upon one. I look forward to continuing this excellent work with you, particularly in respect of establishing the Tech Partnership as a trusted, effective, and dynamic body which avoids bureaucracy and gets things done. With thanks and kind regards Richard Lester, MBCS CITP Director, IT Technician Programme BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT First Floor, Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FA Tel: +44 (0) Direct Dial: +44 (0) Mobile: +44 (0) The British Computer Society (Registered Charity no

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