Initial Assessment of Learning and Support Needs and Planning Learning to Meet Needs

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1 Initia Assessment of Learning and Support Needs and Panning Learning to Meet Needs May 2001 This document was produced under contract to the Department for Education and Empoyment. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessariy refect those of the Department for Education and Empoyment or any other Government Department or those of the Learning and Skis Counci. Raising Standards Division Study and Good Practice Transition Team Leve 3 North Moorfoot Sheffied S1 4PQ Crown Copyright May 2001 Department for Education and Empoyment QUALITY and PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT DISSEMINATION

2 Foreword This is the penutimate Good Practice Guide in the QPID series prior to responsibiity for deveoping good practice passing to the Learning and Skis Counci. It is fitting then that this Guide shoud be addressing one of the major weaknesses identified by the Training Standards Counci Chief Inspector in his Annua Report the need for improvements in the quaity of Initia Assessment and Individua Learning Pans. The Guide is the product of cose working between a the partners responsibe for Raising Standards in post-16 earning and we woud ike to thank the Training Standards Counci, Empoyment Service and provider network for their support. The Empoyment Service fuy endorses the good practice contained within this Guide and have wecomed the opportunity to work with the Department for Education and Empoyment, the Learning and Skis Counci, the Training Standards Counci and Providers on its content. Initia Assessment and Individua Learning Pans continue to be highighted as areas to be addressed in the Training Standards Counci reports on New Dea for Young Peope. By adopting this mode of good practice we intend to support providers in deivering this continuous improvement process. The Empoyment Service Quaity Framework provides the basis of our approach to maintaining and improving quaity in Empoyment Service funded earning provision from Apri One of the key principes is that a earners shoud have their needs propery assessed and reviewed at the start, during, and at the end, of their period of earning. Provision of high quaity Initia Assessment and then panning earning to meet individua needs is an important part of the process, to ensure that earners receive a high quaity experience as they progress towards empoyment Care Dodgson, Chief Operating Officer, Empoyment Service The awards for individua earning depend on a soid starting-point from which progress can be measured. This is nowhere truer than in NVQs, and programmes ike the Modern Apprenticeships which depend on them. These are potentia word-beaters. How vita it is then, that we shoud deveop reiabe techniques for estabishing each Learner s baseine of knowedge, experience and ski through improving Initia Assessment and Individua Learning Pans. This Guide wi be invauabe to providers as they take up the many opportunities that now exist to expand ifeong earning. From advanced technica awards to basic skis training which may ead to ony a sma part of a quaification, the methods described here wi add to reiabe measurement of progress David Sherock, Chief Inspector, Adut Learning Inspectorate Pacing the Learner at the Heart of the Process was a key theme in the Learning to Succeed White Paper. Loca Learning and Skis Councis and their providers have a major roe to pay in turning this into a reaity. Accuratey assessing the needs and abiity of the individua Learner to reaise their persona goas and potentia is key to deveoping a meaningfu Individua Learning Pan. This Guide has been designed to hep you manage that process. Equay important is the need to ensure that the Learner has ownership of their individua Learning Pan. Reguar reviews invoving the Provider, Learner and the Empoyer are essentia. Probems can be identified and actions agreed which wi hep to keep the Learner motivated and focused and hep to raise retention rates. We beieve this Good Practice Guide wi make an important contribution to achieving our shared aim of Raising Standards. We hope you agree. Avri Wiis Director of Quaity and Standards Learning and Skis Counci Suzanne Orr Divisiona Manager Raising Standards Division

3 Contents Page No. 1. Intoduction The Key Features of Effective Initia Assessment and Learning... 4 Pans 3. Initia Assessment Initia Assessment Methods Panning Training and Learning Skis, Knowedge and Deveopment of Staff Managing and Quaity Assuring Initia Assessment and Individua Learning Pans 8. Sources of Usefu Information Sef-assessment Checkist Exampes of Providers Effectivey Using Different Methods to Undertake Initia Assessment 11.Exampe of Initia Assessment Summary Form Exampes of Providers Learning Pans Acknowedgements RSD pubications... 55

4 1 Introduction About this Guide This Guide has been produced for providers, and their funding organisations, who are responsibe for undertaking initia assessment and producing individua earning pans within government-funded workbased earning programmes, incuding New Dea. It is aso for staff in careers services and the Empoyment Service, and speciaist providers of initia assessment services, who are invoved in initia assessment prior to referring earners to work-based earning programmes. The Guide wi hep providers respond to the requirements of the Adut Learning Inspectorate (ALI) - formay the Training Standards Counci (TSC) - as set out in its inspection frameworks Raising the Standard and Partners for Quaity and from Apri 2001 the Common Inspection Framework and some of the recurring weaknesses identified in the Annua Report of the Chief Inspector Reaching New Standards. These incude: Ony 15 per cent of providers conduct initia assessment systematicay, with 10 per cent conducting no initia assessment at a. Few providers carry out initia assessment of key skis. Neary 25 per cent of a providers have no procedures for accrediting prior earning or experience and have no staff quaified to carry out this task. Whist most earners have earning pans, few are individuaised to take account of each earner s needs. Individua earning pans are sedom used as working documents or updated to refect growing accompishment or new earning targets. The effects of these weaknesses is that earners may choose the wrong option or take onger to compete their earning programme than necessary. They are aso at higher risk of dropping out before competion as a resut of inappropriate training or ack of support. This Guide aims to provide guidance on: What initia assessment is, what information shoud be coected during the process, roes and responsibiities and when shoud it take pace. What methods are avaiabe to undertake initia assessment. How the outcomes of initia assessment shoud be used in deveoping the individua s earning pan. What constitutes an effective individua earning pan and how to ensure that it is a working document. Engaging the earner in initia assessment and the deveopment of their earning pan. 1

5 How initia assessment and the deveopment of earning pans shoud be both managed and quaity assured. The skis and knowedge required by staff to undertake effective initia assessment and to prepare and monitor individua earning pans. The Guide incudes exampes of the effective practice demonstrated by a range of providers and incudes private training companies, vountary providers, further education coeges and empoyers invoved in work-based earning. The Guide has been researched and written by Lynne Cough and Aison Foster of QSIS Consutants on behaf of the Department for Education and Empoyment. Terminoogy The foowing terms are used in the Guide: Learner An individua who is earning by receiving training and support. It incudes trainees, cients and students. Learning programme The programme being foowed by the earner, such as a foundation modern apprenticeship in retai, an NVQ eve 1 in horticuture, or a Life Skis programme. It incudes training programmes and courses. Learning goas - The goas to be achieved by the earner, incuding the deveopment of specific skis, knowedge and competence. This wi incude forma quaifications or units where appropriate. Individua earning pan A pan designed for each earner showing the training and support they wi receive in order to fufi their earning goas and their earning programme. It incudes individua training pan and individua deveopment pan. Provider Incudes a organisations who deiver any aspect of the work-based earning process. Incudes training suppiers, coeges and deiverers of Life Skis programmes. The work-based earning process A series of stages which a earner wi typicay go through during the course of their work-based earning programme. Incudes recruitment, initia assessment, induction, design of earning pan, deivery of on- and off-the-job training, progress reviews, assessment and verification. How to use this Guide It is not intended that this Guide shoud be read from cover to cover but as a reference document in the foowing ways: Particuar sections may provide usefu background information. A sef-assessment checkist wi aow you to evauate your current practices in initia assessment and individua earning pans. 2

6 Exampe forms and poicies may be copied or adapted to suit your own purposes. An eectronic version of the guide has been paced on the QPID website Sections 9-12 have been produced in Microsoft Word to aow users to downoad and adapt to meet individua needs. The usefu information section shoud provide a reference source for where you can obtain further information on initia assessment, incuding avaiabe toos and products, and individua earning pans. Need Further Information or Hep on... The key features of effective initia assessment and earning pans Ü GO TO SECTION 2 What is initia assessment, why is it important, who is invoved and when is it undertaken? Ü GO TO SECTION 3 What methods can be used during initia assessment to coect information about the earner? Ü GO TO SECTION 4 What is the purpose of individua earning pans, what shoud be incuded in them, how shoud they be monitored and reviewed? Ü GO TO SECTION 5 The skis and knowedge required by staff to undertake effective initia assessment and produce sound earning pans? Ü GO TO SECTION 6 Managing and quaity assuring initia assessment and individua earning pans? Ü GO TO SECTION 7 Usefu information sources? Ü GO TO SECTION 8 How we do you conduct initia assessment and produce individua earning pans? Ü GO TO SECTION 9 Exampes of providers using different methods to undertake initia assessment? Ü GO TO SECTION 10 A format for summarising the outcomes of initia assessment? Ü GO TO SECTION 11 Exampes of providers earning pans? Ü GO TO SECTION 12 3

7 2 The Key Features of Effective Initia Assessment and Learning Pans Initia Assessment A earners shoud undergo a period of initia assessment, the purpose of which is to identify their earning and support needs. The identification of a earner s earning and support needs is critica as it represents the first stage in the earning cyce and on which a other stages depend. The earner ies at the centre of the earning process and needs to be fuy engaged in the initia assessment process and the deveopment of their earning pan. It is important that they fee that is done with them and not to them. Initia assessment invoves the coection of a wide range of information to form a coherent picture of the individua. This information shoud be used to pace them on an appropriate pre-vocationa or vocationa earning programme which matches their skis, knowedge and abiities, in an appropriate occupationa area and to draw up a earning pan which addresses their individua needs. There are a number of initia assessment methods avaiabe. It is for training providers to determine which methods are most appropriate for their earners to form a comprehensive picture of their earning and support needs. Different methods may be appropriate in different occupationa areas. It is not acceptabe for initia assessment to be more thorough in some areas than others. The responsibiity for carrying out initia assessment of earners rests with providers. Other organisations and agencies with which the provider works, incuding empoyers, may we be in a position to provide reevant information in reation to the earning and support needs of earners. Learning Pans Every earner shoud have a earning pan which detais the training and support they wi receive to hep them fufi their earning programme and how the objectives wi be achieved. Individua earning pans shoud be designed separatey for each earner. The empoyer, the earner and the trainer are a invoved in producing the pan. 4

8 Learning pans shoud incude information on the earner, their earning programme, their earning goas, the resuts of initia assessment, induction training, on and off-the-job training, programme reviews, assessment and additiona support arrangements. An effective earning pan is used reguary as a working document to which the earner, the workpace supervisor and the trainer reguary refer. It is reviewed and revised to refect the earners growing capabiity and changing earning needs. It is ikey that a earning pan wi be fairy detaied in the short term, for exampe the next 3-6 months, and more of an outine for the onger term. The earning pan may be written on a singe form or it may consist of severa separate parts in different formats. 5

9 3 Initia Assessment What is Initia Assessment? A earners are entited to undergo a period of initia assessment. Initia assessment is the process of identifying an individua s earning and support needs to enabe the design of an individua earning pan which wi provide the structure for their earning. In other words it determines the earner s starting point for their earning programme. Learning needs are the skis, knowedge and competence which a earner needs to acquire during the course of their earning programme. Support needs are the additiona hep that a earner requires to enabe them to address barriers which may otherwise prevent them from fufiing their earning programme. Initia Assessment is a critica process because it represents the first stage in the earning cyce (see Figure 3.1). Faiure to accuratey identify an individua s earning needs may resut in a earning pan, and a earning programme, which does not address those earning needs. The subsequent evauation of earning and training is unikey therefore to show any benefits to the earner. The White Paper Learning to Succeed paces the earner at the centre of a system which is driven by their needs. This can ony happen if they are activey engaged in every stage of the earning cyce. The Learning Cyce Figure 3.1 Identification of earning needs Monitor/review progress/ evauate training The Learner Pan earning to meet needs Train in accordance with earning pan 6

10 Initia assessment commences at the point of entry, from the first contact with the prospective earner, and continues unti the point that an individua earning pan is competed. Further earning and support needs wi inevitaby be identified through the review process and shoud be refected in updates to individua earning pans. Initia assessment shoud take pace over a number of days or weeks. It shoud not be confined to one session. An individua s earning and support needs are identified from the coection and anaysis of a wide range of information. Figure 3.2 depicts the different types of information which need to be considered during the initia assessment process. It is shown as a jig-saw to demonstrate that the process is one of buiding up a series of interocking pieces of information to form a coherent picture of the individua. Figure 3.2 Learner Information to be Considered During Initia Assessment Career preferences and suitabiity Quaifications and achievements Aptitude and potentia Prior earning and experience Basic Skis Key Skis Learning difficuties Interests Learning stye Job roe Persona effectiveness Persona circumstances Career preferences and suitabiity The career aims of earners who are unempoyed when they join their earning programme need to be identified. This points them towards an appropriate occupationa area for their earning programme, or a suitabe option within New Dea, or provides a focus for pre-vocationa earning. Career choice is dependant upon many factors incuding: quaifications and achievements, abiities, interests, subjects studied at schoo, skis, knowedge and understanding of chosen occupation, jobs avaiabe in the oca abour market, as we as an individuas aptitude to undertake certain types of work. If a earner remains undecided about an occupationa area at the end of the initia assessment process, a series of activities shoud be incorporated in their earning pan to hep them decide. Quaifications and achievements Information about a earner s quaifications and achievements can provide an indication of their genera eve of abiity. The quaifications and achievements can indicate strengths in certain subject areas which may then inform their choice of career. It can hep in deciding which programme is most appropriate for the earner and whether the eve of the panned programme and quaifications are appropriate. Information on existing quaifications may indicate weaknesses in particuar areas. For exampe, ow grades in GCSE maths and Engish, or the absence of these subjects, may suggest basic ski needs which require further investigation during initia assessment. 7

11 Abiity and potentia Some earners educationa quaifications and achievements may not refect their true abiity or potentia. Faiure to achieve educationa quaifications coud be caused by a variety of reasons. The earners may have dropped-out of schoo eary. They may have missed arge parts of their schooing due to iness or disabiity. There may be other reasons. Academic quaifications are not necessariy an indicator of success in vocationa earning programmes. A earner s abiity and potentia needs to be initiay assessed so that accurate decisions can be made about the type of programme and eve from which they woud most benefit. Prior earning and experience The purpose of estabishing a earner s prior experience and earning is to ensure that he or she does not waste time in repeating earning in areas in which they are aready competent. If they do, they may make sower progress in achieving their NVQ and key skis quaifications. Learners may, for exampe, have previousy attended other programmes and started to work towards quaifications. They may have achieved units towards an NVQ. They may have achieved other quaifications which awarding bodies accept as evidence towards the quaification which they are now seeking. Young peope choosing to foow apprenticeship programmes may have achieved some key skis units previousy. They may have gained experience whist undertaking GNVQs, which aready meets part of their apprenticeship framework. Those earners who have gained good GCSE quaifications in Engish, mathematics and information technoogy may be ready to earn these skis at a higher eve. Learners who are empoyed when they begin their NVQ earning programme wi aready have some occupationa skis and may be abe to demonstrate competence in certain areas. Basic Skis During initia assessment it is important to identify those earners who require support with basic skis during their earning programme. Their current eve of basic skis shoud be assessed and the specific areas in which they require hep and support shoud be identified. Key Skis Some earners foow earning programmes where the achievement of specific key skis are a mandatory requirement. As for basic skis, the trainers shoud understand each earner s current eve of key skis and where strengths and weaknesses exist. Learning difficuties Some earners have specific earning difficuties or disabiities which may not be obvious or have been previousy recognised, which require speciaist earning provision and support. It is vita that these are identified during initia assessment in order that they can be addressed in the individua s earning pan. Interests Coecting information on a earner s hobbies and interests may assist the process of guiding them to make suitabe career and earning choices. Within some pre-vocationa programmes, coecting information on a earner s interests is important in enabing the design of innovative earning programmes which engage the earner. 8

12 Learning Stye Each person has a preferred way of earning. Some peope earn best by undertaking practica activities, others prefer to read books, whist others earn by istening or sharing ideas. Many peope who fai to earn academicay do so as a resut of teaching styes which are not conducive to their own earning styes. If earning is to be effective it is important that trainers are aware of the ways in which their earners are best abe to earn, so that they can use appropriate teaching styes. Job roe For earners working towards one or more NVQs, it is important to consider whether their job aows them to deveop the necessary competence to achieve the fu NVQ. If there are any gaps, the trainer shoud consider how the earner wi be given the opportunity to deveop competence in these areas when deveoping their individua earning pan. Persona effectiveness Skis in persona effectiveness are important in enhancing the empoyabiity of earners. The skis incude sef-confidence, motivation, presentation, taking responsibiity, attendance, time-keeping, reiabiity, respect for others and decision-making. Many earners need to deveop these as part of their earning programme. Others need to deveop them in preparation for entering mainstream earning. Persona circumstances Some earners have persona probems which need to be addressed during their earning programme. Some earners face socia probems such as homeessness, behavioura difficuties or they suffer acoho or drug addiction. Others may have certain medica conditions which prevent them from earning and working in certain areas. They may have chid care commitments which effect the times they can attend or they may have difficuty in attending training sessions through ack of pubic transport. These types of probem need to be identified during initia assessment so that ways can jointy be found to either overcome the probems or find ways round them. Equaity of Opportunity Access to earning is an important part of promoting equaity of opportunity which is of paramount importance for work-based earning providers. Providers must not discriminate against or discourage any potentia earner. The identification of individua needs is important in ensuring that fexibe provision can be deveoped to meet needs where possibe. Within work-based earning there is sti marked stereotyping in choice of occupationa areas with women dominating in business administration, retaiing, hairdressing, heath and socia care and men in engineering, construction, motor-vehice and increasingy Information and Communication Technoogy. Minority ethnic groups are seriousy under-represented in traditiona craft sectors. Providers must avoid stereotyping not ony in terms of gender and ethnicity but aso in terms of disabiity, age and geographica factors. 9

13 Using the Information Coected Information coected during the initia assessment process shoud aow the earner to: Be paced on an appropriate pre-vocationa or vocationa earning programme which matches their skis, knowedge and abiities. Work towards a eve of quaification which is appropriate to their eve of skis, knowedge and abiity. Be paced in work in an appropriate occupationa area, where this is reevant to the earning programme. Have a their earning and support needs identified, to enabe a comprehensive individua earning pan to be designed. Roes and Responsibiities Learners The earner ies at the heart of the initia assessment process. Engaging them is critica in ensuring that their earning is effective. Without sef knowedge of their current eves of competence and recognition from others of their strengths and needs they are unikey to see the reevance of their earning pan. Learners need to understand why they are being asked for certain information and what the purpose is of any assessment activities that they might be asked to take part in. If they do not understand they may fee confused, resentfu or devaued which may in turn have a negative effect on their earning. Effective initia assessment heps earners to: Have a better understanding of their career options. Make reaistic choices about their career aims. Identify what they have aready earnt and what they need to earn. Understand themseves better through knowedge of their strengths and deveopment needs. Fee vaued and motivated by the support given to them in identifying their individua needs. Pay a part in the deveopment of their earning pan through understanding their own earning and support needs. Take responsibiity for their own earning. Measure their progress by providing a cear baseine of where they are at the start of their earning programme. Compete their earning programme and achieve their quaification, where appropriate, through accurate identification of their required needs and support. 10

14 Providers One of the criticisms which earners often cite is that they fee that they are repeatedy asked for the same information over and over again by different providers during the initia assessment process. The provider who has overa responsibiity for initia assessment shoud seek to gather as much information as possibe from other reevant sources to try and avoid this happening. Careers services, for exampe, may assess vocationa choice prior to the referra of a earner to a provider. The sharing of this information may save the provider a significant amount of time when undertaking further initia assessment with the earner. Information may be avaiabe from schoos on the nature of a person s earning difficuties and the type of support that is ikey to be required. Empoyers may be invoved in assessing occupationa suitabiity. Other providers may have aready undertaken basic ski assessments or other assessments. Providers aso have the responsibiity of ensuring that those who undertake initia assessment activities have the necessary skis and knowedge. See Section 6 - Skis, Knowedge and Deveopment of Staff for further guidance on this subject. During the course of the initia assessment, providers need to consider whether they are best paced to meet the identified needs of the prospective earner. It is possibe that another provider woud better meet the earner s needs and the earner shoud be referred to that provider. Some providers may ony be responsibe for undertaking initia assessment, not for producing the earning pan. It is their responsibiity to inform the reevant provider of the outcome of the initia assessment to avoid the process having to be repeated at a ater stage. They shoud have an in-depth knowedge of the providers to which they refer earners, in order to be confident that their earning and support needs can be met. It is the responsibiity of a providers to ensure equaity of opportunity throughout the initia assessment process. A earners are entited to an equay thorough initia assessment. Providers wi seect those initia assessment methods which wi aow them to buid up an accurate picture of the earning and support needs of each earner. Effective initia assessment heps those who provide earning programmes to: Understand what the earner needs to earn and the support they require. Pan and provide earing which meets the needs of earners,avoiding unnecessary training, and thereby saving costs and making better use of resources. Measure progress and success from an accurate starting point. Improve earner retention and achievement eves. Improve reationships with empoyers by providing appropriate training and support, and creating more motivated earners. Improve reationships with funding organisations through higher retention and achievement eves. 11

15 Empoyers Empoyers have a critica roe to pay in the initia assessment process, in circumstances where earners spend a high proportion of their time in the workpace. Empoyers are best paced to determine whether an individua is suitabe to undertake a job in a particuar occupationa area. The empoyer needs to be invoved in matching the reevant NVQ to the job which the earner wi be undertaking. The empoyer aso needs to be invoved in seecting the appropriate optiona units within the NVQ and the additiona ski components from the framework, if the earner is an apprentice. The empoyer shoud understand the earning needs of the individua in order to ensure that appropriate earning opportunities are made avaiabe, both on- and off-the-job, to deveop the required eves of competence. They aso need to be cear of any additiona support which the earner may require so that they can provide appropriate support in the workpace. Some empoyers, and providers, view initia assessment as a seection too to recruit the most abe appicant, rather than a process to identify the earning and support needs of those who have aready been seected. It may be party based on information gathered during the seection process or prior to it, such as that coected by the careers service. Effective initia assessment heps empoyers by providing them with: Motivated earners who fee positive about achieving their training pan. A better understanding of the earning and support needs of each earner. More effective recruitment by the pacement of earners in the vocationa areas which best match their interests and abiities. Reductions in staff turnover and associated costs through improved earner retention rates. 12

16 4 Initia Assessment Methods This section describes some of the different methods used by providers to undertake initia assessment with earners. Incuded in the appendices are some exampes of providers successfuy using different exampes of these methods during their initia assessment process. The methods fa into six groups: Appraisa of written information, such as earners appication forms, records of achievement, progress fies and references. Individua interviews. Forma tests. Learner questionnaires. Observed group activities. Practica vocationa activities. Providers do not normay use a the methods but choose those which are appropriate to the needs and circumstances of their earners. Typicay, providers choose a combination of methods to assess an individua, in order to gain an accurate, overa picture of their needs. Information coected through one method may we reinforce information coected through a different method. In some instances it may be contradictory and require use of additiona methods. Figure 4.1 identifies which methods may be usefu in coecting different information from the earner. Incuded in Section 10 are exampes of providers using different methods Equaity of Opportunity In choosing which methods to use providers must ensure equaity of opportunity. There is justification for variety among methods in that what may be appropriate in one occupationa area may not be in another. This shoud not resut in earners in some occupationa areas receiving a more thorough initia assessment than in others. When using written tests, providers have to consider whether they are the best way of assessing the needs of a earners. Some earners may be unaccustomed to taking tests or do not enjoy the experience, which then effects their performance. Poor performance in these tests may aso be due to poor iteracy skis, or the fact that Engish is a second anguage, rather than the subject which is actuay being assessed. A assessment tests used shoud be vaid, reiabe and free from bias. For this reason providers shoud not deveop their own home grown tests uness they can guarantee a of these. Commercia tests shoud be checked to ensure that they provide evidence of their vaidity and reiabiity, and that the 13

17 anguage used does not discriminate against those from some cutura backgrounds. Many commercia tests can ony be used by staff who have been accredited to deiver them. Further information on this can be found in Section 6 Skis, Knowedge and Deveopment of Staff. Figure 4.1 Suggested Methods for Coecting Reevant Information from the Learner Appication forms NRA/Progress fie References Interviews Forma tests Sef assessment questionnaires Observed group activities Practica vocationa activities Career preferences and suitabiity Quaifications and achievements Aptitude and potentia Prior earning and experience Basic skis Key skis Learning difficuties Interests Learning stye Job roe Persona effectiveness Persona circumstances Appication Forms Appication forms are competed prior to entry onto earning programmes and are often used for seection purposes at that stage. They contain information that can be used to determine the individua s earning pan and are therefore usefu in initia assessment. The appication form incudes: The courses the earner has studied and the quaifications that he or she has achieved. These may be hepfu in seecting whether a pre-vocationa, foundation or advanced apprenticeship or other type of earning programme is appropriate. Previous quaifications, such as a GCSE in mathematics or Engish anguage may give the earner exemption from part of the key ski requirements. Simiary a earner may have competed key skis as part of a GNVQ. Empoyment and work experience, which may incude their current work. This information is usefu in matching the earner to the appropriate occupationa area and in deciding the eve of the quaifications to target. It is aso vauabe in designing the on-the-job earning programme to avoid repetition of previous experience and to incude work that fis gaps in the earner s experience. 14

18 Career interests and aspirations. Learners woud expect these to be refected in the their earning pans. Previous work-based earning. The earning pan shoud buid on previous earning. If it is in a different occupationa area there may be parts of that earning that are common and therefore do not need to be repeated. If other NVQ units have previousy been competed it may be possiby to accredit them formay through the accreditation of prior earning and experience process. If a earner eft a previous earning programme eary then there may be essons to be earnt in designing the current earning programme. For exampe, was the earner not interested in that occupationa area? Does the earner have earning difficuties or basic ski needs that prevented him or her making steady progress? Was the eve of the training too high or too ow? Does the earner have persona probems, which were an obstace ast time and may not be resoved? Does the earner ack empoyabiity skis, such as the abiity to turn up on time? It is unikey that these questions can be answered from the appication form but the form may prompt these to be assessed further. For earners with iteracy difficuties, specific disabiities or where Engish is a second anguage, asking them to compete an appication form may not prove beneficia. Suitabe arrangements may need to be made for prospective earners where hep can be provided. Interviews Interviews provide opportunity to discuss and gather information on: The accuracy of the information contained in the earner s appication form. Learners knowedge and understanding and suitabiity to undertake particuar types of careers and jobs. Expected examination grades if these are unknown. This may hep in the identification of the eve of programme to be undertaken. The resuts of any forma tests which have been undertaken prior to the interview such as psychometric tests or basic skis or key skis assessments. Learners persona effectiveness. Where gaps are identified they need to be addressed within individua earning pans. Learners experiences at schoo/coege, home, work and through hobbies and interests, provide the focus for much of this discussion. For exampe, how we does the earner communicate are they confident? How we motivated are they and what kind of situations do they best respond in? Have they attended schoo/coege or work reguary? Are they neat and tidy in appearance? How we do they respond to authority? Do they enjoy working with others or do they prefer to be on their own? What is their attitude to members of the opposite sex, or members of different minority ethnic groups, or persons with disabiities? Any heath probems which might effect the type of job which they do. Trave-to-work areas. Interviewing young peope or aduts who have been ong-term unempoyed is a very skied process. If providers and empoyers are to get the best out of earner interviews, which form an important part of the initia assessment process, they need to ensure that they have we-deveoped and effective processes in pace, and staff who are competent at conducting interviews. 15

19 Records of Achievement and Progress Fie Learner s Records of Achievement can be used to both support and verify information recorded in appication forms and provided during interviews. Many providers ask earners to bring their Record of Achievement with them to their interview. They can provide a focus for discussion during interview and give the earner confidence in taking about themseves. They can incude a range of information incuding achievements and quaifications, schoo reports, attendance records, work experience reports, extra-curricuar activities, membership of cubs and sports teams. The Department for Education and Empoyment has introduced the Progress Fie, which aims to buid on the good practice from the current Nationa Record of Achievement. Progress Fie is a set of materias which are designed to hep young peope and aduts make the most of themseves and their opportunities. It consists of one or more workbooks. They provide individuas with a method of recognising, recording and evauating their achievements: panning, earning and progressing; and presenting their achievements to others. Young peope typicay keep their workbook in a ring binder together with exampes of their achievements, certificates, c.v. s and action pans. As some of the workbooks are designed for use in schoos, providers wi find it hepfu to review them in the same way in which they currenty review the Records of Achievement where these are currenty avaiabe. Providers may aso find some of the activities described in the workbooks as a usefu way of identifying earning and support requirements during the initia assessment process. One of the workbooks New Horizons, is designed specificay for use by providers. For more information on where Progress Fie can be obtained see Section 8 Sources of Usefu Information. References Gathering information from other sources about a earner is usefu. It can be used to verify or support the information which has been gathered during initia assessment. It may aso provide another person s viewpoint which may be contrary to your own. This may indicate that further assessment is necessary. It may aso identify areas which you have not considered and which may need to be incuded in the earning pan. Coecting information from other sources may aso reduce the ikeihood that the same information is repeatedy asked of earners. Reference sources incude schoos, coeges, careers services, empoyers, vountary or support groups, statutory agencies, cubs or societies associated with hobbies and interests. Basic Skis Assessment Basic skis are the abiity to speak, read and write in Engish and to use mathematics at a eve sufficient to function and progress at work and in society. Approximatey seven miion aduts in Engand have difficuty with basic skis. Aduts with poor basic skis are five times more ikey to be unempoyed or out of the abour market. The initia assessment of basic skis is therefore crucia. Learners with a ack of basic skis are iabe to make poor progress in their training and to have difficuty sustaining empoyment. Eary and accurate assessment of their basic skis earning needs, foowed by a earning pan to address those needs, can make a substantia difference to the earners. 16

20 Tests are avaiabe for use in the initia assessment of basic skis. Some of the more commony used ones are isted in the Figure 4.2. The tests fa in to two categories: Initia screening. Diagnostic assessment. Figure 4.2 Exampes of Toos Used by Providers for the Initia Assessment of Basic Skis Name of product Suppier What it assesses Initia Assessment: Basic Skis Agency Initia Assessment is an assessment test for An assessment test basic skis in reading, writing and maths. Its for Reading, Writing purpose is to indicate that there may be a and Maths need for earning support in number, writing and reading and that further assessment is required. BeST the BE Consutancy BeST is a mutimedia screening for the basic Screening Tookit skis of reading, writing, ora communication for Basic Skis and number. It incudes 15 iteracy and 15 numeracy tasks and is based upon the basic skis standards devised in the eary 1990s which form the basis for the Wordpower and Numberpower accreditation schemes. SKILLCHECK & Associated SKILLCHECK is a one-hour assessment CHECKERS Examining Board designed to assess basic skis in numeracy, graphica skis and iteracy. CHECKERS assesses both basic iteracy and numeracy skis at a ower eve than SKILLCHECK. The numeracy section has 30 questions, which are divided into three repeated bocks of 10 skis. The iteracy section has 20 questions with more important skis repeated at two or three eves. Basic Skis Tests NFER-NELSON The basic skis tests provide a measure of (BST) basic iteracy and numeracy skis. They are designed for use with young peope and aduts who have few or no academic quaifications. The numeracy test assesses the abiity to carry out simpe cacuations, estimations and appication of numerica concepts to everyday probems. The iteracy test is based around a newspaper from an imaginary town. Screening tests aim to identify those who may need support and to indicate an approximate eve of their skis. Diagnostic tests aim to identify the specific nature of an individua s strengths and weaknesses and to ceary identify the earning needs. It is norma practice to screen earners first and then use the diagnostic tests where necessary. It may be obvious from a earner s appication form or from other initia assessment sources that a earner does not ack basic skis. Figure 4.3 shows the equivaence between basic skis eves and those of key skis and the nationa curricuum. 17

21 Comparison of Basic Skis Standards to Other Nationa Quaifications and Standards Figure 4.3 Basic Skis Standards Key Skis Nationa Curricuum Communication Communication and Engish and Numeracy Appication of Number and Mathematics Entry Key Stage 1 Leve 2 (Age 7) Leve 1 Leve 1 Key Stage 2 Leve 4 (Age 11) Leve 2 Leve 2 Key Stage 3-4 GCSE A* - C (Age 16) Some providers automaticay screen a earners basic skis. This has the advantage that earners fee they are being treated equay and that no earner sips through the net. The disadvantage is that earners who obviousy have the basic skis can fee insuted, resent the waste of their time and gain the wrong impression about the eve of attainment that they are expected to achieve in their subsequent earning. Key Skis Initia Assessment Key skis are generic skis which can hep individuas to improve their own earning and performance in education and training, work and ife in genera. Key skis are inked to basic skis in that they require their appication in a wide range of contexts and the abiity to transfer skis earnt in one environment to other competey different environments. There are six key skis, performance in each of which is graded from eve 1 to 4: Communication Appication of Number Information Technoogy Improving own Learning and Performance Working with Others Probem Soving Key skis are integra to a foundation and advanced modern apprenticeships. The required eve of individua key skis is determined within each occupationa framework by the reevant Nationa Training Provider (NTO). 18 The earning programme determines the fina minimum target for each earner. Initia assessment of earners key skis on entry measures the distance each earner has to trave to reach that minimum target. Learners enter training with widey varying key skis. Accurate initia assessment of key skis can ead to substantiay different individua earning pans. Some earners just meet the threshod of basic skis. Others may aready exceed the minimum eve they need to achieve by the end. In the atter case, earners probaby sti need to earn to appy their existing key skis in the workpace. The amount of panned off-the-job training in key skis woud be expected to be quite different in these two extreme cases.

22 Initia assessment of key skis shoud aso determine the eve of key skis an individua earner is capabe of achieving during the earning programme. If a earner is capabe of achieving one or more key skis at a higher eve than the minimum aid down in the framework then he or she shoud be heped to achieve that potentia. Too often earners regard key skis as a waste of time because they are not earning anything new. An assessment of a earner s existing eve of key skis may be possibe from other initia assessment methods such as by ooking at the appication form. Figure 4.4 ists some of the toos avaiabe for the initia assessment of key skis. Figure 4.4 Exampes of Toos Used by Providers for the Initia Assessment of Key Skis Name of product Suppier What does it do? keyskillbuilder West keyskillbuilder is avaiabe as either a paper-based Nottinghamshire product or on CD-ROM. It provides a series of initia Coege assessments for earners at eves 1, 2 and 3 for communication and appication of number. The resuts from competed assessments are potted on a resuts sheet which provides a detaied anaysis of strengths and weaknesses. A series of 22 workbooks are avaiabe to support earners with their individua needs. Diagnostic Cochester Diagnostic Assessment for Key Skis is a computer Assessment for Institute based diagnostic too which has been deveoped to Key Skis provide a guideine to a candidate s current eve of key skis in appication of number and communication. The communication section contains 50 questions covering comprehension, speing, punctuation and grammar. There is aso a free writing section to highight probems such as dysexia. The appication of number section has 35 questions divided into three sections, which assess topics such as averages, formuae, probabiity and percentages. The assessment asts approximatey one hour. On competion of the assessment a printed profie is generated which indicates areas of weakness. Searchight SHL Ltd Searchight is a computer-based package designed to profie abiity and predict how an individua wi cope with the key ski requirements of a course. It assesses the abiities or thinking skis seen as essentia to the acquisition of the appication of key skis in appication of number, communication and IT. These abiities are mapped onto the revised (2000) key skis specifications. Any combination of key skis and eve can be assessed in one session. Psychometric Tests Psychometric tests are widey used in giving guidance on careers and in the seection of staff by empoyers. They are not used in isoation, but as one source of information aongside others, such as interviews. They can form a usefu basis for discussion about a person s career or about his or her suitabiity for a job. 19

23 Figure 4.5 Exampes of Psychometric Assessment Tests Used by Providers Product Suppier What it assesses/measures XTEND Psytech GeneSys is designed to support providers in pacing earners in an GeneSys Internationa area that is most suitabe for them. It consists of: An Occupationa Interest Profie Numerica reasoning test Verba reasoning test Abstract reasoning test FEATS NFER-Neson FEATS is designed to hep young peope make the right Future educationa and training decisions based on their persona abiity, Education interests, preferred earning stye and motivation. It comprises 12 and Training sub-tests divided into four modues: Series Modue 1- assesses reading skis, verba abiity, number skis, numerica abiity and writing skis Modue 2 assesses non-verba and spatia abiity with checking and accuracy Modue 3 identifies persona skis, earning preferences and motivation Modue 4 a vocationa guidance questionnaire which ooks at the sort of jobs and activities in which a candidate might be interested AIMS portfoio SHL The AIMS portfoio is designed to faciitate career decision making. It incudes: A genera abiities profie (GAP) which consists of an integrated set of 12 abiity tests, arranged at three educationa eves. Candidates take a core skis modue (verba, numerica and diagrammatic reasoning) and a specific skis modue (checking, spatia and mechanica) A genera occupationa interest inventory (GOII) A motivation questionnaire (MQ) An occupationa personaity questionnaire (OPQ) Technica SHL A battery of tests suitabe for the seection of craft and technica Test Battery apprentices. The battery incudes: (TTB) Verba comprehension Technica understanding Numerica computation Numerica reasoning Visua estimation Faut diagnosis Mechanica comprehension Spatia recognition Differentia The The Differentia Aptitude Test battery assesses the seven primary Aptitude Psychoogica abiities: Test Battery Corporation (DAT) Verba reasoning Mechanica reasoning Numerica abiity Spatia reasoning Abstract reasoning Language usage and Cerica speed and accuracy speing The resuts from the assessments can be combined with interest data to form a basis for vocationa guidance. 20

24 Psychometric testing is a very speciaised process. The tests have been designed to provide objective measurements of peope s psychoogica characteristics, such as their aptitude, their reasoning abiity, their behaviour and their motivation. As they are objective they can avoid probems of bias associated with more subjective techniques such as interviews. They can aso provide evidence of potentia where someone has no forma educationa quaifications. Research has shown that evidence of academic abiity, such as GCSE passes, is not aways a good indicator of assessing potentia success in vocationa earning programmes. Some providers therefore use them to determine whether an individua has the potentia to successfuy compete an advanced modern apprenticeship programme, for exampe. Tests are carried out by trained speciaists who know how to conduct the tests under controed conditions and who know how to interpret the resuts of the tests. Providers can usefuy use psychometric testing of earners to hep them decide on an occupationa area or a career, and therefore hep them to decide on the most appropriate earning programme. Those providers who seect earners may use psychometric testing as one part of the seection process, in order to choose the earners who are best abe to benefit from the training. Empoyers may make use of psychometric test resuts in seecting a earner, in the same way as they woud for any other empoyee. The impact of psychometric testing on an individua s earning pan is more ikey to be in the choice of occupationa area, and the eve of programme, than in the structure of the earning pan itsef. Figure 4.5 contains exampes of psychometric tests used by some providers. Learning Styes Assessment Assessing earners earning styes is important in ensuring that they earn quicky and efficienty during their earning programme. Individuas earn best in a variety of different ways and have preferences for certain ways of earning. Some, for exampe, earn best by doing things as opposed to thinking about them. Others prefer to earn by istening and sharing ideas with others. Some prefer very structured activities whist others enjoy reading and examining information carefuy. Trainers need to be aware of the ways in which earners earn most effectivey in order that they can pan training and earning opportunities which best meet their needs. Training styes are often infuenced by the trainer s own preferred earning stye. Learners are at risk of their training being ineffective, where the trainer s dominant teaching stye is in confict with their own preferred earning stye. Some providers use individua interviews or group discussions with earners to identify their preferred earning styes. Others use earning stye assessment toos, some exampes of which, are identified in Figure 4.6. Learner Questionnaires Learner questionnaires are often used to hep earners identify their own strengths and weaknesses and assess their own earning and support needs. The resuts contribute, aong with other sources of information, to the individua earning pan. The questionnaires usuay adopt a fairy simpe approach. They typicay ask the earner to assess themseves against a number of criteria. For exampe, they might be asked to tick which of the foowing activities they have done before. Or, on a scae of 1 to 4, indicate how good they are at working in a team with other peope. 21

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