Chief assessor annual report 2013 14


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Chief assessor annual report 2013 14

  1. 1. 1 AoC Beacon Awards 2013-14 Chief Assessor’s Annual Report 1. Introduction: This report provides a summary of the key features of applications for the awards identifying areas for improvement in submissions written by colleges, and an overview of the assessment of awards and the arrangements for quality assurance. 2. Overview: There were 16 awards offered in 2013, which attracted 169 applications from 106 Colleges: including colleges in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This included: 147 applications from 89 General FE Colleges: 12 applications from 10 Sixth Form Colleges; 1 application from a Land based College; 7 applications from 4 Specialist Colleges. Assessors commented on the high quality of the projects/initiatives shortlisted for the awards. The wide range of projects indicates the diversity of initiatives across the sector and the innovative approaches colleges are taking to better meet the needs of their learners. Details of the assessment procedures can be found in the “Handbook for Assessment”. The assessment arrangements continue to be effective; shortlisted colleges responded positively to the assessment visits and find them helpful. Visits confirmed and substantiated the statements in the colleges’ submissions and provided further evidence and information in support of their applications. All shortlisted colleges presented strong cases for the award, providing evidence of the provision of exemplary practice that would enhance the quality of FE if adopted by other colleges. The wider sector will benefit as a result of celebrating the achievements. As in previous years, the applications included many imaginative and innovative initiatives adopted by colleges to respond to the needs of their students, communities and local businesses. The dedication by the colleges, especially those shortlisted for the awards, to enable individuals to realise their aims, through transforming their potential, is inspirational. In many awards, the task of selecting the winning application was particularly difficult. In determining the awards, assessors made clear reference to the extent to which applications met both the Beacon and sponsor’s criteria, the impact on the experience of learners, the success of learners in achieving their aims and the transferability of the initiative to other colleges. 3. Quality of Applications: The standard of the written submissions and their presentation was generally good; the best examples described clearly how the initiative met both the Beacon and the specific sponsor’s criteria. Nearly all submissions were anonymous. It is clear colleges had taken care to remove identifying Last updated 28 February 2014 Chief Assessor annual report for website 2013.doc
  2. 2. 2 information, but in a few submissions these were not removed from appendices or testimonials. Submissions that are not anonymous may be returned to the applicants. The best submissions provided explicit evidence of significant improvement in the quality of provision directly impacting on learners with clear indications of high levels of achievement. A minority of submissions were poorly structured, did not follow the guidance on how to apply, did not refer explicitly to significant criteria and were not presented well. The weaker submissions failed to provide sufficient information to identify features that went beyond common practice in FE. Colleges should be aware that the quality of the presentation of the application is sometimes an important indicator of the capability to successfully promote and disseminate the initiative to other colleges. Assessors commented on the failure of some colleges across all awards to adequately evidence how the application met the Beacon criteria. The proforma for detailing how the submission meets the Beacon criteria was not well completed. Responses were sometimes too brief, mostly limited to one sentence, to provide evidence to substantiate a claim; in many cases sections of text were simply copied from the rest of the application which were simply a statement of intent, rather than demonstrating how the criteria are met. Very few of the submissions provided sufficient evidence of how projects promote Equality and Diversity or how the initiative promoted exemplary teaching and learning which delivers identifiable benefits to learners. Whilst college quality assurance was often quoted as meeting the criteria most submissions failed to explain how this has an impact on the initiative and results in significant improvements in the project. Most submissions were appropriately structured to explicitly address the sponsor's criteria, however many non-shortlisted submissions did not provide sufficient direct evidence to support claims in meeting criteria. Some submissions provided many quotes from Ofsted reports, which referred to a whole college judgment, but failed to provide evidence relevant to the specific area of the submission corroborating the judgment. The submissions were found to have the following general shortcomings:     Lack of examples to illustrate innovative or exemplary teaching and learning Insufficient evidence of how projects promote Equality and Diversity Data on learner success and progression unclear or not presented Insufficient evidence of how quality assurance has supported the development of the project The application form will be revised to help colleges to explicitly state how the initiative satisfies the Beacon criteria in response to specific questions. The new application form will include the requirement to state briefly how the initiative meets each of the Beacon criteria: e.g. “How does the initiative Last updated 28 February 2014 Chief Assessor annual report for website 2013.doc
  3. 3. 3 promote exemplary teaching and learning” with space for a direct answer and a word limit of between 50 to 150 words. The criteria and awards are reviewed annually to ensure they reflect current developments of the curriculum in FE. Three awards, which attracted fewer than five submissions (Health and community care; HE in FE; Development of Numeracy and Literacy in Wales), will be reconsidered to ensure they are relevant to current practice in Further Education. 4. Quality Assurance of Assessment of Awards: The first stage of quality assurance of assessment aims to ensure appropriate assessment of the applications has been completed; i.e. that the evaluation is accurate and appropriately recorded on the selection analysis forms ( SAFs) and that the shortlisted submissions represent those with the greatest merit. All the 16 awards were reviewed and the SAFs for each award scrutinised. A sample of submissions for each award was reviewed to confirm the assessors' evaluation. This sample was chosen in relation to the number of submissions, the completeness of the SAFs, and the boundary between those shortlisted and those that came close to being selected for a visit. All the shortlisted submissions were considered. Assessment of the submissions was carried out thoroughly. The SAFs provided a sound basis for the first stage assessment and the identification of applications to be shortlisted. The completed SAFs represent an accurate evaluation and demonstrate a thorough analysis and assessment of the submissions. In awards with a small number of applications assessors ensured that the standard of the shortlisted applications is commensurate with other more popular awards. The second stage of moderation and quality assurance concentrates on reviewing the reports of the visits and assessors' recommendations. It aims to ensure assessment is consistent across awards, that visit reports provide a clear evaluation supported by an appropriate record of the evidence, and that the assessors' recommendations for awards are consistent with the aims of the award and the evaluation. Colleges reported that the visits were well organised and provided suitable opportunity for them to present key features of their application. In a few cases assessors reported that the visits were over dominated by college senior management and provided too little opportunity for assessors to meet with learners. The most successful colleges recognise that learners are their best advocates. The visits supported the preparation of assessors’ final reports enabling a clear analysis and evaluation of the short-listed projects; and a summary of Last updated 28 February 2014 Chief Assessor annual report for website 2013.doc
  4. 4. 4 the reasons for the recommendation for the award, identifying the key weaknesses that resulted in the decision to disqualify the other applications. The shortlisted applications for many categories of award were considered to be of very high quality and worthy of an award. The winning colleges provided more substantial and explicit evidence of how the application met both the Beacon and sponsor’s criteria, especially in clearly demonstrating how the initiative promoted and enabled innovative or exemplary teaching and learning resulting in high levels of students’ achievement. In some awards the shortlisted colleges did not provide sufficient or clear evidence of the impact on learners, including accurate and clear data on achievement. Some applications which did not achieve the award were judged to be at too early a stage of development. Shortlisted colleges not winning the award are to be congratulated on reaching this round of the assessment process and encouraged to resubmit a revised application following further development of the initiative. 5. Evaluation of assessment by short-listed colleges Colleges are asked to complete an evaluation of assessment which covers the whole of the assessment process but with emphasis on the interaction with assessors during the visit. Of the 33 colleges that were shortlisted in 2013, 23 completed an evaluation form. The responses show that Colleges found the experience a valuable and positive one: 16 (of 23) identified more gains from the process in helping them improve; 6 responses indicated a balance. Evaluation forms completed for the last three years show a consistently positive response with 85% reporting the visit was helpful in supporting development of the project/initiative and no colleges reporting an overall negative experience. Sixth Form colleges and specialist colleges report a higher level, with over 90% responding positively to the assessment arrangements. Nearly all colleges comment on the clarity of the arrangements for the visits and the effective and professional management by assessors. Comments made by colleges are used to support further training of assessors and improvement in the assessment of awards. The evaluations indicate that further guidance is needed to some assessors on managing the visit to the college to ensure clarity of purpose, effective use of time and providing suitable feedback following the assessment visits. JR Marriott Chief Assessor AoC Beacon Awards January 2014 Last updated 28 February 2014 Chief Assessor annual report for website 2013.doc