Assessment Handbook 2013

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Assessment Handbook 2013

  1. 1. HANDBOOK FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF AoC BEACON AWARDS JUNE 2013 1
  2. 2. CONTENTS Introduction Aim of the Beacon Awards General criteria for Beacon Awards and the structure of applications Assessment of Beacon Awards: overview of assessment Assessment process : procedures at each assessment stage - Stage 1 Shortlisting - Stage 2 Site visits - Stage 3 Final decisions Quality Assurance of Assessment Evaluation of Assessment Page 3 Page 5 Page 6 Appendix 1. Members of the Beacon Awards Steering Group Appendix 2. Assessment forms Appendix 3. Sample shortlist confirmation letter Appendix 4. Evaluation form Appendix 5.Assessor's fees and expenses Appendix 6. Checklist of forms for assessors Appendix 7. Appointment of assessors Page 24 Page 10 Page 13 Page 16 Page 20 Page 22 Page 23 Page 25 Page 30 Page 32 Page 34 Page 36 Page 36 2
  3. 3. AoC BEACON AWARDS HANDBOOK FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF AoC BEACON AWARDS Introduction The Beacon Awards programme is governed by the AoC Charitable Trust which is a registered charity, and is administered by the Association of Colleges (AoC). The Beacon Awards Steering Group provides advice and guidance on the delivery and development of the programme. The Steering Group is made up of representatives from Colleges, funding bodies and sponsoring organisations. The Steering Group, acting as the Assessment Board, makes the final decisions about award winners in the light of recommendations from the team of assessors and the Chief Assessor. This handbook is intended to provide guidance on applying for an AoC Beacon Award and on the assessment for the awards. It provides details of the processes involved in the assessment of submissions and of the conditions attached to the submission of the awards. It is intended that the guidance in this handbook will ensure that parity is achieved between awards in terms of the standard of the awards and in quality of the assessment of awards. Assessors are responsible to the Director of the AoC Charitable Trust for analysing submissions, carrying out site visits, writing reports on these visits and making recommendations for awards. Individuals with suitable experience and current knowledge of the work of Further Education Colleges are invited to apply to join the register of Beacon Assessors. Colleges winning a Beacon Award are invited to nominate a member of staff associated with the winning submission to be considered for appointment as a Beacon Assessor. 3
  4. 4. The final decision on the awards is made by the Beacon Awards Steering Group. The assessment process is subject to quality assurance and to an evaluation. The Director of the AoC Charitable Trust is Alice Thiagaraj – 2-5 Stedham Place, London WC1A 1HU, Phone: 020 7034 9977, fax: 020 7034 9950 Email: alice_thiagaraj@aoc.co.uk The Chief Assessor is Roger Marriott – phone: 01908 567374. Email: johnroger.marriott@btinternet.com The Assistant Chief Assessor is Peter Lavender – phone: 07880 724055. Email: drprslavender@yahoo.co.uk 4
  5. 5. Aim of the AoC Beacon Awards The aim of the AoC Beacon Awards programme is to highlight the breadth and quality of education in Colleges throughout the UK and increase understanding of Colleges’ contribution to UK educational skills policy and economic and social development. The awards:  Recognise imaginative and exemplary teaching and learning practice in Colleges  Draw attention to provision which encourages and supports learners to approach challenges positively and creatively  Support learning and continuous improvement through the dissemination of award-bearing practice  Promote and celebrate the further education sector’s commitment to pioneering approaches to equality and diversity The programme represents partnership in action by providing significant benefits for the major players involved:  An award acts as a development grant to help realise the full potential of a project based in a College of further education  An award serves to promote the business needs and interests of the sponsor. The dissemination of the exemplary practice represented by the award-winning projects is a major purpose of Beacon Awards programmes. Project profiles of winning Colleges are written up and disseminated to the FE sector after their announcement. The Director maintains a website for the awards which contains much valuable information on the awards scheme and lists of winning projects. The AoC web site can be found at www.aoc.co.uk. 5
  6. 6. General criteria for Beacon Awards and the structure of applications The Beacon Awards recognise exemplary initiatives (which can be programmes, courses, projects or other forms of teaching, learning, advice, guidance or support). The initiatives should recognise and promote the interdependence of Colleges in the further education sector and of business, professional and voluntary organisations to their mutual advantage. General Beacon Award criteria To be eligible for an award, the initiative should show evidence of imaginative yet sustainable teaching and learning practice or other relevant provision. The application can be for an initiative which can be a programme, course, project or other form of teaching, learning, advice, guidance or support. The application must fulfil the following criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) meet the specific requirements set out by the sponsors of the award to which the submission relates have regard to promoting equality and diversity in the delivery of the programme be subject to evaluation/ quality assurance to influence the continuing development of the initiative have been running for at least one academic year by 31 July 2013 have features which actively promote exemplary teaching and learning be of benefit to one or more groups of students or trainees who are identified and described in the application 6
  7. 7. (vii) have wider relevance and applicability which would make it of value to other Colleges as an example of good practice or innovation Sponsorship Awards are made by around 15 sponsors; the awards are divided into three categories: Teaching and learning, curriculum design and development; Leadership and quality improvement; Responsiveness, partnership and impact (see current prospectus for details of the awards). Awards are designed at the discretion of the sponsors either as UKwide awards or as awards for Colleges in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales and take the form of monetary grants of, on average, between £3,000 and £5,000 which are awarded on the clear understanding that the total award monies will be set against expenditures incurred in taking forward the development and dissemination of each winning initiative. It is a condition of entry that each College gaining an award undertakes to inform its local community about its achievement and about the support and interest provided by the sponsor. Structure of the application Submissions should address both the general criteria for Beacon Awards and any specific criteria of the sponsor. The submission should be no more than 3000 words and should come from a senior member of staff who has had close contact with the initiative. Written evidence from beneficiaries should be included in the word limit. Reference can be made to other materials (i.e. multimedia material, College documents etc.) which the assessors can request, should they wish to do so. WHILST DETAILS OF THE COLLEGE 7
  8. 8. MUST BE SUPPLIED ON THE APPLICATION FORM THE MAIN BODY OF THE SUBMISSION SHOULD BE ANONYMOUS. SUBMISSIONS MAY BE RETURNED TO THE COLLEGE TO REMOVE ANY REFERENCES IF THEY CAN BE IDENTIFIED. Submissions should be structured under the following headings:  Project summary – a brief overview of the initiative including a clear description of target group  Aims and objectives – how they were established and how they have resulted in the promotion of exemplary teaching and learning  How the project meets the sponsor’s criteria – a section which clearly addresses each of the sponsor’s criteria as set out on the relevant page in the Prospectus  Project management – a description of how the project is managed including how quality assurance is used to improve the initiative, and how the project meets equality and diversity standards  Outcomes and benefits to learners – how the initiative has benefited learners and others involved with the project – this should be supported by written evidence from beneficiaries who may be students, trainees, employers or, in some cases, parents. This section should also include data on enrolment, retention, achievement, progression and how this project shows a commitment to equality and diversity.  Dissemination and the future – key features of the project should be highlighted demonstrating how it can benefit other Colleges and how it will develop in the future 8
  9. 9. The submission must be accompanied by a completed application form signed by the Principal/ Chief Executive of the College. Initiatives which have previously won a Beacon Award are not eligible for consideration for the same award a second time. A College may apply for as many awards as it wishes but it may submit only one application per award. A College which has a project which falls into two or more categories may submit that project for only one award. Applications are treated as strictly confidential to the Steering Group, Assessors and the Director. Material from any application is made public only with the express approval of the College concerned. All applications must be received by 3 July 2013. The Director sends an acknowledgement for each application to the Principal/ Chief Executive. Colleges are subsequently contacted only if the project is shortlisted. Award winning Colleges are permitted to use the Beacon Awards logo, with the year of the programme beneath it, on College headed paper and promotional material. It is expected that within approximately six months of the announcement of the award, the winning College will organise a local presentation ceremony in consultation with the sponsor to allow for maximum media coverage; the Beacon Awards office at the AoC must be informed of the arrangements. 9
  10. 10. Assessment of Beacon Awards Overview of Assessment Assessment of the applications for Beacon Awards is the responsibility of specialist assessors co-ordinated by the Director and supported by the Chief Assessor. Normally, two assessors are assigned to each award one of whom may represent the sponsor. A Beacon Assessor (appointed by the Director) acts as the Lead Assessor for each award. Assessors are appointed following registration and the approval of the Chief Assessor and Director. Assessors are expected to have substantial experience of Further Education. Assessors are required to inform the Director of any potential conflict of interest associated with the Awards they are assessing and/or the Colleges applying for those Awards. The assessment process has three stages – short listing, an assessment visit to the College and the final decision by the Beacon Awards Steering Group. Assessors complete confidential written reports at each stage. The reports are subject to moderation and quality assurance by the Chief Assessor. Colleges short-listed (i.e. those visited) for an award are asked to complete an evaluation form providing feedback on the arrangements for assessment. Assessors are expected to respond to queries from the Chief Assessor on their reports and recommendations in order that the Chief Assessor may present an overview of their reports and recommendations to the Beacon Awards Steering Group. The Chief Assessor completes an annual report which makes recommendations for the awards to the Beacon Awards Steering Group, and reports on the efficacy of the arrangements for assessment. The Beacon Awards Steering Group, acting as the 10
  11. 11. assessment board, makes the final decision on awards and proposes a small number of awards to be considered for the President's Award. Stage 1 Short listing The initial assessment, leading to short listing, has regard to the general criteria for Beacon Awards and the specific criteria for each award (see the current prospectus). The outcome of this stage is a list of applications for each award that best meet these criteria. Two assessors jointly assess each application and complete a standard selection analysis form (SAF)(see appendix 2). The SAF requires assessors to identify the extent to which an application meets the general Beacon criteria and the specific criteria for the award. Assessors are required to include comments identifying points of merit and any shortcomings in the submission. The short-list is reviewed by the Chief Assessor and once approved assessors contact the short-listed Colleges to arrange an assessment visit. Colleges which are not short-listed may contact the Director after the awards have been announced for feedback on their submission. Stage 2 Assessment visits Assessment visits take place in September and early October and are intended to match the ‘evidence on the ground’ at the shortlisted College with the application. Visits will normally involve attending the College for 4-5 hours and are conducted by two assessors. The lead assessor will contact the College to outline the general arrangements for the visit. Assessors should make clear any requirements for additional information prior to the visit. The Director will confirm the arrangements for the visit in a letter to the Principal. 11
  12. 12. Assessors are interested in exploring with the College, its staff, students and stakeholders the benefits of the project to learners. They will be mainly interested in the impact of the project on the experience of the students, particularly any outcomes for learning including achievements in terms of skills and/or qualifications gained. Assessors will also wish to explore how the project is managed including, its impact on equality and diversity, methods of evaluation, quality assurance, the future development of the initiative and its dissemination to other Colleges. Colleges should ensure that they present clearly to assessors how the project meets the specific criteria for the award, as this forms a key part of the assessment report following the visit. Assessors will provide brief feedback to the College at the end of the visit. This will normally identify particular aspects of good practice and suggestions for areas for development where appropriate. No indication of the outcome of the visit in terms of decisions on the award can or should be made at this stage. Following the visit, assessors complete a visit report (see appendix 2) which provides a written assessment of the project. Following the visits to all of the short-listed Colleges, assessors complete an overview report and agree the recommendations for the award. The outcomes of this stage are judgements and recommendations for awards to the Director of the AoC Charitable Trust. Sponsors may, with the agreement of the Director, undertake Stages 1 and 2 of the assessment process in respect of their own award(s) in conjunction with a Beacon Award assessor. Stage 3 Final decisions 12
  13. 13. The Chief Assessor presents the assessors’ reports and recommendations to the Beacon Awards Steering Group which selects the award winners. All Beacon Awards are awarded or withheld at the sole and absolute discretion of the Beacon Awards Steering Group and those acting on its behalf. No explanation is given following the making or withholding of an award. The Chief Assessor and the Director may identify a number of winning projects which he feels to be particularly outstanding or innovative to be considered by the Steering Group for submission to the President of the AoC Charitable Trust so that he or she can decide if any should receive a ‘President’s Award’. Detailed guidance for assessors on each of these stages is given below. Guidance to Assessors on the procedures at each assessment stage Stage 1 Shortlisting  The assessment of applications for each award is undertaken by two assessors appointed by the Chief Assessor and the Director.  Assessors should inform the Director of any substantial involvement with particular Colleges e.g. as a member of staff, Governor, or as a result of continuing consultancy with a College which could present a potential conflict of interest.  One assessor in each pair assigned to an award acts as the Lead Assessor and reports to the Director over the period of the assessment and at the conclusion of the first stage of assessment submits details of the agreed shortlist. Where one of the pair of 13
  14. 14. assessors is a sponsor, the Beacon Assessor acts as the Lead Assessor.  Assessors should primarily assess the extent to which the submission satisfies the sponsor’s criteria completing the Selection Analysis Form (SAF). Assessors should also identify any possible shortcomings in meeting the AoC Beacon criteria. A grade should be allocated with indicative assessment  “A” – project meets all the criteria well and is suitable for shortlisting  “B” – project meets most of the criteria  “C” – project fails to meet important criteria and is not suitable for shortlisting  The two assessors assigned to each award are responsible to the Director for assessing applications for that award and for drawing up an agreed shortlist, of no more than three applications for consideration at the next stage. The list of submissions for an assessment visit should be based on an assessment of those suitable for short-listing which best meet the criteria for the award. In general, where there are fewer than six submissions, only one College need be visited if no others meet the criteria. For between six and 15 submissions, two Colleges should be visited, above 15 submissions a maximum of three Colleges may be visited.  Submissions from Colleges should be anonymous. Each College will be allocated a reference code which the assessors should use in correspondence with the Director. If a submission has not been fully anonymised, assessors should note this on the SAF for feedback to the College. Submissions may be returned to the College for removal of any reference before being passed on to the assessors. 14
  15. 15.  Applications from two or more Colleges working in partnership or submissions from consortia of Colleges should be treated as any other application, although one College must agree to be the main point of contact to avoid confusion.  Assessors should read submissions, complete the SAF and then discuss their findings with each other to agree which Colleges should be shortlisted for a visit. If the two assessors are unable to agree a shortlist, the views of the Director and the Chief Assessor should be sought.  It is expected that assessors complete the assessment and SAFs for at least five submissions a day.  Completed SAFs should be returned to the Director for all Colleges by Wednesday 7th August 2013 for approval. The form asks assessors to identify points of merit and areas for improvement in the submissions. The comments should be fairly extensive and should include an explicit reason for the decision to shortlist or not. This summary needs to be self explanatory and provide sufficient information to enable the Director to give informed feedback to any non-shortlisted College.  The Chief Assessor and/or Director will review the SAFs as part of a moderation process. The Director will inform the Lead Assessor of the College contact details on the approval of the shortlist.  Once the shortlist for an award has been approved, the assessors should contact the relevant Colleges to arrange mutually convenient dates and times for visits. Assessors should make clear any requirements for additional information prior to the visit. The arrangements for the visit will be confirmed in writing to the Principal. 15
  16. 16.  Assessors should draft a letter (an example can be seen at appendix 3) for the College specifying the arrangements for the visit. When assessors wish to see a particular aspect of the project, or require additional information to be made available either prior to, or during the visit, they should ensure this request is included in the confirmation letter for the visit rather than ask to see it on the day. The letter confirming the arrangements for the visit is sent to the College by AoC Beacon Awards Director on behalf of the assessors.  Assessors must also complete an overview report of each award. This should be completed in two parts. Part 1 of the assessors’ overview report should identify any general areas for improvement in submissions and the rationale for the final shortlist. This part of the report should be sent to the Director with the SAFs and recommended shortlist. Part 2 of the report should be completed following the assessment visits.  After the announcement of Award winners, Colleges are sent general feedback, by the AoC Beacon Awards Director, on each of the awards they have applied for and are offered the option of specific feedback to be given verbally. Stage 2 Site visits  The purpose of the site visits should be to validate the evidence provided in the submission, clarify any aspects of the submission, collect additional evidence and assess the extent to which the project meets the criteria for the award.  The Chief Assessor may, by arrangement, join any site visit by assessors and may stand in for an assessor in cases of unavoidable absence. 16
  17. 17.  Any additional documents required by the assessors should be requested from the College in advance of the site visit by the assessors.  Discussions with staff, students and other relevant parties in the course of site visits should focus on the benefits of the project to learners, particularly any outcomes for learning including achievements in terms of skills and/or qualifications gained. Assessors will also wish to explore and clarify areas of the project such as: its future development and how it will be sustained, how it is managed including, the impact on equality and diversity, evaluation and dissemination to other Colleges.  Assessors should remember that all submissions are about what the Colleges consider to be excellent work.  Assessors are not inspectors but are there to listen, to learn and to ask questions, in other words, act as a ‘critical friend’.  Assessors should bear in mind that Colleges go to considerable effort to ensure their visit showcases their work in the best light possible. They often arrange for external stakeholders and former students to be available to meet with them. Assessors should display every courtesy to the people they meet on the visit. They should endeavour to ensure the timetable for the visit is maintained and be appreciative of the time external stakeholders have taken to support the College and meet them.  The following procedural points may be helpful to assessors:  a half day visit (4- 5 hours) is often sufficient for assessors to form a judgement on the quality of the project and avoid placing too great a demand on the College 17
  18. 18.  it is useful for assessors to agree who should lead on each discussion point – this could be done prior to each visit by asking the College for the use of a room for about half-an-hour before each site visit  similarly, it is useful for assessors to request a room at the end of the visit so that they can have a short meeting in private to prepare a brief summary feedback on the visit  Assessors should give a short feedback (about 10 minutes) to Colleges following the visit. This should not be critical but recognise areas of good practice and suggest areas for development where appropriate  Assessors should not tell Colleges how many other Colleges have entered for the award or been shortlisted  Assessors should not tell Colleges what their recommendations are  The Lead Assessor should write to the College liaison officer after the visit thanking the College for all it has done to make the visit a success; the letter should be copied to the Principal of the College and to the Beacon Awards Director.  Assessors should produce a joint report of the visit which is sent to the Director in electronic form (i.e. by email or on a USB stick).  The visit report completed by the assessors must include the following: (see standard format for the visit report at appendix 2) - College details - Project summary 18
  19. 19. - A summary of the visit - Assessment against the sponsor’s criteria (the main evidence for the decision on the award) - Project organisation and management - Project outcomes and benefits - Summary strengths and area for development - Recommendation (Overall judgement on the match to the sponsor’s criteria and recommendation for an award)  The visit report should not be more than three sides of A4, in reasonable font size (i.e. no smaller than font size 10) and must be agreed by the two assessors.  The copy of the assessors’ report given to the Steering Group will be anonymised so assessors are requested to make no references which could identify the College beyond the first section of the report.  Assessors should recommend one winner. In the unusual case of two applications being of absolutely equal merit the assessors may refer to the Chief Assessor for approval to recommend joint winners. This must also be discussed with the Director since there may be financial implications for the sponsor.  Assessors must complete part 2 of the assessors’ overview report which should provide the rationale for recommendation and identify any areas for improvement in the assessment of awards. This report will be used to support the moderation and quality assurance of assessment.  Assessors must keep to the final date for the return of notes to the Director since this date is determined by the time scale needed to allow the Steering Group to make its decisions. The final date for receipt of all assessors’ feedback forms, overviews, reports and 19
  20. 20. recommendations is Wednesday 16th October 2013. Stage 3 Final decisions The Beacon Awards Steering Group acting as the Assessment Board makes the final decisions about award winners in the light of recommendations from the team of assessors and the Chief Assessor. The Chief Assessor:  reads reports of all site visits made to short listed Colleges  reads the SAFs from assessors in order to gain an overview of the quality of non-shortlisted submissions and the reasons for not being shortlisted  reads a selection of the full submissions from Colleges  if necessary, contacts assessors through the Director for clarification or further comment  produces a short commentary on the recommendations made for each award  uses the commentaries to advise the Beacon Awards Steering Group in its decision making  produces an overview report for the Steering Group  The Chief Assessor, together with the Director, may identify a number of winning projects which they feel to be particularly outstanding or innovative in any given year to be submitted to the President of the AoC Charitable Trust so that he or she can decide upon one to receive a ‘Presidents’ Award’. 20
  21. 21.  Decisions about the AoC Beacon Award winners are taken by the Steering Group at its meeting in late October/early November each year.  The Steering Group reserves the right not to make an award. The Steering Group does not give any explanation of its decisions nor does the Director enter into any discussion about decisions or about individual submissions.  In the situation where the Steering Group’s decision differs from the recommendation made by the assessors, the sponsor may be informed of this, but will not be entitled to appeal the decision.  The Steering Group appreciates that sponsors wish to maximise the publicity in relation to their own winning College, however they must not contact the College they have recommended as the winner until this status has been confirmed at the announcement.  Award winners will be announced at the AoC’s annual conference between 19-21 November 2013. 21
  22. 22. Quality Assurance and Evaluation of Assessment The Chief Assessor is responsible to the Beacon Awards Steering Group for the quality assurance of the assessment of the awards. All assessors are required to attend training and new assessors are supported by a Mentor. The Chief Assessor reviews the assessors' reports to ensure the reliability of assessment, the consistency of assessment and parity between awards. Colleges complete an evaluation form following an assessment visit. The College evaluations are used as a basis for identification of training needs and for further development and improvement in the assessment of awards. An overview of the arrangements for quality assurance is given below: Moderation and quality assurance of assessment The Chief Assessor reviews all reports by assessors to ensure:  Assessment forms and reports are appropriately completed with clear identification of strengths and weaknesses in relation to the Beacon and sponsors' criteria  The short-list of submissions is appropriate and supported by clear analysis in the assessment forms  Recommendations for the award are well supported by evidence and assessment recorded in the visit report  The overview report provides a clear summary analysis of strengths and weaknesses of submissions, identifies areas for improvement in submissions and gives a clear rationale for the recommendation for the award  Assessment is consistent between submissions and is comparable in the standard across all awards. 22
  23. 23. Moderation is carried out in two stages: (i) End of first stage assessment - moderation of initial assessment (short-listing) of submissions: For each award a sample of submissions and SAFs is read and the assessors' overview report (part 1) reviewed. The Chief Assessor considers the appropriateness of the completion of SAFs and of the rationale for the shortlist. The outcomes of the moderation/review is fed back to assessors and reported to the Steering Group as part of the annual Chief Assessor's report. (ii) End of second stage assessment - review of assessors’ recommendations: For each award the assessors' visit reports and overview reports are read. Where there is a lack of clarity in the visit reports the submissions are reviewed and in cases where the reports for the winning College(s) are found to be insufficiently detailed assessors will be contacted for further information or clarification. The review considers the appropriateness of the visit report, and of the assessors' justification of the award. The outcomes of the review are reported to the Steering Group as part of the annual Chief Assessor's report. In cases where the Chief Assessor finds the reports anomalous the final decision on the award will be referred for review by the Steering Group. Feedback is provided to assessors at each stage of moderation and all assessors receive a copy of the Chief Assessor’s annual report. Evaluation To further support improvement and development of assessment short-listed Colleges have opportunity to evaluate and comment, formally on the arrangements for assessment. The evaluation form can be found at Appendix 4. 23
  24. 24. The form should be completed by the College and returned to the Beacon Awards Director by 16 October 2013 . The forms are summarised by the Director and reviewed by the Chief Assessor. A summary report resulting from the analysis is included in the Chief Assessor’s annual report to the Steering Group and forms the basis of recommendations for changes and improvements to assessment The forms will be copied to the Beacon Assessors for the award but otherwise treated as confidential. Where evaluation consistently gives rise to concerns over assessment for a particular award or regarding the conduct of specific assessors the Chief Assessor will conduct a review of the arrangements for assessment and recommend suitable actions to the Beacon Awards Director. Appendix 1. Members of the Beacon Awards Steering Group Dame Pat Bacon Gill Clipson Brynley Davies Steve Frampton Anne Sleath Joan Herron Paul Little Rajinder Mann Roger Marriott Karen Murray Michael Osbaldeston Alice Thiagaraj Chair, AoC Beacon Awards Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy, AoC Colleges Wales, Wales Representative Principal, Portsmouth College – Sixth Form College Representative Qualifications Group Manager, Post 19, OCR Southern Regional College – Northern Ireland Representative City of Glasgow College, Scotland Representative Director, Network for Black Professionals Chief Assessor, AoC Beacon Awards Young Peoples Programmes, EFA Partnership Director, City & Guilds Director, AoC Charitable Trust 24
  25. 25. Appendix 2. Assessment Forms Below are two forms which assessors should use to assist them in the reporting of the assessment process. The first is a template for assessors to complete following the site visit of a shortlisted College. VISIT REPORT – TEMPLATE Visit Report AoC Beacon Award (title of award) 2013 College: Title of Project: Date of Visit: Assessors: 1. Project Summary:( Please bear in mind that this section may be shared with the Beacon Awards Steering Group who will not have seen the original application, so include a brief summary of the project as a whole as well as identifying any unusual or innovative features of the project.) 2. Summary of Activities during Visit: (a brief summary of the meetings and activities of the visit) 3. Assessment Notes: (assessment against sponsor’s criteria) Identify strengths and weaknesses against each of the sponsor's criteria 4. Summary Assessment: Project organisation and management: (identify key features that support the success of the project or that need to be further developed) 25
  26. 26. Project outcomes: (identify the key benefits to learners and the value of the initiative to other Colleges) Overall Strengths and Areas for development: (summarise the main key strengths and areas for development) 5. Recommendation (overall judgement on the match of the project to sponsor's criteria and the recommendation of the assessors for an award) ************************************************ The following is the Selection Analysis Form to assist assessors in the shortlisting process. This form is available in electronic format and will be emailed to assessors for use each year. 26
  27. 27. AoC BEACON AWARDS SELECTION ANALYSIS FORM FOR SHORT-LISTING APPLICATIONS Title and year of Award: College code: Title of Project: ASSESSOR: BEACON CRITERIA To what extent are the Beacon criteria met by the submission (identify specific shortcomings) Full Part Not COMMENTS It is subject to evaluation/quality assurance to influence continuing development of the initiative It promotes equality and diversity in the delivery of the programme It has been running for at least one academic year by 31 July 2013 It has features which actively promote exemplary teaching and learning It is of benefit to one or more groups of students or trainees which are identified and described in the submission It has wider relevance and applicability which makes it of value to other Colleges as an example of good practice or innovation Assessment Grade: 27
  28. 28. AoC BEACON AWARDS SELECTION ANALYSIS FORM (PART2 SPONSOR'S CRITERIA ASSESSMENT) Title and year of Award: College code: Title of Project: ASSESSOR: SPONSOR CRITERIA Full Part Not COMMENTS Against each criteria set out by the sponsor assess the extent to which the criteria are met. Note : This part of the form should be continued as required. Assessment Grade: 28
  29. 29. AoC BEACON AWARDS SELECTION ANALYSIS FORM (PART3 SUMMARY ASSESSMENT) Title and year of Award: College code: Title of Project: ASSESSOR: Please identify the following for feedback to Colleges should it be requested (bullet points). What features of the initiative are of merit or of interest? What aspects of the initiative/application could be improved, should the College wish to re-submit in the future? OVERALL GRADE: Assessors’ Decision: SHORT-LISTED / NOT SHORT-LISTED (delete as appropriate) Comments if any: 29
  30. 30. Appendix 3. Sample confirmation letter to shortlisted Colleges Contact name and address Date Dear (Contact) AoC Beacon Awards 2013/14 – (Title of Beacon Award) Ref: (code) Further to our assessor’s recent telephone call, I have pleasure in confirming that your College has been shortlisted for the (Award). The two assessors assigned to the award are (Lead Assessor) and his/her co-assessor (Sponsor Assessor) from (Sponsor). As discussed, they would like to visit you on (date) from (time) until (time). The assessors will wish to engage in discussions with managers, stakeholders, partners and staff involved in delivering the initiative. They would also like an opportunity to talk to learners. It would be helpful if you would draw up a programme to include evidence of the following: (list evidence required) Where possible, please include points that are additional to those outlined in your submission as well as incorporating any other aspect of your work which you would like the assessors to see. It would be helpful if you could allow 15 minutes for assessors to meet privately on arrival and at the end of the programme so that they can provide feedback to the College at the end of the visit. Apart from this you should feel free to structure the visit as suits
  31. 31. you best with the minimum disruption to you and your colleagues. Please confirm your receipt of this letter and that you are happy with the arrangements. I understand that you will send a programme and location details to the assessors prior to their visit. Their contact details are: Lead assessor address, number and email Sponsor assessor address, number and email (Please not that x assessor has the following dietary requirements/needs car parking space – delete if not applicable.) I enclose the handbook for the assessment of AoC Beacon Awards which gives further detail on what the assessors will be looking for in their visit as well as an evaluation of assessment form which I should be grateful if you could complete after your visit has taken place and returned to me by Wednesday 16 October 2013 at the latest. Congratulations on reaching this stage of the assessment process. I appreciate this is a busy time and I hope that as little inconvenience as possible will be caused. I will be sending a copy of this letter to the Principal. If you have any queries relating to the visit, do not hesitate to contact me. Yours sincerely Alice Thiagaraj Cc Principal
  32. 32. Appendix 4. College Evaluation form AoC BEACON AWARDS: EVALUATION OF ASSESSMENT TO BE COMPLETED BY COLLEGES FOLLOWING AN ASSESSMENT VISIT The purpose of this questionnaire is to gain feedback from Colleges of the assessment arrangements for the AoC Beacon Awards. Findings will be used in the overall evaluation of assessment and the improvement of practice. Name of organisation: (Please circle one number) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sixth Form College General FE College Tertiary College Land Based College Art & Design College Independent Specialist College Other: Please specify Date of assessment visit: Beacon Award Title of the project/submission For the remainder of the questionnaire, please circle one number and provide any additional comments as appropriate. (Where a statement is not applicable please circle Box 5.) We were satisfied with: Strongly Agree 1. The notice given for the visit Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree No Opinion or N/A 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Comments 2. The quantity of documentation requested prior to and during the visit. Comments 3. The way the college’s documentation was used during the visit Comments 4. The conduct of assessors and their management of the meetings. Comments
  33. 33. We were satisfied that: Strongly Agree 5. Assessors had the professional competence to assess the submission Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree No Opinion or N/A 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Comments 6. The assessors considered the evidence appropriately Comments 7. The feedback at the end of the visit week comprised a fair reflection of the project/submission. Comments Please indicate by ticking the appropriate box below whether there were more gains from the assessment in helping the organisation/overall provision to improve, or more negative effects. 8. The gains in helping to improve the provision outweigh negative effects 8.1 The gains and negative effects are equally balanced 8.2 The negative effects outweigh the gains 8.3 Thank you for taking the time to complete this form. If you have any further comments, which you believe would help improve the assessment, please supply them below. In particular, is it helpful to know what went well during the assessment and what did not go so well. Assessment would be improved by: Form completed by (please enter name and position in College )...................................................................... Please return this form to Alice Thiagaraj, Director AoC Beacon Awards, 2-5 Stedham Place London WC1A 1HU
  34. 34. Appendix 5. Assessors’ Fees and Expenses AoC Beacon Assessors are entitled to claim a daily rate plus reasonable expenses. A day’s work should be calculated as being 7.5 hours, in line with the contracted working day for AoC employees. Visits should normally be completed in one day including travel. However where travel would result in a working day longer than 9 hours it is reasonable for assessors to claim an overnight stay. Visit reports should be completed within 0.5 of a day. Assessors should normally aim to complete a visit including travel, any overnight stays, and report writing within 1.5 days. Administration may be claimed for each award. Assessors should aim to allocate no more than 0.5 days per award for administration to cover the time to arrange visits, write letters and complete the overview report. Expenses may be claimed according to AoC policy but assessors are encouraged to seek the cheapest (acceptable) accommodation. AoC Beacon Assessors are asked to bear in mind that the Beacon Awards operate through the AoC Charitable Trust which is a Registered Charity and the assessment, administration, events, PR and publications all need to be covered by the sponsors’ donations. As such, the Trust greatly appreciates the efforts Beacon Assessors make to keep their expenses to a minimum. Assessors are asked to submit an invoice to cover their fees once they have returned all their completed forms and reports to the AoC Beacon Awards office at the end of the process. Expenses may be claimed for throughout the process using the expenses claim form which can be emailed to Beacon Assessors. An example of the claim form appears below. Expenses claim
  35. 35. forms can be emailed back to the office, provided scanned copies of all receipts are also attached, or sent by post with the original receipts.
  36. 36. N ame: Address: D ate Association of Col 2-5 Stedham Place N ew Oxford Stree London WC1A 1H Tel: 020 7034 9900 Budget Code escription N o. of D Mileage (including Event D etails) miles return D G4 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.0 Parking Taxi D G3 D G2 0.00 0.00 0.00 B/Rail Tubes D G1 0.00 Hotel D G5 0.00 Personal Staff External Subsisten Meeting Meeting Hospitalit ce Subsisten Subsisten y D G6 D M4 D M3 DH 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 Other 0.00 Private car m ileage:- 45p per m ile ALL RECEIPTS TO BE ATTACHED . Signatu re: …………………………………………….. Checked by: ……………………………………………….. Ap p roved by: ……………………………………. IF YOU ARE CLAIMIN G MILEAGE PLEASE SIGN BELOW TO CON FIRM THAT YOUR CAR IS AD EQUATELY IN SURED FOR THESE JOURN EYS AN D IS LEGA Signatu re: ………………………………………………
  37. 37. Appendix 6: CHECK LIST OF DOCUMENTS TO BE SENT TO THE BEACON AWARDS OFFICE Date sent to Beacon Office Selection Analysis Forms Visit letter to College Site visit reports Award overview reports including Recommendations of assessors Copy of letter of thanks sent to the College’s liaison officer Appendix 7: Appointment and training of Beacon Assessors. Appointment of Beacon Assessors: Individuals with suitable experience and current knowledge of the work of Further Education Colleges are invited to apply to join the register of Beacon Assessors. Colleges winning a Beacon Award are invited to nominate a member of staff associated with the winning submission to be considered for appointment as a Beacon Assessor. Appointment is made following assessment, by the Beacon Awards Director and the Chief Assessor, of the match of the applicant's experience and skills to the specification included in the job description (available at: http://www.aoc.co.uk/en/aoc_beacon_gold_and_other_awards/aoc_beac on_gold_awards/aoc_beacon_awards/assessment.cfm). The register is maintained by the Beacon Awards Director. The Selection criteria for AoC Beacon Assessors contained in the job description are:  Leadership and management within the further education sector  Current knowledge of the further education sector i.e. direct experience of the sector outside the AoC Beacon Awards within the last 3 years
  38. 38.  In-depth knowledge of a specific curriculum or development area  Evidence of substantial teaching experience in the FE sector  Project management skills including the ability to effectively and efficiently manage resources  Competent written skills  Ability to consolidate and analyse information to make an objective assessment of provision and outcomes against the agreed criteria. Assessors are required to re-register after a period of three years and to attend the one day training for assessors on re-appointment. To be reregistered assessors will be required to submit to the Beacon Awards manager a summary of their professional development and direct experience of the sector outside the AoC Beacon Awards within the previous 3 years Training of Assessors Beacon assessors are required to attend the assessor training at least every three years. Sponsor’s assessors should also attend when possible but will not be reimbursed for their expenses or attendance. New Beacon Assessors are allocated a mentor and required to attend the one day training conference. The role of mentor is to provide support and guidance especially during the first two visits made by a new assessor. The mentor will accompany both visits; on the first the mentee will mainly observe but should lead the second visit and be responsible for writing the report of that visit. On completion of the second visit the mentee is required to complete a self-assessment form which should be agreed by the mentor following a review of the report. On subsequent visits the new assessor is expected to take a full role in the assessment processes.

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