Internal Verification Policy

1. Introduction

1.2 In view of the nature of our business, it is agreed that sampling will be organised around both assessment locations (if applicable) and assessors. This will ensure consistency and that the performances of all Assessors are monitored across sites. It will also ensure that the work of all assessors is monitored and supported during the assessment process.

1.3 The policy aims to:

  • ensure a high quality of delivery
  • ensure the assessment and verification process is robust and fit the purpose
  • provide a student-centred approach to assessment that provides adequate opportunities for learner to successfully achieve their qualifications
  • identify staff professional needs and support them to develop both professionally and as a person.

2. The Role of Internal Verifier

2.1 Within our College the Internal Verifier is crucial to the Quality Assurance of the programme to ensure that it retains value and credibility nationally. This also means that the Internal Verifier is key to ensuring that student certification is an authentic achievement of national standards.

2.2 There are three main areas of the Internal Verifier role: –

  • Verifying assessments
  • Developing and supporting assessors
  • Managing quality of programme delivery

3 Verification of Assessment

3.1 The Internal Verifier should maintain focus on all of the key areas in paragraph 3.3.

3.2 Assessments are verified to ensure consistent and reliable assessment and internal verification decisions and to monitor the quality of assessment and highlight problems, trends and development needs of assessors.

3.3 There are three core strands to verifying assessment:-

      • Sampling assessments
      • Monitoring assessment practice
      • Standardising assessment judgments

3.4 Sampling Assessments will involve reviewing the quality of Assessors’ judgments at both interim and summative stages.

nterim sampling can include reviewing the candidate’s work (a) before decisions have been made on any unit and (b) looking at portfolios with one or two completed units. This will entail checking the progress review report given to candidates by Assessors. It will enable the Internal Verifier to evaluate the quality of formative guidance on assessment and the effectiveness of assessment planning.

3.6 Interim verification will highlight to the Internal Verifier any problems, thus avoiding the overturning of final decisions. It will also highlight individual Assessor needs for support or training. In addition, this may be used to develop the assessment team as a whole and affords the opportunity to identify and implement “best practices”.

3.7 Summative sampling should entail reviewing the quality of the assessment decision by evaluating the process followed by an Assessor in reaching that decision. The Internal Verifier must be able to follow an audit trail which clearly demonstrates that the Assessor has checked the evidence (in whatever format) and complies with the “rules of evidence”. This can include evidence gathered by portfolio, audio tape or evidence identified via alternative assessment. All evidence must be confirmed by the Assessor as VARCS:-

      • Valid: relevant to standards and assessment criteria for which competence is claimed.
      • Authentic: produced by the candidate.
      • Reliable: accurately reflects the level of performance which has
        been consistently demonstrated by the candidate.
      • Current: sufficiently recent to be confident that the same level of
        skill/understanding/knowledge exists at the time of claim.
      • Sufficient: meets in full ALL the requirements of the standards
        and the level of the qualification.

3.8 Interim Internal Verifier checks must be carried out regularly throughout the programme to ensure the consistency of assessments and the validity of evidence gathered. This affords the Internal Verifier the opportunity to monitor the work of the Assessors and their adherence to correct procedures.

3.9 Cross referencing of evidence must also be monitored to ascertain the Assessors understanding of relevant evidence which has been produced by candidates.

3.10 The Internal Verifier must record and report on all sampling undertaken in sufficient detail to be able to justify the decision made.

4 Verification Sampling Strategy

4.1 The Internal Verifier must keep a Sampling Plan and produce Internal Verification Reports to monitor the overall sampling strategy.

4.2 The size of the verification sampling must take into account whether or not the sample represents a sufficiently accurate picture of the quality of assessment to give confidence that those decisions not sampled also meet national standards. We are committed to sample a reasonable number of learners’ portfolios for each award, each unit, each assessment method, each level and for each assessor/tutor, following the CAMERA strategy:

C candidates are representative of age, ethnicity, gender, disability, working patterns, etc.
A assessors at different levels of experience.
M methods of assessment, e.g. assignment, observation, professional discussion, reflective accounts, written questioning, work products, witness testimony, RPL.
E evidence types, e.g. video, audio, written, photographic.
R recording documents, e.g. assessment reports, observation forms, records of achievement, certification claims.
A assessment locations/sites.

4.3 A common unit may be identified as a standardisation unit, and this will be sampled for all assessors. This will help to ensure that all assessors are making consistent assessment decisions and that there is no inconsistency among assessors. The standardisation unit can be changed if a problem unit has been identified and the level of sampling increased. This will be fully discussed in the standardisation meeting.

4.4 It is essential that the Internal Verifier samples assessment decisions of all Assessors. The frequency of the sampling can depend on the experience of the Assessors. As a guideline the internal verifier must sample a minimum of 2 units for experienced and qualified assessors and a minimum of 3 units for new and trainee assessors. The sample is at 30% and may vary if there is any need to do so.

44.5 The Internal Verifier must sample the full range of assessment methods e.g. direct observation of performance, discussion/Q & A, assessment of portfolio evidence – products, Approved Prior Learning, witness testimony, reflective accounts, witness testimony, professional discussions, assessment of simulated exercises.

4.6 It is imperative that the Internal Verifier understands the qualification thoroughly and the likely range and scope of assessment methods and evidence sources that can be used. Therefore, there will be regular standardisation of assessment and internal verification activities. All the minutes will be made available to the External Examiner upon request. As a guideline there will be at least two standardisation meetings per year. This will be more frequent for new programmes of where there have been problems or issues with assessment.

4.7 The Internal Verifier must also take into account the workload of Assessors so that the total sample fairly reflects the number of decisions being made by individual Assessors. A high ratio of candidates to Assessor may bring about assessment problems or a diminishing quality of assessment. This will be monitored through tracking.

4.8 Where the assessments are carried out by Assessors at a satellite location, the Internal Verifier must ensure the sample follows the same strategy as above and that a standardisation of assessments is maintained.

4.9 It is essential that both Assessors and the Internal Verifier knows the standards well and agree on their interpretation.

4.10 If standards are revised, it is possible that Assessors may be carrying out candidate assessments simultaneously on both sets of standards. This transitional phase must be monitored by the Internal Verifier and the sample increased accordingly.

4.11 Within the strategy the internal verifiers ensured that they implemented the requirements of:

5 Monitoring Assessment Practice

5.1 The aims of monitoring are:

  • To ensure that national standards of assessment are adhered to by all assessors.
  • To identify problems or areas where assessors require guidance and development. These areas may vary among assessors.
  •  To ensure that candidates are aware of and satisfied with the assessment process.

5.2 The Internal Verifier must observe Assessors in action giving an assessment and give feedback on performance. Also, a review and evaluation of all aspects of an Assessor’s performance must be undertaken, using internal verification records.

5.3 All Assessors should be monitored on a frequent basis whilst they are using a variety of assessment methods. The Internal Verifier should be aware of the safety, confidentiality, security implications and any additional organisational requirements that may be affected by his/her presence.

5.4 The quality and accuracy of assessment plans, as well as assessor records, should be included in the review. The Internal Verifier must also monitor an assessor’s assessing and interpersonal skills. This will allow identification of any problem areas and training/development needs.

5.5 The Internal Verifier will give constructive and positive feedback to the assessor and record all data in the Internal Verification Report.

5.6 The monitoring process also allows the Internal Verifier the opportunity to liaise with candidates and ensure their assessment needs are being properly met. The internal verifier will interview candidates at random and this will be recorded. In particular, the Internal Verifier should check that the candidate: –

  • knows which qualification they are working towards
  • has a copy of the standards
  • understands the assessment process
  • knows what progress they have made towards achievement
  • is aware of their right to unit certification
  • understands their role in evidence generation, collection and cross-referencing
  • has confidence in their Assessor
  • understands the appeals process
  • has no unmet current learning needs

5.7 The Internal Verifier must keep records of all the monitoring of assessment and verification practice undertaken.

6 Standardising Assessment Judgements

6.1 The aims of standardizing are:

  • To ensure that all assessors make the same decision on the
    same evidence base
  • To ensure that all candidates are assessed fairly.

6.2 Standardisation is an important part of the Internal Verifier’s duties. Team meetings should be held on a regular basis and attendance should be monitored. These meetings ensure a common standard of decision making. Minutes of meetings will be recorded and a Standardisation Attendance Sheet will be attached to it.

6.3 At standardisation meetings, assessors should be encouraged to raise any issues they feel has relevance to the assessment process.

6.4 All assessors and internal verifiers are required to attend a minimum of two standardisation meetings per year.

7 Developing & Supporting Assessors

7.1 The Internal Verifier will give guidance, support, and ensure the continuing professional development of the team of Assessors. Continuous Professional Development Logs are completed quarterly and emailed to the internal verifier, HR and the Quality Manager. This is particularly relevant;-

  • when an Assessor is new (to the team, to the Centre, to course)
  • when standards change or guidance is revised
  • following External Verifier visits
  • for quality assurance purpose

7.2 New assessors will receive an appropriately structured induction. This will take into account previous experience generally and/or with a particular suite of awards

7.3 The Internal Verifier will ensure that Assessors have access to:-

  • copies of all national standards they are to assess
  • a set of all assessment records and templates (e.g. observation
    forms, assessment records, witness testimony forms)
  • copies of the Academic Appeal Policy, Equal Opportunities and Diversity Statement and other relevant organisational procedures.
  • information about available candidate and assessor support
  •  information about the Awarding Organisation and External Examiner
  • information about candidates including existing achievement accreditation, special learning or assessment needs, workplace details including supervisor/manager and any other relevant information e.g. any time constraints

The Internal Verifier will sample and monitor the assessments of a newly appointed Assessor (with or without certification) more frequently. This enables the Internal Verifier to identify any training/development needs.

7.5 The Internal Verifier will be able to produce evidence that identifies and addresses learning and development needs for each Assessor. This supports and maintains the CPD programme.

8 Managing the Quality of Course Delivery

8.1 The Lead Internal Verifier will have the responsibility for managing the quality of the delivery of the course and maintaining the required systems and processes to:

  • ensure assessment resources (including personnel) are effectively managed and planned
  • provide a quality assurance role
  • provide a link between the awarding body and other regulatory bodies.

The Internal Verifier will have access to accurate and meaningful information on:-

  • Candidates’ needs (additional or special learning/development, including technical aids or physical adaptations), extra support, “unsocial” hours assessment etc.
  • Location
  • Current workload of assessors
  • Candidate progress
  • Potential new candidates
  • Average timescales of different awards
  • Assessor availability (current and projected)

The Internal Verifier will arrange regular meetings of the assessment and verification team which are to be attended by all available assessors and verifiers. Any unqualified IV will be countersigned.

A vital part of the Internal Verifier’s duties are to ensure the effective management of resources. These include personnel and appropriate materials, equipment and facilities. This is to ensure the candidate has access to any requirements to complete their course.

The Internal Verifier role also encompasses assuring and ensuring quality standards in the delivery and assessment of course. This will involve organisational quality assurance procedures. The Lead Internal Verifier will also be responsible for carrying out the self-assessment review of the Centre’s performance on a regular basis and will report this to the Quality Manager who compiles the College’s SAR and QIP.

As the direct link between the Centre, the Awarding Organisation and other Regulatory Bodies, the Lead Internal Verifier must ensure that all information/guidance available is the latest and most up to date. This information is to be made available to all Assessors and Verifiers.

The External Examiner contact at the College will be the Lead Internal Verifier and the Principal who will have access to any information requested by the External Examiner. This can include:-

  • number of current registered candidates per course/level
  • candidate Centre enrolment and Awarding Body registration details
  • Assessor details – specifically CVs, Assessor qualifications,
  • development plans, workloads
  • candidate progress reviews and achievements, special assessment requirements
  • assessment records and plans
  • candidate support resources available
  • assessment sites
  • satellite sites (if applicable )
  • internal verification sampling strategy
  • internal verifier records including feedback to Assessors,
  • discussions with candidates
  • records of claims for certification
  • candidate evidence files/portfolios

8.8 Following an External Examiner visit, any “action plan” agreed will be maintained by the Quality Manager to ensure all actions are completed within the allotted time scale. This will be recorded in the External Examiner Action Plan Form and will be reviewed to monitor progress.

8.9 The Lead Verifier, Principal or the Quality Manager will authorise applications for certification to the relevant Awarding Organisation

8.10 The Quality Manager will also ensure the security of candidate files and their assessment records.