External quality assurance (EQA) verifies that recognised centres have the necessary processes, resources and staffing in place to effectively manage and support the valid award of our units and qualifications
It also checks that learners have presented sufficient, valid evidence at the appropriate level to be awarded credit for units and qualifications.
Agored Cymru is committed to implementing a robust, transparent, risk-based approach to quality assurance which is both manageable for centres and proportionate in the action taken where shortcomings are identified.
Every Agored Cymru recognised centre is allocated a Centre Manager (CM). All quality assurance queries must be directed to your CM. If you are not sure who your CM is please contact us to clarify.
Our EQA process is focused on ensuring learner achievement is accurately rewarded. We aim to protect the standard and integrity of our awards to ensure they are respected nationally and valued by learners, educators, the world of work and the public.
We use a risk based targeted approach to selecting where to focus EQA activity. The breadth, depth and frequency of EQA vary across centres and depend on several key risk factors.
- the centre is new to Agored Cymru
- first time delivery following approval to deliver Agored Cymru qualifications
- new assessors/ internal quality assurers
- the outcomes of previous EQA and compliance with our centre requirements
- the volume and breadth of centre activity
- merged and split site centres
- risk banding of qualifications delivered
- partner centre activity including new partner centres
- the sector subject areas under focus in a given year
- reasonable adjustments
- whether the centre has qualified internal quality assurers (QIQAs) in post.
Where additional EQA interventions are required as a result of noncompliance the centre will be charged.
Remote desk-based EQA will be carried out, where appropriate, and centres will be asked to send evidence via secure file transfer for review.
Demonstration of effective internal quality assurance resulting in a high quality assessment process can mean reduced external scrutiny.
Preparing for External Quality Assurance
We use appropriately qualified, experienced and skilled staff to undertake EQA. The appointed Agored Cymru External Quality Assurer (EQA)/External Verifier (EV) will contact the centre to negotiate a date and to confirm the details of the visit.
During the visit, the following documentation must be available:
- centre quality file (including staff CVs/qualifications, policies and procedures)
- internal quality assurance(IQA) documentation and records (read our Guide to Internal Quality Assurance)
- tutor/course files (including class registers, tracking sheets, unit specification(s), schemes of work, assessments tasks, course materials and resources, minutes of team meetings, )
- learners’ assessed evidence (including any cases of reasonable adjustment or special consideration)
- records of learners initial assessments
- learner voice or course evaluation results
- centre publicity and marketing materials relating to Agored Cymru courses
- learner progression data (where available)
- details and supporting evidence for cases of conflicts of interest, complaints and appeals.
The EQA/EV may request to meet with:
- the quality assurance contact / centre contact
- course/qualification coordinator
- internal quality assurers
Learners’ Assessed Evidence
Before the visit, centres are required to complete sampling plans which include:
- lists of learners registered on Agored Cymru courses
- details of which learners and units have been included in the internal quality assurance sample.
The EQA/EV will use this information to identify the sample for external quality assurance scrutiny.
Learner evidence must be cross-referenced to the assessment criteria and separated from handouts and other non-evidential paperwork e.g. course notes.
All courses presented for EQA must have been internally quality assured.
If there is no evidence of internal quality assurance, the external quality assurance will be terminated and the centre will be charged.
Reporting and Monitoring
At the end of the visit, the EQA/EV provides oral and written feedback. The feedback will identify the required actions, advisory actions, suggestions for improvement and leading practice identified.
The final report will be released within 15 working days of the visit.
Centre Action Plan
The Centre Action Plan (CAP) lists the required actions identified at EQA.
A centre must:
- allocate a member of staff (in the ‘by whom’ column) responsible for addressing the action(s) within 5 working days of receiving the final report
- outline how the action is being, or has been, addressed (in the ‘action to be taken by centre’ column) and allocated a date for completion to confirm that the action has been signed off internally
- submit evidence of how the action plan has been implemented.
Failure to effectively implement the required actions within the timescales will result in sanctions.
Advisory actions are not included on the CAP. However, the external quality assurer will monitor whether they have been implemented at the next EQA activity.
Failure to satisfactorily address an advisory action may result in it being upgraded to a required action.
Read our Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS) Policy.