The purpose of the end point assessment (EPA) is to test that an apprentice is fully capable of doing their job before they receive their apprenticeship certificate. It also helps to demonstrate that what an apprentice has learned can be applied in the real world.
Changing how apprentices are assessed
On a framework apprentices are assessed continuously throughout their apprenticeships, usually by compiling a portfolio consisting of lots of individual pieces of evidence. New apprenticeship standards include an EPA. We highlighted some of the differences between standards and frameworks previously.
The Richard review found that continuous assessment did not allow all apprentices to demonstrate that they can carry out the whole of their job. Employers wanted assurance that former apprentices they employed or planned to employ were fully competent.
The focus is now on the outcome of an apprenticeship and apprentices have to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers have identified they need.
A synoptic end point assessment
The synoptic EPA has become a core feature of new apprenticeship standards because it assesses the apprentice’s performance across the whole standard rather than for individual tasks.
There are a range of assessment methods including:
- practical assessment
- written and/or multiple choice tests
- presentation or sales pitch
The apprentice must be assessed by a minimum of 2 different assessments methods and the methods used will be the ones most relevant to the job.
After the EPA, the apprentice is graded by pass, merit or distinction. Clear grading descriptors set out the requirements for each grade.
Keeping consistency of quality
Assessment plans go through an approval process to make sure that the quality of each assessment is of the highest possible standard. Approval is done by the Institute for Apprenticeships led by our employer Route Panels and Board.
The EPA is then subject to external quality assurance (EQA) undertaken by an independent organisation to ensure all assessments are consistent in quality and approach.
If you want to offer apprenticeships, current Apprenticeship standards are published on gov.uk along with their assessment plans. For employers you can also use gov.uk to find apprenticeship training.