Quality assurance is incredibly important to what we do here at TQUK. Our Quality Team ensures that all of the qualifications we provide are up to the highest standards so that our learners know they’re getting TQUK’s very best.
So, we’re presenting a small guide to quality assurance: what it is, why it’s so important to us and what our wonderful Quality Team is responsible for at TQUK Towers!
What is Quality Assurance and why is it so important?
Quality assurance, in its simplest terms, refers to processes set in place to ensure the validity of a qualification when it is awarded to a learner.
As we’ve explained in a previous blog, what Awarding Organisations do is sell trust. Our job is to determine what skills and knowledge an individual requires to be awarded a qualification in a specific area. So, if someone has a TQUK Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work (RQF), then you can trust that they have the right skills and knowledge needed to deal with a range of workplace first aid situations.
The purpose of quality assurance is to confirm that the work of these learners has been quality assured to the appropriate standard. There are many different processes that go into this. Without quality assurance, there would be nothing guaranteeing the validity of our qualifications. A learner could submit work which is not their own and pass a qualification without having acquired and demonstrated the skills and knowledge needed. They would then have a TQUK certificate which they would not have qualified for, and the trust and validity we provide would be lost.
The Assessing Chain
To understand quality assurance, it’s best to start with an explanation of how learners are assessed. We call this process the ‘assessing chain’:
In a nutshell, when learners are undertaking a qualification, they’ll have to complete assessment activities which will test them on the knowledge and skills they need to pass that qualification.
It is then up to their assessor to make judgements on whether the learner has met the assessment criteria and successfully passed their qualification. Once the assessor has made their assessment judgements, the Internal Quality Assurer (IQA) must check these judgements and make their own judgement on whether they agree with the decisions made by the assessor. Then it is up to the External Quality Assurer (EQA), who works for the Awarding Organisation (us!), to check the judgement of the IQA to see if they agree with the IQA’s decisions.
This ‘assessment chain’ contains many levels and processes to ensure that the correct assessment judgements are made about the learner, the assessor and the IQA. The method of checking the assessment decisions made by the assessor and the IQA is done through sampling. The IQA will gather samples of all assessment activities that a learner undertakes to see if they agree with the assessor. The EQA will also gather samples of the reports written by the IQA to see if they agree with everything.
What is the Quality Team Responsible For?
To ensure that the assessing chain goes smoothly, the Quality Team is responsible for many duties. Some of these include:
Sampling and Direct Claim Status
The Quality Team is responsible for coordinating the sampling process, which includes recruiting EQAs with the required occupational competence for our qualifications and passing on IQA reports and learners’ portfolios to these EQAs. They are also responsible for granting our centres Direct Claim Status, where centres may be excluded from the IQA to EQA sampling process if they have a suitable history of appropriately passing learners.
Scheduling EQA Activity
All of our centres require at least one scheduled EQA activity per year. It is the responsibility of the Quality Team to arrange this scheduled activity. In this scheduled activity, our EQAs will visit our centres, review their practices and ensure that they have appropriate policies and procedures in place. During this scheduled activity, EQAs will speak with staff, conduct sampling, perform observations and talk to learners. These activities are also an opportunity for centres to ask EQAs any questions they may have.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
If a learner has completed a unit that is part of their current qualification then they may be exempted from a component or unit in that qualification. For example, the TQUK Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (RQF) contains a unit from the TQUK Level 3 Award in Education and Training (RQF). If a learner has already completed that unit, then they will not need to complete it again for the Level 4 Certificate. The Quality Team is responsible for deciding whether a learner may obtain RPL.
Centre Devised Assessments
Some of our qualifications allow our centres to devise their own assessments. If centres wish to do so, then they must send in their potential assessments to be reviewed and approved by our Quality Team.
The Quality Team is also responsible for handling investigations into any areas of concern. This could be investigations into plagiarism, malpractice or complaints, among other things. These investigations are carried out to ensure that our centres are maintaining excellent standards and that learners are receiving the best qualifications possible.
And there you have it! We hope this blog gave you a little glimpse into the hard work our Quality Team complete every day here at TQUK. Our Quality Team and the quality assurance processes they undertake are absolutely vital to what we do, and we wouldn’t be able to have thousands of learners across the world with TQUK qualifications without them!