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The Role of an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO)

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Since the launch of Apprenticeship Standards in 2014, End-Point Assessment (EPA) and End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) are common terminology that we, in the further education sector, are used to seeing.

An EPAO is an organisation that carries out the Independent End-Point Assessments of apprenticeships and determines the final grade given to apprentices.

Typically, there are 2-3 assessment methods during EPA, however, for some Apprenticeship Standards this can be more.

These methods can include knowledge tests, professional discussion, interviews, projects, observation and many more. It is common for an Apprenticeship Standard to have more than one assessment method. Please refer to the specific Assessment Plan for details on assessment methods.

EPAOs are responsible for designing and developing a range of materials for End-Point Assessment.

Apprentices will receive, support materials and/or mock assessments when signing up to their programme. It is vitally important for apprentices to understand EPA processes from day one.

Typically, 3 months prior to estimated EPA, apprentices should begin to complete mock assessments, revision and/or practice tests. Apprentices, training providers and employers should already have access to mock assessments and revision materials from the EPAO.

EPAOs are readily available to support you in preparation for End-Point Assessment. If at any time apprentices, employers or training providers need support with EPA or gateway requirements, they must contact their EPAO.

EPAOs will also provide the training provider, employer, and apprentices with gateway materials. This may be a gateway declaration document, portfolio matrix and/or gateway checklist. The EPAO will proceed to check the gateway documents upon submission to ensure the apprentice has met all gateway requirements.

When booking EPA, all parties should receive confirmation of booking including dates and times and instructions of what to expect on the day of your End-Point Assessment.

Each End-Point Assessment is carried out by an Independent End-Point Assessor (IEPA). These individuals carry out End-Point Assessment as per the methods listed in assessment plans, doing so impartially.

End-Point Assessments are then quality assured internally before results are released.

When EPA is completed and has gone through relevant quality assurance, the EPAO will submit the results of EPA to the ESFA and to the apprentice, employer and training provider. Once the EPAO has recorded the grade, the ESFA is then able to produce and release the certificate.

From the points made in this article, it is important to understand how EPAOs can support in the EPA process.

At NQual, we provide multiple means of support, these include:

  • Support packs and videos

  • Support and assistance with the EPA process and systems for providers

  • Best practice events for training providers and employers

  • Revision guides

  • Mock materials

  • Feedback meetings with training providers specific to recent cohorts performance

  • Technology checks with learners

(Please note, this list is not exhaustive and NQual provide individualised support opportunities based on individual learner/ training provider and employer needs.)

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