There are a wide variety of techniques used for sampling the evidence of assessment which are all valuable for different reasons. Below are listed these different techniques
a) Direct observation is the best way to evaluate the assessor’s ability to carry out a fair and valid assessment. The observation should ideally take place in the work environment and involve the learner carrying out specific tasks as required for inclusion in the learner’s portfolio of evidence. The IQA can quickly establish the effect of the assessment on the learner and can get a good impression of the rapport that the assessor has with the learner and the employer. The ability of the assessor to extract the necessary information required for a suitable assessment can be evaluated. The assessor must include the details of the appeals process and should be able to link the assessment to any classroom based theory that is being delivered at the same time. A second method of observation which uses technology is the use of video evidence. If this is carried out correctly it can prove to be a valuable tool to allow for good assessor quality evaluation and training. It must be noted however that videos can be edited and therefore should not be considered a replacement for direct observation unless the situation dictates video evidence such as when a learner is working too far way or if the employer cannot allow the assessor to be there in person such as sensitive locations etc.
b) Assignment assessment is the usual way of sampling and will require a direct link to the assessment strategy. This should happen throughout the assessment process and should culminate in the final decision by the IQA whether the assessment process has been followed to the Awarding Organisation’s requirements. A check of dates and signatures play an important part of this process.
c) Recognition of prior learning should be considered in the IQA process and form part of the sampling strategies.
d) Examination of work products can be sampled by the IQA providing the product is of such that it can be easily stored, such as a fabricated piece of steel conduit. This can be problematic within the actual workplace e) Questioning is another method of sampling evidence and will involve the questioning of both the assessor and the candidate. To ensure that the evidence has the necessary validity the questions to the learner should happen in private away from the assessor. The need for the learner to feel that they have the confidence to disclose the true picture of the assessment process is very important. The question sessions can be recorded on the necessary portfolio documentation but can add validity if they are recorded on tape or digitally and used as evidence.
f) Underpinning knowledge questions can be sampled effectively as the Awarding Organisation will provide the answers which can be checked and a total can be calculated and compared with what the assessor has marked
g) E-portfolios are a useful tool for assessments and can be sampled remotely along with virtual assessment tools such as Skype etc. These can pose problems with validity as the assessor will need to agree the conditions before assessment to ensure that the tasks have been completed by the candidate and that there is no plagiarism which may interfere with the assessment process
h) The candidates will generally be allocated an expert witness whilst working on site. This person is usually a supervisor who is both technically and occupationally competent. The IQA will have to vet and evaluate the expert witnesses credentials as a backup for the assessor. This method will need to be discussed with both the assessor and the candidate and should be corroborated by sampling the assessors records
All of the above should be sampled in alignment to the assessment and IQA strategy and the assessors experience and competence should be taken into account. If the assessor is inexperienced and does not require countersignatures then the IQA should sample a higher amount of the assessments. Once the assessor has the necessary experience then a 10% sampling strategy can be employed, providing that the decisions are consistent and accurate. If the qualification is new then the sampling strategy must be more vigorous and closely follow the decisions made in the regular standardisation meetings.