Internal quality assurance is the process by which a centre regularly samples and evaluates its assessment practices and decisions, and acts on the findings to ensure consistency and fairness. It involves two key processes – internal quality assurance and standardisation – and is carried out by one or more internal quality assurers.
The internal quality assurance system developed by centres will depend on the size and extent of the qualifications delivered. Centres will need to set out their internal quality assurance systems within a centre internal quality assurance plan.
The role of the internal quality assurer is to ensure that:
- Assessment is appropriate, consistent, fair and transparent and does not unintentionally discriminate against any learner.
- Tutors/assessors receive on-going advice and support, for example in designing assessment activities.
- Learners clearly understand assessment requirements and are given opportunities to achieve against the assessment criteria.
- Learners’ work is presented in a manner that enables effective internal quality assurance to take place.
- Evidence of learner achievement is clearly mapped to the assessment criteria.
- Reports of Achievement or Completion (RACs) are valid, reliable and consistent.
Internal quality assurance arrangements must include as a minimum:
- An identified individual responsible for coordinating the internal quality assurance process.
- A planned structure for internal quality assurance that incorporates all of a centre’s Gateway Qualifications provision.
- An agreed and published annual timetable for internal quality assurance, including internal quality assurance meetings.
- Clear and documented roles and responsibilities for all those involved.
- A forum for discussion of borderline cases and good practice in assessment.
- A sampling of assessed work.
- Standardisation of assessed work.
- Full and clear records of the internal quality assurance process, including action plans.
- Regular evaluation of the process and outcomes.
An Internal Quality Assurer, therefore, has a central role in the operation of the centre’s quality system. A centre may have one or more Internal Quality Assurers, according to the size and variety of its provision. All must have experience relevant to the area(s) for which they quality assure. They should also have an understanding of quality assurance and improvement, and the centre must ensure that they develop their practice in this field.
To ensure the integrity of the internal quality assurance process, Internal Quality Assurers must not verify work that they have assessed.
Gateway Qualifications External Quality Assurers will review the operation of a centre’s internal quality assurance system through centre quality monitoring visits.
Once a course has been internally quality assured, there are two possible paths to the RAC:
- Direct Claim Status.
- An External Quality Assurer signs off the RAC.