Changes from 1 September 2016

External Quality Assurance Visit Reports

We’ve been redesigning our External Quality Assurance Visit Reports and from 1 September will be using improved grading criteria. The grading criteria will change from a 5-point scale to a 6-point scale and the new criteria are as follows:

1 = Excellent (no action required)
2 = Meets requirements (recommendation identified)
3 = Discrepancies within tolerance (action required)
4 = Requirements not met (significant action required)
5 = Unsatisfactory (immediate action required)
6 = N/A

The main reason for this additional grade is to make it easier for you to differentiate between actions and recommendations given to you by your External Quality Assurer (EQA). Currently, when you’re graded a 2 within your visit report, this could result in an action or a recommendation and sometimes this isn’t made explicitly clear in the action plan which can cause confusion and problems with Direct Claim Status (DCS).

To provide better clarity and more visibility to you on what is an action and what is a recommendation, we’ve introduced an additional grade, which makes it very clear which actions are mandatory and which are optional. Any mandatory actions which aren’t completed by the next visit will have an impact on DCS and any optional ones won’t.

As well as the improvements to the grading criteria, we’ve also made some additional enhancements to the visit report, which you can view in more detail by clicking on the new External Quality Assurance Visit Report. To support you with the changes we’ve made to the visit report, we’ve updated the User Guide to the Visit Report. This provides an overview of each section and some examples of the type of evidence you’ll be expected to provide on the external quality assurance visit or remote visit. 

These changes will also affect visits carried out for Customised Awards and Investing in Quality Licence (IIQ).

[icon]External Quality Assurance Report

View External Quality Assurance Report

[icon]New User Guide to the Visit Report

View the New User Guide to the Visit Report

[icon]IIQ Monitoring Visit Report

View IIQ Monitoring Visit Report

DCS

As well as the changes we’ve made to the grading criteria in the visit report, we’ve also made improvements to the DCS criteria.

To encourage best practice, NCFE offers a reward system called Direct Claim Status (DCS).  When you achieve DCS, you‘ll be able to claim learner certificates without needing authorisation from your External Quality Assurer (EQA).

DCS is awarded against an individual qualification and is based on quality criteria that are measured and reported on through the external quality assurance visits carried out by your EQA.

Please note that DCS is not available for our V Cert qualifications.

Current DCS criteria

For DCS to be achieved your centre must have 2 consecutive EQA visit reports over a maximum of an 18 month period which has:

  • exclusively grades 1s or 2s
  • no outstanding actions from previous EQA visit report
  • a minimum of 3 completed learner portfolios sampled over the 2 visits.

New DCS criteria

DCS after one visit:

For DCS to be achieved after one visit your centre must have had one EQA visit report which has:

  • exclusively grade 1s
  • no outstanding actions from previous EQA visit report
  • a minimum of 5 learner portfolios sampled on the visit, with at least 3 marked as ‘final’; other learners sampled can have ‘new’ or ‘mid’ status
  • reliability of assessment must be graded as A.

DCS after 2 visits:

For DCS to be achieved your centre must have 2 consecutive EQA visit reports over a maximum of an 18 month period which has:

  • exclusively grade 1s, 2s and 3s
  • a gap of at least a month between the 2 visits
  • no outstanding actions from previous EQA visit report
  • a minimum of 3 learner portfolios sampled on each visit, with at least 3 learners marked as ‘final’ over the 2 visits; other learners sampled can have ‘new’ or ‘mid’ statuses
  • reliability of assessment must be graded as A or B.

If you have any queries, please refer to the DCS section on our website or contact the Quality Assurance team.