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IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED: A new update to assessment arrangements for Level 2 Gym and Level 3 Personal Training qualifications

 

Posted on 09 Aril 20

Before providing you with the below update on assessment arrangements for Level 2 Gym and Level 3 PT qualifications, I would like to highlight a few points for context in light of CIMSPA’s recently published guidance for these qualifications./p>

When the COVID-19 crisis took hold in the UK, the direction to awarding organisations from Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, was to show the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged. There was further advice from Ofqual, the exams regulator for England, to the effect that the overarching principle guiding the approach to assessment was to ensure fairness to learners by considering rescheduling, adapting or estimation. We were advised that awarding organisations should keep a record of any alternative arrangements or flexibilities made to the way in which assessments are carried out where it was deemed any adaptation would not require specific authority from the regulator.

I would stress that this is only a summary resulting from our team’s attendance at a variety of webinars held by various regulators over the last three weeks. However, the advice provided was consistent, and as such, our primary objective was to provide learners with every opportunity to access and complete their qualifications while ensuring its validity and integrity, and adhering strictly to health and safety considerations.

Based on this and other guidance we were given, and with the intention of not disadvantaging learners who are currently on programme at various stages – as well as supporting training providers, who are desperately striving to maintain business continuity – we proposed some adaptations to practical assessment. We firmly believe they are a valid and reliable means of assessment, assuming they are conducted appropriately and safely, while also taking into consideration the absolute reality that physical activity does not, and should not, need to be confined to the four walls of a specific physical establishment.

Update to assessment arrangements

Following initial guidance, our regulators have now released further advice that supersedes the earlier advice. Consequently, we now find ourselves in a position where they require awarding organisations to not adapt assessment methodology until they (the regulators) have had further time to work through proposed solutions for vocational qualifications. This comes after their deliberations and subsequent published arrangements for academic qualifications. In addition, the sector’s chartered institute, CIMSPA, has now issued its own requirements in relation to assessment for these qualifications. This advice can be found here. It is unfortunate that the timeliness of this information was not considered and provided earlier, during a period in which we have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to support our centres and their learners.

Prior to the challenges we now face with COVID-19, Active IQ has strived to research, understand and apply the best aspects of digital learning and assessment for our sector’s vocational and technical education and training. We, like everyone else, understand that there is good, bad and mediocre digital learning and face-to-face learning; however, there is more than one route to assessment as anyone who has undertaken a qualification knows, and as any expert in assessment knows. We have previously tried to embrace the many benefits of digital education – alongside face-to-face learning – to meet the needs of today’s society and Generation Z, but now more than ever is a time for digital technology to be recognised and accepted as an effective means of both delivery and assessment.

We are operating in unprecedented times. We are trying to do the ‘right thing’ to enable learning and assessment to continue and, by extension, trying to support the businesses that rely on us for help and guidance. At the forefront of our activities, we are trying to help those individuals who have invested both financially and personally in a training course, which in turn leads to a qualification and to changing their lives – and the lives of others – for the better. Stymying such opportunities at this time of crisis only serves to further impact on the future ability of our learners to achieve and re-enter employment with confidence.

We understand that the changes we proposed were marginally different. They were flexible and pragmatic, and followed official advice at the time; they were an adaptation to assessment as prescribed by the regulator. The landscape has changed dramatically in the past month and for the foreseeable short term. Never has there been a more urgent need and opportunity to evolve and not be constrained to do things the way they have always been done or how others think they should be done. It is a time to trust in the professionalism and extensive experience and knowledge of those who have worked indefatigably in the profession for many decades.

What this means for our centres

It is with great disappointment, therefore, that we outline below the updated, and somewhat late, ruling that while the other assessment adjustments we have made still stand, the practical assessment for both Level 2 Gym and Level 3 PT qualifications will need to be delayed to a time when gyms are able to reopen.

We will continue our dialogue with regulators and other stakeholders to do everything we can to support our centres and their learners, and we will keep the situation under continual review. Active IQ will continue to live its values of being creative, agile, supportive, efficient and professional for the benefits of our sector, as we collaborate together to come out the other side of this crisis.

Most importantly for now though, best wishes to you all from me and the team at Active IQ. Stay safe, stay positive and stay active.

Please click here to read an update to our previously released guidance for Gym and Personal Training qualifications