At the Axiom Dynamics Training Academy, we strive to help all learners fulfil their goals in the qualifications they take. As part of a learner’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP), we also put together a pathway of what qualifications they should take next. One such learner we did this for was Ann, (we have kept Ann’s surname confidential). When we spoke to Ann last, she had just completed the Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET). Now she has added to her qualifications by achieving the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA). Following on from our successful Q&A session of the Level 3 AET with Ann, we would like to welcome her back to answer some of our questions on completing the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA).
In this blog, we will ask Ann a series of questions that will hopefully give a ‘learner insight’ into what it is like to do this CAVA course. It will include hints and tips along the way, support received as she progressed through her portfolio and what it was like to finish and receive her certificate at the end.
Q&A – Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA)
Axiom Dynamics Training Academy (ADTA).
‘So Ann, back again, this time having completed the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement or CAVA, qualification, as it is also known? When we last spoke to you, the plan was initially to teach in the beauty sector, but then it changed to opening your own beauty therapy school. Is that still the case?
Ann, (whilst laughing!!).
‘No, it’s all changed again. I started to look at what I needed to open my training school, which is why I started the CAVA qualification. I then realised there was a lack of Internal Quality Assurance assessors within the sector. I didn’t want to be continually searching to find one when I needed them, so I decided to take this on for myself and get certified as an IQA. The beauty school is still my dream, but I have put it off in the short-term. I have been teaching and assessing recently, as this keeps me current within the industry, so I am getting more experience all the time’.
‘Ok, I’ll come back to that later, but what made you choose Axiom Dynamics again for your Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement as other companies are offering the same courses?’
‘As I had already completed my Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET) with Axiom Dynamics, I knew the standard of resources and support that I was going to get. My experience of the Level 3 AET was excellent, so it was an easy choice for me to complete the CAVA qualification with Axiom Dynamics. As I was a repeat customer, I also benefitted with a bit of discount, which is always a good thing’.
‘You did both the L3 AET and CAVA qualifications online. Do you feel this is the best way to complete these qualifications?’
‘I suppose that depends on each individual and their circumstances, but online, for me, is the most convenient way. Online studying meant I didn’t have to take time off work or travel to a venue for three or four days, which would have pushed costs up for me. It also meant I could study where and when I wanted as the resources, for example, Powerpoints, were all within the portfolio’.
‘What support did you receive from Axiom Dynamics?’
‘Exactly like the L3 AET, when I registered for the course, my portfolio was with me straight away. I then had a Zoom call with my course tutor, where we went through the portfolio, so I knew where everything was and how to complete it. I also received an e-textbook and the Axiom Dynamics Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA) Delegate Pack. These were so helpful when it came to both the assignment questions and my portfolio build, as there were lots of examples and templates that I could use, therefore saving me a lot of time in putting these together. There was also a further information section on every unit of the course, for example, website and reading lists, which is useful for more information.
‘What other resources did you receive in your portfolio’?
‘Aswell as the e-text book and delegate pack there was handouts for further reading within each of the units. These gave additional information on the topics that I was learning. There is a series of Powerpoint presentations throroughout the course too, which cover all the main points of the CAVA qualification. There were templates I could use for various parts of my assessment, but what is great is I can use these throughout my career as they are ‘live’ documents. There is also a Portfolio Guidance document for each unit. This was so helpful when completing the CAVA qualification as it explains to you what you need to do to answer the assignment questions and compile your portfolio.
‘Even though the CAVA course was online, did you have much contact with your course tutor or assessor when completing the qualification?’
‘Yes, I did have contact with my tutor/ assessor throughout the qualification. When I registered for the course, I received an invite for a Zoom call with another learner who was also completing the CAVA qualification. My tutor guided us through the portfolio, explained where everything was and how it all fitted together. I was able to ask questions as the meeting was relatively informal, but this was great as I felt relaxed enough to do so. Axiom Dynamics also has a Facebook Group for learners completing any of the Education and Training, Assessor or IQA courses. My tutor arranged for us to gain access to this. When I submitted my assignments or portfolio evidence, I always received feedback within a few days. I also had to complete observations as part of my evidence. The times of these were discussed with my tutor/ assessor, so they could attend and complete a Professional Discussion with me, again as part of my portfolio. In all, the interaction was what it needed to be to complete the qualification.’
‘As you have said, the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA) qualification is portfolio based. How did you find compiling a portfolio compared to only answering assignment questions?
‘The portfolio from Axiom Dynamics has everything laid out in a sequential format, which is easy to follow. Unit 1 of the course is assignment questions, but it was good to complete these first as it gave me an underpinning knowledge for units 2 and 3, which were portfolio based. When it came to building the evidence for this, I followed the Portfolio Guidance document within my portfolio. This document told me what I needed to achieve each learning outcome so was a great help to me. There is also a Portfolio Checklist which is a tick-list on everything you should have done to complete the unit. This means you don’t miss anything when you submit your portfolio’.
‘So, the assignments and portfolio build were ok, but what about the observations? How did you find those?’
‘The key to the observations is to be well planned. Within your portfolio, there is an Assessment and Action Plan document. This document is for you to schedule all the dates and times of your observations. You will also include who you are observing, the criteria or qualification specifications you will need and any questioning or professional discussion you intend to have. I was a little nervous initially, but I kept telling myself that I knew what I was doing. Once I had settled down and we started the process I was fine. By the time we got to the last one, I felt like I had been doing them all my life. The only other time I got nervous during the observations was when my assessor came out to observe me, but before we started, we had a chat and he told me to carry on as if he wasn’t there. Easier said than done, but again I told myself I knew what I was doing and once we began, I was ok. The templates that Axiom Dynamics provide within your portfolio are what you need to compile the observations effectively, so by completing these, you will meet the learning outcomes for this part of the unit’.
‘So CAVA complete and you are a qualified assessor, but you have now decided to go one step further and start the Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice?’
‘Yes I have. As I said at the start, the beauty therapy school is still the plan, but I will need an IQA for some of the qualifications I intend to deliver. I feel I need to be in charge of my own destiny and the only way to do that is to be qualified myself’.
‘Lastly, Ann, any final words you would like to share?’
‘This is the second qualification I have completed with Axiom Dynamics and the Level 4 IQA course will be my third. I can honestly say I would not be going to any other training company for these courses and I am so happy I chose Axiom Dynamics as the training company I completed these courses with. The resources that you receive are second to none: powerpoints, e-textbooks, templates, portfolio guidance, it’s all there for you. The layout of the portfolio is clearly built with the learner in mind and is very easy to follow. Even though this was an online course, the tutor interaction was frequent and when required and the feedback you receive is a great motivational tool to keep going. It may seem like other providers are less expensive than Axiom Dynamics, but when you read their T’s and C’s, you will find you have to pay for books, additional time, assessments and also to get certified at the end of the course. With Axiom Dynamic’s, the price is the price and includes everything. There is no extra costs and this is what I wanted.
In all, my experiences with Axiom Dynamics have been very positive and I would encourage anyone who intends to do these qualifications to go to them’.
At the Axiom Dynamics Training Academy, we would all, once again, like to thank Ann for taking the time to participate in this Q&A session. Now, we are not saying if she will make a third appearance when she completes the Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice, but maybe watch this space……..
The Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement falls into the TAQA, assessment, suite of qualifications. TAQA itself stands for Training, Assessment and Quality Assurance and this certificate has been designed to train you in the theoretical and practical skills needed to support the assessment process of RQF qualifications, (formerly QCF), or other professional industry specific qualifications.
These assessor qualifications consist of a combination of units and will be according to the job role you are in. The knowledge unit, which is a requirement of all three qualification routes, can be undertaken regardless of the candidate being in an assessors job role or not. For those working in an assessors role, there are then one or two performance units depending on their job role requirements.
Your choice of qualification will then depend upon your role and what you will be quality-assuring, so I will now explain these individually.
With this award, the unit to be taken is Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment. In this unit you will demonstrate knowledge of different assessment methods, planning assessments, involving others, making assessment decisions, understanding quality assurance, legal and good practice requirements, and managing information. The method of assessment for this unit is assignments through written questions & answers.
There are no formal entry requirements and you can continue onto units 2 & 3 of the TAQA qualification and become a fully qualified assessor.
With this award the units to be taken are Unit 1 Understanding the principles and practices of assessment and Unit 2 Assess Occupational Competence in the Work Environment.
The qualification is ideal for those carrying out NVQ-type qualifications, where assessments occur at work with candidates performing everyday duties. The assessment method is by way of observation of the candidate assessor carrying out an assessment in the workplace, questioning the learner, discussions with the learner, and examining learner statements and their work products.
With this award the units to be taken are Unit 1 Understanding the principles and practices of assessment and Unit 3 Assess Vocational Skills, Knowledge and Understanding
These units are for assessors who carry out assessment of vocational skills, knowledge and understanding using the following assessment methods: assessments in simulated environments, skills tests, oral and written questions, assignments, projects, case studies and RPL. This could take place in classrooms, training workshops or other learning environments.
The assessment method is by way of observation of the candidate assessor carrying out an assessment in the workplace, questioning the learner, discussions with the learner, and examining learner statements and their work products.
With this award the units to be taken are Unit 1 Understanding the principles and practices of assessment, Unit 2 Assess Occupational Competence in the Work Environment and Unit 3 Assess Vocational Skills, Knowledge and Understanding
This qualification is for those who carry out assessments in the classroom or other training environments. Candidates need to prepare and carry out assessments such as tests, assignments or projects, keep records and follow legal and good practice requirements. The method of assessment for this qualification is by assignments through written questions and answers and also observations.
For units 2 and 3, the candidate assessor’s performance evidence must be assessed by observation, examining the products of work, questioning or professional discussions. There must be valid, authentic and sufficient evidence for all the assessment criteria. Holistic assessment is encouraged and one piece of evidence may be used to meet the requirements of more than one learning outcome or assessment criterion.
For unit 2, there must be evidence of the candidate assessor carrying out at least two assessments of two learner’s occupational competence (four assessments in total). This occupational competence must not be in assessment itself. In other words, evidence for this unit must not come from the candidate assessor assessing another candidate assessor who, in turn, is assessing someone else.
For unit 3 there must be evidence of the candidate assessor carrying out at least two assessments of two learners’ skills, knowledge and understanding (four assessments in total). Evidence for this unit must not come from one candidate assessor assessing another candidate assessor who, in turn, is assessing someone else.
In gathering evidence for these qualifications, an unqualified candidate assessor cannot assess another unqualified assessor.
Each learner will be required to create a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates that all learning outcomes have been achieved. The main pieces of evidence for the portfolio include initial assessment, assignments, assessor observations; product evidence; professional discussions; recognition of prior learning (RPL) and witness testimonies.
Learners will have access to an experienced and highly qualified TAQA trainer at Axiom Dynamics. They will assist learners in the assembly of their portfolio and prepare them for assessment. In addition the learners will receive the e-text book, Achieving your Assessment and Quality Assurance, by Ann Gravells, and an additional e-version of the Axiom Dynamics delegate pack, that includes more information, lesson notes and templates. We advise you to use these for your further reference and guidance when it comes to the assignments.
Your tutor will also be available throughout the process should you need any additional support.
The TAQA qualifications are open to people carrying out assessments and quality assurance in most learning environments including FE, Adult Continuing Learning, Employers and Third Sector. They are designed for anyone assessing and carrying out quality assurance in all occupational sectors, accredited learning, non-accredited learning (e.g. where performance is being assessed by the learner not undertaking a qualification) and qualifications on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).
These qualifications are open to learners aged 19 and above. There are no specific prior learning requirements for these qualifications though learners may find it helpful if they have achieved a level 2 qualification.
If this is something you are interested in, please do not hesitate to get in contact here.