Expertise and Training

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Procedure for ensuring that there is access to individuals with expertise and awarding for the units offered

  • The procedure starts with the Governing Body ensuring that the Chief Assessor has appropriate relevant expertise in unit design in the target sector.
  • A Chief Assessor that meets the appointment criteria and job specification will have access to appropriate expertise in subject sector areas through membership of professional associations and networks
  • TLM provides training to keep current staff up to date based on needs arising from day to day evidence and formal appraisal.
  • If after following the procedure from the point of appointment of an appropriately qualified Chief Assessor and subsequent staff training, expertise is identified as lacking by the Governing Body, TLM will advertise in appropriate journals for individuals with appropriate expertise.


Procedure for ensuring staff and associates have access to relevant training and guidance in assessment.

  • The company has an established annual appraisal system where individual training needs can be identified.
  • Informal and day to day dialogue with the regulators, sector skills councils, learning and skills councils, (eg as a member of the Awarding Body Forum of e-skills) professional organisations such as NAACE, BECTA and OFSTED ensure that the Chief Assessor is kept up to date with expertise relevant to the units offered. The Principal Moderator is a Chartered Assessor and active participant in the Institute of Chartered Assessors.
  • The procedure for dissemination is through weekly staff meetings and provision of information on the web site
  • There is an established training programme for assessor trainers and assessors. The procedure is that all Centres must have at least one assessor trainer acting as Principal Assessor and single point of accouontability in the Centre. The training of the Principal Assessor must take place before the Centre is operational. The annual visit, e-mail and the web site are all used to provide up date information to all assessors, assessor trainers and moderator/verifiers.

Training for Account Managers

Aim: The training programme for Account Managers is to provide the Account Managers with the professional knowledge and skills to adequately support Centres that are using the Learning Machine certificates.

Programme Description:

This programme provides an overview of the expectation of the recruit in becoming a productive member of the company. It covers the fundamental concepts and principles of the certificates, setting the level of expectation for the Assessors and making judgements about the levels assessed. It also provides details of the procedures for dealing with Centres and Academies in terms of the company policies on customer care and associated issues.

Programme Goals and Objectives:

Trainees should

  • Be confident to go to centres and through the Principal Assessor at the Centre, examine samples of work and/or observe candidates at work including assessors, assessing their performance.
  • Be able to answer questions and respond to queries about any aspects of the requirements in the certificate handbook.
  • Understand the relationship between self-assessment, peer assessment and the final judgement of the assessor in making the awards.
  • Be fully familiar with the operation of the website and the mechanism for making the awards and for changing assessor details.
  • Be confident to take on new Centres and Academies and provide the level of professional support that they need to operate the certification efficiently and effectively.
  • Be aware of where they can get additional support eg from the Technical Manager, Accounts Director, Chief Executive, Chief Moderator and Director of Administration.
  • Be able to direct assessors to the resources available on the website that are optionally available to support their work and make them aware that any contributions that are to be shared with others are welcome.

Induction - 2 days

Recruits will be given a tour of the building and introduced to colleagues, they will be assigned a desk and workstation and the Technical Manager will go through the basic workings of their station, the available software and the company ICT systems. The Accounts Director will provide a general overview of the work and this outline of the induction programme and subsequent training and support. The recruit will be provided with a copy of the latest version of the handbook. The recruit will then be given time to read the handbook to fully familiarise themselves with its content. The Accounts Director will then lead a dialogue with the recruit to ascertain the level of understanding. Further discussion will be conducted and focused attention to any weak areas until the Accounts Director is sure that the recruit is in a position to support the content and procedures in the handbook.

Entry Level Qualifications - 2 days

The recruit will re-visit the handbook and study the criteria for the Entry Level Qualifications referred to as the Bronze INGOT in the handbook. This has a full title of Entry Level certificate in Open Systems and Office Applications but is referred to as Bronze INGOT for convenience. The recruit will read through the tutorial and confirm their understanding of the levels expected. When this work is complete, the recruit will visit a practising centre or academy to meet a Principal Assessor and to observe assessment by an experienced assessor including inspection of samples of student work. On returning to base there will be a debrief with the Chief Executive.

Level 1 Qualifications - 2 days

This will be a repeat of the procedure for the Entry Level qualification but with the Level 1 criteria. The Level 1 qualification is referred to as Silver INGOT for convenience.

Level 2 Qualifications - 3 days

This will be a repeat of the procedure for the Level 1 qualification but with the Level 2 criteria. The Level 2 qualification is referred to as Gold INGOT for convenience.

There will be a detailed discussion of the community service requirements with the Accounts Director and a Principal Assessor at one of the Centres or Academies. On returning to base there will be a debrief with the Chief Executive.

Moderation/verification techniques - 1 day

The Principal Moderator will explain the purpose of moderation and explain how moderation works in different examination settings. The recruit will therefore be able to contextualise the moderation procedures for The Learning Machine certificates with those employed in different subjects and circumstances. The emphasis will be on thresholds. Does the evidence match the minimum reasonable interpretation of the criteria?

Practical moderation - 5 days

The recruit will shadow an experienced moderator to visit at least 5 more centres and academies working towards a position where they are confident to take over and conduct the moderation with only supervision.

Initial assignments The recruit will be provided with 5 "prospective" Centres/Academies that have expressed an interest in taking part. Under the guidance of the Accounts Director they will be expected to take these organisations through the procedures for registration and ensure that they understand the requirements of a Centre, filling out the online agreement. When this procedure has been complete the recruit will become responsible for these accounts and organising the appropriate moderation visits. The Accounts Director will continue to monitor the work of the recruit and assign further Centres to them as confidence and experience grows.

Guidance for moderators on sampling

If the sample is less than 10 all work should be reviewed. If the sample is greater than 10 at least 10 samples should be taken until 10 samples constitute 10% of the full work available. Beyond this 10% is sufficient. The moderator should decide on which learners' work to sample focussing on candidates at the borderlines of grade boundaries where appropriate ensuring the full range of grades is represented. All assessors' work should be sampled and feedback given where there are inconsistencies. Priority should be given to new assessors or any that have shown inconsistencies in the past. The aim should be to make the process formative so that assessors become more consistent over time and that resources are targeted on greatest need.

Three Month review

At the end of 3 months, the Accounts Director will conduct an appraisal of the recruit's progress using the checklist below and providing feedback to the recruit and an opportunity for dialogue. The recruit will then set 3 key targets for self-improvement with an annual review of progress.

Check list item Achieved
Familiarity with office and general working procedures
Familiarity with the web site
Familiarity with the handbook
Confidence when dealing with assessors
Understanding of procedures for disputes and enquiries
General support and responding to queries
Contacting centres to check if they need anything
Following up interest for prospective centres
Familiarity with Entry Level Certificate criteria and assessors guide
Familiarity with Level 1 Certificate criteria and assessors guide
Familiarity with Level 2 Certificate criteria and assessors guide
Flexibility and willingness to take responsibility


Monitoring of Performance

  • The Accounts Director will be responsible for the performance of the Account Managers/moderators and will answer directly to the Chief Executive.
  • The Accounts Director will meet monthly with the Account Managers/moderators to discuss the support of the programme and to resolve any outstanding issues related to the needs of assessors and centres.
  • The Accounts Director will appraise the work of the Account Managers/moderators using the company appraisal forms.
  • Appraisal will include sampling 10 examples from the moderator's records, scrutiny of their decisions in at least three specific cases chosen by the assessor and feedback from one of the moderator's client Principal Assessors. In addition,  the appraiser and appraisee will visit at least two centres jointly to ensure that centre visits are carried out consistently and with due regards to the procedures.

The procedure for appraisal

  • The appraiser will give the appraisee the appraisal form one month before the appraisal meeting. 0.5 days will be put aside for the appraiser to go through the appraisal form with the appraisee. Within one week the appraiser will provide a written summary of strengths and areas for development identified in the appraisal process. If the appraisee agrees with the outcomes, they will sign the forms and a copy will be filed and a copy sent to the Chief Executive Officer. If the appraisee does not agree there will be time for negotiation. If agreement is not forthcoming, the Chief Executive Officer will review the case and make a casting judgement.
  • The Chief Executive Officer will appraise the Accounts Director. The procedure will be the same as for the appraisal of Account Managers. An appeal by the Accounts Director against the appraisal findings will be arbitrated by the Governing Body.
  • The CEO will be appraised by the Chair of the Governing Body or a person nominated by the Chair. The procedure will be the same as for the appraisal of the Accounts Director. An appeal against the appraisal findings will be heard by the full Governning Body.
  • The outcomes of appraisal will inform any further training needs. These formal procedures will be complemented by informal learning through meetings with colleagues and information arising from the process of quality assurance in partnership with assessors in the centres.

Training Assessors and Assessor Trainers

The training of assessor trainers will ensure that all trained assessors can demonstrate the professional knowledge and skills to assess at the specified level to the criteria presented in the handbook.

Essential aspects:

All assessor trainers must

  • be able to demonstrate that they have a firm grasp of the criteria at the level designated
  • demonstrate a good working knowledge of handbook and the operation of the INGOTs web site.
  • be able to demonstrate sound communication skills such that they can convey unambiguously, the requirements of assessors
  • project confidence to others in their professional levels of competence related to IT and its assessment.

Desirable aspects:

Assessor trainers should

  • be confident to compare and examine samples of work and/or observe candidates at work and make judgements about this work, communicating the judgements clearly to colleagues
  • have a high capacity to motivate others and provide positive leadership in relation to the certification.
  • understand the relationship between self-assessment, peer assessment and the final judgement of the assessor in making the awards.
  • be aware of where they can get additional support eg from the Technical Manager, Senior Account Manager, Chief Executive, Chief Moderator and Director of Administration.
  • be able to direct assessors to the resources available on the website that are optionally available to support their work and make them aware that any contributions that are to be shared with others are welcome.

Procedures for ensuring assessor competence

There is no definitive method since the circumstances will vary considerably. What matters is that the assessor has the ability and credibility to make sound judgements at the level at which they are assessing. A suitable approach would be to ask the potential assessor to demonstrate that they possessed relevant skills to match the criteria in the handbook. Carry out some joint assessment work with the potential assessor and check that they make sound judgements. Examine the evidence that the potential assessor has professional experience in relevant similar fields such as assessing National Curriculum levels or assessing course work in similar examination work.

Example training course for assessors


There is an online course to support assessor training here

  • Overview of the INGOT assessment scheme using the on-line course (1 hour)
  • Assessing to the criteria
  • Assessors read the relevant criteria in the hand book and the guide for assessors. (30 minutes)
  • Question and answer session on the criteria with discussion directing candidates to provide further evidence before they can be certificated. (30 minutes)
  • Review of typical work that would be appropriate for moderation and standardisation (30 minutes)

Using the web site

Demonstration of making awards and using the management facilities on the certification web site (30 minutes)

Security issues and professional responsibility

Question and answer session on the importance of password security and sensible measures to reduce the chances of passwords being misused. Guidance on the procedures for communicating with the Awarding Body, making reasonable adjustments, appeals and authenticating certificates. (1 hour)

  Item to be checked  Achieved
Familiarity with the handbook
Personal competence against the assessment criteria
Confidence in making judgements against the criteria
Understanding of procedures for disputes and enquiries
Understanding the process of moderation and standardisation
Understanding how to contact the Account Manager
Understanding the principles of assessment to promote learning


Monitoring of performance

The Principal Assessor in the Centre will:

  • be responsible for the performance of the Assessors in the Centre and will answer directly to the Account Manager.
  • meet at least annually with the Assessors and any other assessor trainers in the Centre to discuss the Centre's internal quality assurance procedures and to resolve any outstanding issues related to the needs of assessors.
  • ensure assessment is subject to the Quality Assurance procedures agreed with The Learning Machine and posted in the Centre Account on the web site.

Assessors and Assessor Trainers will keep examples of student work to demonstrate their understanding of the criteria and to discuss this at visits by the Account Manager.

Procedure for ensuring expertise is used appropriately

  • The Chief Assessor monitors work on a day to day basis, sampling work of the Senior Account Manager and Account Managers randomly
  • The Chief Assessor will keep up to date with professional matters associated with the units offered by attending meetings, briefings and training provided by the regulators, sector skills councils and similar organisations.
  • The Chief Assessor will meet with Account Managers at least once per month to discuss unit design and assessment and update their skils and knowledge.
  • The Learning Machine Ltd will provide training of relevant personnel, led by the Chief Assessor, to ensure expertise is properly targeted.
  • The Account Managers use evidence and feedback advice to assessors during the moderation and verification processes.
  • The annual visit to the centres requires assessors to provide evidence that they have procedures in place to ensure that expertise is used appropriately.

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