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Malpractice thematic review

  • Processes for preventing malpractice and maladministration

The link above provides the documented process for preventing malpractice and is cross-referenced to the Conditions through links in the text.
The signed agreements are copied below, it is impossible to request an award without first signing these agreements:
For Assessors
I agree to uphold standards in all aspects of assessment related to the criteria presented on this site. I confirm that any assessment grades entered into this on-line mark book are accurate and are based on evidence that I have witnessed. I confirm that the grades are a fair reflection of the candidate's attainment levels based on the assessment criteria and the support for their interpretation given in the assessors' guides and the general descriptions of attainment at this level. I agree to co-operating fully with the Principal Assessor at my centre and Account Manager at The Learning Machine Ltd in maintaining standards and improving the consistency of assessment judgements including such meetings as are required to compare and maintain standards. I will ensure that a selection of evidence of the candidate's work is available in web pages and other formats to underpin quality assurance. I agree that I will only use the official certificate templates supplied by The Learning Machine Ltd to print certificates and I will only do so when authorised by The Learning Machine when the learners' assessment records are complete. I will not use the certificate templates for any purpose other than to award certificates related to TLM qualifications as supported on this web site. I will make available a means of electronic communication, e-mail or SMS text messaging so that I can be contacted by the Account Manager at The Learning Machine Ltd and I will respond to such contacts within 2 working days. (If you have not arranged a means of contact please use our contacts page at https://theingots.org/community/contact.)
For Assessor Trainers
I agree to confer assessor status only to colleagues that I judge to have the experience and competence to make sound judgements at the appropriate level. I will support those that I make assessors particularly in their first year of assessing to ensure that judgements are consistent.
For Principal Assessors

The Principal Assessor will formally observe the work of each assessor trainer in the Centre on a minimum of one occasion each year. Each assessor will have their work formally observed by an assessor trainer on a minimum of one occasion per year in keeping with the Centre’s existing internal quality assurance procedures. The outcomes of the observation will be recorded in summary together with any specific points of action. Where points of action are related directly to maintaining assessment standards, the action points will be evaluated by a specific date and the outcomes summarised in writing. In the first instance, the Principal Assessor will arrange further training for any assessor that provides any cause for concern in meeting the requirements for consistency. The Principal Assessor will review any action points and outcomes and will inform the Account Manager at The Learning Machine Ltd in any cases where there is a risk that standards could be inconsistent or uncertain. In such cases the Principal Assessor will keep samples of work or written commentary on observation as evidence of the issues involved.

The Principal Assessor will convene an annual meeting of assessors within the centre to share ideas related to assessment and to ensure consistency in making judgements about levels. A summary of the findings and any action points will be shared with the Account Manger from the Learning Machine at the annual moderation meeting.

The Centre will keep evidence from its quality assurance to monitor its own standards over time and will provide evidence on request to The Learning Machine to contribute to the monitoring of standards over time for the whole programme. The Principal Assessor will take responsibility for this work. The Centre will keep basic statistical evidence such as the number of candidates each year achieving each of the levels and the number of candidates each year progressing between levels. This will inform judgements about institutional performance and improvement in line with existing policies across subjects.

The Centre Contract

The purpose of this agreement is to support quality assurance in the issuing of certificates in relation to the qualifications that are awarded by The Learning Machine Ltd.

<name of centre> appoints <name> as Principal Assessor who will be the single point of contact with The Learning Machine Ltd. The Principal Assessor will ensure that the Academy/Centre complies with all the quality assurance requirements specified by The Learning Machine Ltd detailed in the handbook which can be downloaded from the Website. The Principal Assessor will normally be an accredited Assessor Trainer at the highest level of certification that the Academy/Centre is authorised to assess.

The Principal Assessor will ensure that local procedures are sufficient to provide consistent outcomes in assessor judgements against the criteria and that these fully conform to the requirements laid out in the handbook. This will include keeping samples of work in digital formats for moderation purposes and overseeing the work of assessors and assessor trainers in the Academy/Centre. The Principal Assessor should fill in the form below with brief details of the procedures they have adopted for internal quality assurance. The Principal Assessor will be expected to provide evidence of the internal procedures adopted to their Account Manager at the annual visit. As a minimum these should require a standardising meeting at least annually to ensure all the assessors are up to date and to disseminate any feedback from the Account Manager.

The Principal Assessor will contact their named Account Manager should any evidence or suspicion of malpractice 

be discovered and will co-operate fully in any investigation arising from this. The Principal Assessor will also ensure that assessors in the Academy/Centre attend training courses to improve their performance if evidence arises that there are inconsistencies in the work of any individual.

The Principal Assessor will ensure that the Academy/Centre policies on equality of opportunity, access to buildings and relevant legislation.

The Academy/Centre will provide The Learning Machine Ltd and the Regulatory Authorities access to the premises, people and records for the purpose of quality assurance should these be required.

There is an annual academy review where the Account Manager meets with the Principal Assessor at the Centre and documents and actions needed to strengthen procedures to prevent falls or lapses in standards. Each of these visits is documented in the account related to the particular centre on the Awards site.
Whistle blowing policy is in line with published government policy. 

• Processes for investigating malpractice and maladministration

Process is documented at the link above.
Internal - The organisation is small with the opportunities for malpractice currently limited to two people. Their work is reviewed by the Principal Moderator who is a Director but not an employee of the company. In addition to this, work is seen regularly by a range of different people who have individually signed agreements to up hold professional standards and it is therefore unlikely that someone somewhere would not pick up on malpractice that originated inside TLM. It is company policy to publish as much as possible on freely accessible web pages so that there is complete transparency in procedures and policies. Exceptions are any assessment materials that need to be kept confidential.
External - Third parties are monitored closely based on the risk they present. Where a complaint originates from external sources it is recorded and investigated by the Responsible office in line with the documented procedures.

• Processes for managing the effect of malpractice and maladministration

This is documented under 6.19 - risks associated with governance. In summary
Where a certificate or certificates have been issued and are compromised by malpractice, the facility to authenticate those certificates will be revoked until such time as the authenticity of the learning can be verified. If an innocent party is affected they will be given the opportunity for a re-assessment at no charge. Any assessor that causes a risk to the integrity of the certification process will be removed from the process until such time that they do not present a risk. Any materials compromised by malpractice will be replaced.

• Processes for monitoring centres’ arrangements

The TLM assessment method requires constant checking of random samples of coursework. This is an on demand process with the intention of detecting any problems early and supporting a culture that is professional and confident. The agreements and arrangements for internal quality assurance are checked at the annual visit.

• Processes for communicating suspected or proven malpractice and maladministration

This is summarised in the whistle blowing policy. It is easy to contact TLM from the contact link on the front page of the web site and there is a specific complaints link. Few complaints have been received, all have been investigated and none were related to malpractice. Communication of malpractice will be through the complaints procedure. 

• Processes for taking action against those responsible for malpractice and maladministration.

These are incorported within the process for preventing malpractice in the assessor and centre agreements (see above), the procedures for suspending centres/assessors and the general appeals procedures.

• The effectiveness of guidance to centres

Guidance for centres starts with assessor training and centre registration. There is a link from the help menu item on the home page of the web site to the TLM policies cross referenced to the Ofqual Conditions. These are accessible at all times and regularly reviewed and up dated. If users subscribe to the pages they will automatically be emailed when any changes occur.