Develop: Phase 3 – developing Assessment Support Packs (ASPs)
An Assessment Support Pack supplements the section ‘Guidance on Approaches to Assessment for this Unit’ found in the Support notes of the Unit specification. It provides an example of assessment that is valid, reliable and practicable. The assessment tasks correspond to the guidance contained in the Unit specification. Centres must ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the Instrument of Assessment.
The pack can be used in a variety of ways including, for example:
- to generate evidence which demonstrates that candidates have achieved all Outcomes and Performance Criteria/Knowledge and Skills for the Unit
- as exemplification of the standard of performance expected of candidates achieving the Unit, ie as a benchmark
- to help centres develop an appropriate Instrument of Assessment for the Unit
- to give teachers/lecturers/assessors new ideas
- as a staff development tool.
Note: scheduling production of ASPs should be done at the planning stage of the development to ensure required timescales are met.
Which Units should ASPs be developed for?
ASPs should be developed for the key Units as identified by the Qualification Design Team. The key Units may be mandatory Units or others within the qualification structure. General points to consider when identifying key Units include:
- Subject Units in the mandatory section should be prioritised over those in the optional section.
- The extent to which the subject Unit has been revised. Many Units may be updated into the current format but there might be little change to the content. On the other hand, if the Unit has undergone substantial revision in terms of content this could be considered as a case for providing an ASP.
- The appropriateness of existing assessment material. If there is little or no change to content and little or no change to assessment, then existing assessments can be adapted. On the other hand, if there is a significant change to assessment or if content has changed in a way that affects existing assessments, then the production of an ASP should be considered.
- Very specialist Units that have proved difficult for centres to deliver in the past may benefit from an ASP to support them.
- Units that have caused problems/concerns in the past because of issues relating to level, content or differences in interpreting the Unit specification or assessment guidelines may benefit from an ASP to support them.
If Units already exist, can existing ASPs be used?
Existing Assessment Support (ASP) should be used if they are still fit for purpose.
Who writes and vets the ASPs?
The Assessment Support Pack should ideally be produced by the writer of the Unit and vetted by another member of the Unit writing team. However, the person leading the development should make a decision on the Unit writer's suitability to write the ASP(s) following subject specialist check of the Unit(s). If the Unit writer is not considered suitable, then another member of the Unit writing team should be asked if they would write the ASP(s).
Who recruits and contracts the ASP writers and vetters?
Members of the QDT identify ASP writers and vetters (normally the Unit writer/vetter). The person leading the development is responsible for contracting the ASP writers/vetters.
When should the development of ASPs begin?
As part of the Unit writing process the writer will instinctively think about how the Unit could be delivered and assessed so it makes sense for them to begin to populate the ASP at the same time. However, the ASP cannot be finalised until the Unit is validated. It is not necessary to wait until the Unit is formatted, coded and on the SQA website as coding information can be added at a later date.
Prior verification of locally devised ASPs
SQA’s prior verification service provides assessment feedback and gives a presenting centre confidence that a tool is fit for purpose and does not compromise standards specified in the Unit. Evidence from verification reports clearly shows that prior verification can prevent problems arising at a later date when a Verifier reviews a centre's Instruments of Assessment.
The service is offered free of charge, but please allow a turnaround time of at least six weeks to allow for the possibility of having to take some corrective action if prior verification identifies flaws in your assessment materials. If you would like the SQA to review your assessment material you should complete a centre prior verification request form.