The Big Debate: Should Students Undergo An End Point Assessment?
End point assessments – a smart way to grade a student or an unnecessary stress on a trainee? Two industry figures discuss the benefits and drawbacks of trainee hairdressers taking a pass or fail exam at the end of their course.
For end-point assessments
Marcus Bull, chief commercial officer, iTEC & VTCT
“A fair and robust end point assessment ensures the apprentice is ready for work. This is not just about being technically ready. The assessment also makes sure the student’s business and communications skills have been honed and checks they have the con dence to speak with clients and take bookings in a professional manner. In an industry where service and care are 50% of the experience, this is becoming ever more important in busy professional salons and barbershops.
Another important feature of the end point assessment is the employer can be more con dent in the calibre of the apprentices coming into their business. They know that each apprentice has been trade tested by an industry expert in their field, which ensures the standard is consistent and kept at a high level.
End point assessments are much more reliable as they assess every learner going through the process rather than a percentage of the assessments, like in other qualifications. The assessment also provides credible assurances to the employer that show the learner is completely ready to enter the workplace confidently and with a strong grounding of how to do well in the job they love.
We are seeing a new wave of apprentices go through the new end-point assessment process at a professional standard previously unmatched. Whilst the standard may be a little more challenging, this is quickly becoming the norm and will continue to improve the professionalism in businesses across the industry.”
Against end-point assessments
Janet Maitland, manager director, Janet Maitland Hair Excellence
“I’m not in favour of the end-point assessment because it can cause unnecessary stress and damage confidence. It is assessed by an external examiner, which can make the process confusing for the student. For example, I heard a story recently where a student failed because she carried out a process in the way her salon taught her. However, it did not warrant a ‘pass’ from the external examiner so she failed.
The student’s confidence is now damaged and she didn’t know she was doing anything wrong. We should allow students to learn from their mistakes, rather than issuing them with a pass or fail.
One of our juniors said: “The examiners don’t seem to be looking at your skills in a real-life salon situation – you are put under a microscope in an unreal situation.”
In the early 1990s I worked as an external verifier because I believe in continual assessment. Young people who go into hairdressing o en dislike everything hanging on a single exam result. The continual assessment was a real-life situation that if done properly meant the apprentice was never afraid of failure. They either passed or the assessment was turned into training. Although this assessment process still goes on over the period of the modern-day qualification, I believe the end point assessment test is causing unnecessary stress.
We should not be in the business of telling our students they are failures – we should be empowering, teaching and guiding them.”
This article originally appeared in the September issue of HJ.