List of QCTO Assessment Quality Partner Criteria

We break down the QCTO criteria for an Assessment Quality Partner. AQPs implement external assessments and are where big business opportunities exist.

The QCTO criteria for an Assessment Quality Partner. AQPs are assigned to implement external integrated summative assessments.

How to Become a QCTO Assessment Quality Partner

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established by the Skills Development Act, Act No. 97 of 1998. Section 26H(3) of this Act makes the QCTO responsible for the development, maintenance and quality assurance of occupational qualifications.

assessment quality partner aqp poster

What is an AQP?

An AQP is an entity appointed by the QCTO and delegated to manage, on behalf of the QCTO, the assessment process in order to achieve their objectives.

The Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)

An AQP is a body assigned by the QCTO. It manages and coordinates the external integrated summative assessments of specified NQF-registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications.

This means that assessment centres will emerge to provide summative assessment processes to accredited training providers. Hopefully this streamlines and standardises an industry-relevant approach to assessment.

assessment quality partner consultation

Qualification Development Process: Development Quality Partners (DQPs)

The QCTO uses Development Quality Partners (DQPs) to manage and fund the development of occupational qualifications where the QCTO is an active participant in the process of monitoring, overseeing and ensuring that there are appropriate reports.

Each DQP, on the recommendation of the Community of Expert Practitioners, must recommend to the QCTO an Assessment Quality Partner (AQP) that will develop qualification assessment specifications during the qualification development process and manage external summative assessments thereafter, in addition to performing an array of administrative functions as described in Section 6 below.

The QCTO qualification development model requires that the AQPs sign Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with the QCTO during the qualification development process.

Why this approach?

The QCTO has an objective to establish a streamlined, cost-efficient and effective skills development system that responds to the needs of the labour market.

It will focus quality assurance on the final integrated summative assessment specified in the curriculum. So AQP’s determine if candidates achieve the exit-level outcomes. These are required by industry if the qualification is to be meaningful and relevant.

This focus determines if learners developed the required occupational competence to obtain the qualification.

Therefore, the QCTO will concentrate its resources on the quality assurance of the design and assessment of occupational qualifications, research and data analysis to pinpoint emerging problems.

Assessment Quality Partner Principles and Values

The principles and values considered during the development of the criteria and guidelines for becoming an AQP:

External Assessment systems and processes must:

  • be fair, reliable, valid, ethical and transparent;
  • be consistent across time, place, role players and respond to a non-sectoral demand-led model;
  • use methodologies that are fit-for-purpose and reflect a consistent level of higher cognitive challenge;
  • avoid tendencies .of exclusivity;
  • adhere to the QCTO values which show:
    • innovation and excellence
    • empowerment and recognition
    • respect and dignity
    • ethics and integrity
    • ownership and accountability
    • authenticity
18.1 and 18.2 learnerships

What are Qualification Assessment Specifications (QAS)?

The Qualification Assessment Specifications are developed during the qualification development process and it is expected that a minimum of 50% of the working group members should be experts in that particular occupational qualification. Other members could be curriculum experts, content development experts, training providers, career development interest groups or other stakeholders.

The AQP will set the national standards to ensure the validity and consistency of the external summative assessment.

The AQPs form an integral part of every occupational qualification. They are developed for each occupational qualification and outline and record important information.

Quality assurance information:

  1. Title of occupational qualification;
  2. Curriculum reference number;
  3. Name and details of the AQP;
  4. External assessment strategy;
  5. Key occupational outcomes;
  6. The point(s) at which the qualification is assessed (allowing for production cycle if required);
  7. Critical identified elements of ‘internal assessment’ to be externally moderated (if any);
  8. Eligibility requirements for candidates for external assessment;
  9. Exemptions;
  10. Minimum requirements for the registration of assessors;
  11. Provide links to the AQP website for information on:
    1. Criteria for accreditation of assessment centres
    2. Exemplars of external assessment instruments
    3. Relevant sections of AQP assessment policy and procedures: those required for public information, including language(s) of assessment and RPL.
assessment quality partners career pathing for learnerships

Assessment Quality Partner (AQP) Functions

The QAP performs the role of summative assessment and moderation of learners, and verification of training programs by:

  1. An Assessment Quality Partner must, in respect of the qualifications and part qualifications specified in the Service Level Agreement;
    • recommend the external assessment specifications document for approval by the QCTO;
    • develop and maintain a national data-bank of instruments for external assessments;
    • publish exemplars of external assessments;
    • recommend to the QCTO the accreditation and withdrawal of accreditation of skills development providers for the knowledge and/or practical skills component using criteria and guidelines provided by the QCTO;
    • register assessors and moderators for the external assessments;
    • develop criteria for the accreditation of assessment centres or the approval of assessment sites for external assessments;
    • recommend to the QCTO the accreditation and withdrawal of accreditation of assessment centres;
    • and recommend to the QCTO the accreditation and withdrawal of accreditation of skills development providers for the knowledge and/or practical skills component using criteria and guidelines provided by the QCTO.
  2. Coordinate and manage external assessment processes;
  3. Record and upload learner external assessment applications and achievements to the QCTO;
  4. Moderate at least 10% of learner external assessments;
  5. Record and upload learner external assessment applications and achievements to the QCTO;
  6. Moderate at least 10% of learner external assessments;

Criteria for the Approval of an Assessment Quality Partner

The proof must be submitted to demonstrate adherence with the criteria listed below.

1. The QCTO Appointment of an Assessment Quality Partner

The QCTO will appoint an entity as an assessment quality partner when satisfied that the entity has:

  1. the expertise, experience and standing in relation to the occupational qualifications or foundational learning for the AQP appointment;
  2. and the resources necessary to perform its functions

2. QCTO Defined Criteria for an Assessment Quality Partner

The criteria defined by the QCTO:

a. Recommendation to QCTO by Relevant DQP

  • Submission of Occupational Profile
    • Possible Evidence:
      • DQP letter of recommendation
      • Attendance register
      • DQP progress report with endorsement
      • Extracts from minutes of the meeting

b. Access to Expert Practitioners

  • Occupational Expertise: or any other relevant information such as an indication as to where the AQP will source expertise to design assessments;
    • Possible Evidence:
      • Attendance registers
      • Extracts from websites with links to CEPs
      • Indication of where AQP will source expertise

c. Standing in the Field

  • Credibility and Standing
    • Possible Evidence:
      • Cross-reference to websites and publications

d. Access to Assessors and Human Resources

  • AQP Functions Personnel: Assessors and other human resources who perform the AQP functions using criteria and guidelines provided by the QCTO.
    • Possible Evidence:
      • Database of assessors

e. Reliable Management Information System

  • Information Management: have access to a reliable management information system approved by the QCTO;
    • Possible Evidence:
      • Organogram or outsourced organization
      • Approval by QCTO

f. Financial Resources

  • Financial Commitment: have the financial resources necessary to establish the AQP function and implement effective, efficient and transparent financial management and internal control systems.
    • Possible Evidence:
      • Evidence in the organization’s budget
      • Letter from AQP’s relevant authority committing financial resources
      • Proposed fee structure funding model aligned with QCTO Fee Structure Policy

g. Code of Conduct and Research Capacity

  • Compliance and Research
    • Possible Evidence:
      • Signing of QCTO Code of Conduct
      • Cross-reference to reports or processes addressing research capacity

h. Proof of Compliance

  • Compliance Documentation
    • Possible Evidence:
      • Submission of a valid tax clearance certificate (where appropriate).


QCTO Assessment Quality Partner (AQP) Criteria and Guidelines (Approved 20 February 2013)

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