MAEL designs its qualifications  to be valued and credible.  This involves that each qualification conforms to five basic principles:

*  Reliability – which implies that assessments can be used with the same results over time and that the same assessment can be used consistently for the whole of the intended candidature irrespective of the location of the assessment process.
*  Validity – which implies that the assessment tests relevant and appropriate content, skills, applications and knowledge defined through the qualification syllabus, by the use of appropriate assessment methods.
*  Comparability – which implies that users and regulators can understand assessment levels in terms of benchmarks and historic standards as applied to the qualification, other qualifications in the same field and the overall context of national and international frameworks.
*  Manageability – which implies that assessments must be manageable for teachers and providers to deliver cost effectively and awarding bodies to manage efficiently and effectively. There must be an effective balance between learning and assessment.
*  Bias minimisation – which implies that assessments should not in themselves introduce barriers to the demonstration of attainment. The design of assessments must consider the needs of a wide variety of learners and must consider how assessments are accessed with reference to the Equalities Act or other legislation.

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In addition to the general principles for all qualifications, MAEL observes the following in the design of assessment tasks:

  • * following best practice and informed research into assessment efficacy in selection of assessment methods and design of assessment instruments
  • * being transparent in our requirements and providing such information and support as will enable all learners to be fairly prepared for assessment
  • * working in partnership with Centres to promote clarity, consistency and integrity whilst minimising bureaucracy
  • * making use of up-to-date technology to improve efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and enhance assessment-related services to our where this is consistent with fitness for purpose
  • * encouraging Centres to provide fair access to assessment whilst ensuring that advancements of assessment of benefit to the majority are made available
  • * consulting with and involving stakeholders in the design and promulgation of qualifications
  • * ensuring that, where there is any conflict between the basicl principles: (a) a balance is sought that is objectively optimized and (b) meets any conditions of recognition by any regulatory body.

With respect to the basic principles:

Reliability is assured through some assessment tasks being unchanged year-on-year.  Some other tasks are rotated on a 3-year cycle to enable cohort-on-cohort comparisons.   For those which do change there is an annual process of review to minimise variability.   A report is prepared for the external moderator.  Tasks are reviewed by the Examination board and the external moderator before being altered.  Each cohort’s results are analysed statistically to check for any systematic lack of consistency.   Analyses are compared across contemporary cohorts and between successive cohorts.

Validity is assured through several approaches.  One aspect concerns evidence based on assessment content, which can be obtained from an analysis of the relationship between an assessment’s content and the construct it is intended to measure. Does the assessment for the qualification cover the knowledge and skills it is intended to cover?  Occupational experts are consulted to check this.  A second aspect of validity is evidence based on response performance or response that examinees engage in.  This is a part of the QA process (q.v.) and will be examined as part of both the IV and EV processes.   Generalisability is also an important aspect of validity and reliability measures (v.s.) can be used to assess this aspect.  Validity is also promoted through regular meetings between examiners and (where possible) Centre staff.   Electronic attendance (e.g. by Skype) is accepted.

Comparability is assured through clear identification of levels and comparisons with other qualifications in the field in the website.  Centres need to highlight this information in their own publicity documents.   Accuracy of comparison is  dependent on MAEL’s employment of external consultants with experience with Montessori and non-Montessori assessments

Manageability is assured through regular reviews and time analyses.

Bias is minimised through using a variety of assessment measures, including:
* academic essays
* making educational materials
* file tasks
* keeping a reflective journal
* child study
* observation of child-assessment
* both written and viva examinations

Other measures include:

Anonymous marking of knowledge-based LOs
Centres ensuring open access to assessment procedures and appeals policy
All assignments being designed to avoid breaching equality legislation
Centres arranging additional help for students with specific or special learning difficulties e.g. electronic aids use for assessment, extra time, arranging access courses with external providers

 These requirements are the cornerstones of good assessment practice in order to set and maintain standards in qualifications.

The directors of MAEL will ensure that any qualification which is made available, or proposed to make available, complies with any requirement relating to that qualification which is set out in any official regulatory document. In the development, delivery and award of any qualification which is made available, or proposed to make available, MAEL will have regard to any guidelines and principles of good practice relating to that qualification which are set out in official regulatory document.

If any unit or component developed by a third party is incorporated into a qualification, then MAEL will only make available the qualification which uses the unit or component where it reasonably believes that:
* the unit (or rule of combination) complies with the requirements relating to it that are set out in any Regulatory Document, and
* in the development of the unit or Rule of Combination, due regard has been had to the guidelines and principles of good practice set out in any Regulatory Document.

Addendum on the Specification of a Qualification

The specification of a qualification will include the following features (but not necessarily in this order):

1. Qualification Objective

 MAEL will ensure that each qualification which it makes available or proposes to make available;

* has a clear objective which is readily understandable by users; and

* meets that objective.

* the objective of the qualification must be such as to lead to a benefit for learners who have reached a specified level of attainment.  The benefit(s) may include:

(a) preparing learners to progress to a qualification in a subject area where they are already qualified, but at a higher level or requiring more specific knowledge, skills and understanding,

(b) preparing learners to progress to a qualification in a subject area which is new to them,

(c) meeting relevant programmes of learning,

(d) preparing learners for employment,

(e) supporting learners’ existing roles in the workplace, or

(f) giving learners personal growth and engagement in learning.

 2. Qualification support

 When MAEL proposes to make available any new qualification, it:

* will first consult users of qualifications to ascertain whether there is support for the qualification, and

* may only make available the qualification where it has evidence of sufficient support from u sers of qualifications. For this purposes, the following considerations will be particularly relevant in determining what constitutes sufficient support :

(a) the objective of the new qualification,

(b) whether the new qualification is intended to facilitate a particular route of progression for learners, and

(c) the number of learners that the awarding organisation reasonably estimates is likely to take the new qualification, and

(d) whether the prevailing view of users of qualifications is that the qualification would provide a benefit to learners.

 3. Qualification Title

 The title on the specification of any qualification which is made available includes the following information:

(a) the name of the awarding organisation (MAEL),

(b) the level of the qualification,

(c) the type of qualification (where the qualification has a type),

(d) a concise indication of the content of the qualification, and

(e) any endorsement known at the time the qualification is submitted to the Ofqual Register.

In addition MAEL will:

(a) ensure that the title on the specification reflects the knowledge, skills and understanding which will be assessed as part of the qualification, and

(b) take all reasonable steps to ensure that the title allows users of qualifications to identify similar units or qualifications which it makes available or are made available by other awarding organisations (where applicable), and

(c) the title is used consistently in advertising and in communications with users of qualifications, and

(d) ensure that the title of the qualification which it makes available, or proposes to make available, is not misleading in any way to prospective or actual users.

4. Qualification Specification Publication

 Before first making available a particular qualification, MAEL will publish a specification for that qualification, which sets out:

(a) the qualification’s objective (in conformity with the points above),

(b) any other qualification which a learner must have completed before taking the qualification,

(c) any prior knowledge, skills or understanding which the Learner is required to have before taking the qualification,

(d) units which a learner must have completed before the qualification will be awarded and any optional routes,

(e) any other requirements which a learner must have satisfied before the learner will be assessed or before the qualification will be awarded,

(f) the knowledge, skills and understanding which will be assessed as part of the qualification (giving a clear indication of their coverage and depth),

(g) the method of any assessment and any associated requirements relating to it,

(h) the criteria against which learners’ levels of attainment will be measured (such as assessment criteria and/ or exemplars),

(i) specimen assessment materials, and

(j) specified levels of attainment.

 MAEL will ensure that the specification for a qualification is clear, accurate and communicates, to the reasonable and informed person, in terms of both what the qualification requires of the Learner in respect of each of the details that is applicable to the qualification, and  how the qualification is fit for purpose.

 Before submitting a qualification to the Ofqual Register or for accreditation, and/or to any other regulatory body, MAEL will review that qualification, and assure itself that the qualification complies with the requirements of all conditions of recognition, making any changes to the qualification which are necessary for that purpose.

Addendum on the Withdrawal of a Qualification

The withdrawal of a qualification shall be deemed to occur at the point in time when MAEL first:

  • * to register learners for the qualification, or to deliver or award that qualification to learners; or
  • * surrenders its recognition in respect of that qualification; or
  • * its recognition withdrawn by Ofqual in respect of that qualification.

Whenever withdrawal is mandated, or expected, all reasonable steps must be taken to protect the interests of learners in relation to that qualification.

MAEL will give to Ofqual and any other regulatory body reasonable notice of the anticipated withdrawal of a qualification, which will be before providing that information to any learners, Centres, or purchasers of the qualification.

When MAEL intends to withdraw, or is obliged to withdraw, a qualification, it will:

* promptly prepare, maintain, and comply with a written withdrawal plan, which must specify how the interests of Learners in relation to that qualification will be protected; and

* provide clear and accurate information about the withdrawal to Learners, Centres, and purchasers of qualifications who are likely to be affected by the withdrawal; and

* ensure that any withdrawal plan which is prepared fully complies with any additional requirements which Ofqual or any other regulatory body has communicated in writing.

Date of last review 09/06/2016