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Policy on Accreditation of Assessment Centres

Policy on Accreditation of Assessment Centres

Verification The process managed by the relevant AQP for externally checking moderation processes and confirming or overturning moderation findings.

  1. Preamble

    The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of section 26G the Skills Development Act of 1998 as a juristic person. It was listed as a public entity in Government Gazette No 33900 of 31 December 2010 effective from 1 April 2010 to establish the sub-Framework for Trades and Occupations. The QCTO is responsible for the development, maintenance and quality assurance of qualifications within its sub- framework.

    The QCTO focuses quality assurance of the provision of assessment on the final external integrated summative assessment. The external integrated summative assessment of all QCTO qualifications will be conducted in accredited assessment centres or approved assessment sites to ensure that the required facilities and processes are in place to conduct standardised assessments for determining the required occupational competence to be awarded the qualification.

  2. Objectives and criteria for assessment

    This policy outlines the criteria applied by the QCTO for the accreditation of assessment centres. It provides guidelines for bodies wishing to apply for accreditation as assessment centres. Accreditation describes the process followed by the QCTO to determine if a body meets the QCTO’s minimum specified criteria and has the capacity to conduct secure, reliable and objective external summative assessments.

  3. Legislative and regulatory framework

    In terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998) the QCTO will accredit assessment centres, including trade test centres to conduct the external summative assessment for specified occupational qualifications, part qualifications or trades recorded on the NLRD but without an associated occupational qualification.

    This policy and criteria is based on the QCTO Policy on Delegation of Qualification Assessment to Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs) and the Assessment Policy for Qualifications and Part Qualifications on the OQSF.

  4. Audience and applicability

    This policy applies to assessment centres seeking accreditation to assess occupational qualifications, part qualifications and trades recorded on the NLRD but without associated occupational qualifications. Assessment centres may include accredited trade test centres, workplaces, providers, education and training institutions (e.g. FET Colleges or Universities of Technology) or professional bodies. These bodies should have the required facilities and meet the requirements specified by the relevant AQP for the related occupational qualification or part qualification.

    Bodies seeking accreditation as an assessment centre must apply to the relevant QCTO appointed AQP responsible for recommending the accreditation of assessment centres to the QCTO.

  5. Responsibilities of an assessment centre

    An assessment centre must:

    1. assess the occupational qualification or part qualification in accordance with the standards set by the delegated AQP;
    2. comply with the QCTO and AQP assessment policies and procedures;
    3. conduct integrated external summative assessments in accordance with the AQP requirements;
    4. adhere to standards set by the AQP in order to maintain accreditation;
    5. enter into a formal agreement with the relevant AQP;
    6. if also a training provider, provide an assessment area separate from the training area;
    7. only allow candidates registered for assessment and assessment practitioners conducting the assessment into the assessment area;
    8. ensure that candidates are not assessed or moderated by the facilitator responsible for their training; and
    9. have appropriately qualified human resources to conduct assessments as specified by the AQP.
  6. Responsibilities of the AQP

      1. The relevant AQP will recommend to the QCTO, in the form and manner required by the QCTO:
        1. the accreditation of assessment centres for all occupational qualifications and part qualifications that require the use of assessment centres for conducting external summative assessments; and
        2. the de-accreditation of accredited assessment centres where required.
      2. In respect of each occupational qualification or part qualification falling within its scope, and requiring the accreditation of an assessment centre an AQP will:
        1. ensure standardisation of the external integrated summative assessment through the development of nationally standardised assessment instruments;
        2. determine criteria for accreditation of assessment centres to be able to conduct the external integrated summative assessment;
        3. conduct external moderation to ensure that the external integrated summative assessment is conducted in an appropriate manner; and
        4. make recommendations to QCTO for the issuing of certificates.
      3. In respect of an assessment centre accredited to assess competence against an occupational qualification or part qualification, an AQP will:
        1. provide criteria, guidelines and procedures for registration for assessment;
        2. provide criteria and guidelines on security processes required to curb irregularities during the assessment process;
        3. provide criteria and guidelines for capturing learner achievements according to the QCTO’s MIS requirements;
        4. monitor the performance of the accredited assessment centres;
        5. ensure that candidates are not assessed or moderated by the facilitator responsible for their training; and
        6. report to the QCTO on the assessment centre’s performance in the form and manner required by the QCTO.
      4. In the event of de-accreditation of an assessment centre the AQP must arrange an alternative assessment centre for candidates already enrolled for assessment.
      5. In terms of section 26A of the Skills Development Act, the NAMB will recommend to the QCTO the accreditation of trade test centres.
      6. Trade test centres currently accredited by the SETAs will be deemed accredited by the NAMB for trades recorded on the NLRD for a period of 3 years from the publication date of the Trade Test Regulations during which a recommendation to be accredited by the QCTO must be submitted by NAMB.
  7. Responsibilities of the QCTO

      1. The QCTO must consider recommendations from AQPs for assessment centre accreditation.
      2. The QCTO will evaluate and may verify the information on the AQP recommendations for the accreditation of an assessment centre.
      3. The QCTO will make a decision as to whether to accredit the recommended assessment centre within 30 working days of receiving the recommendation.
      4. The QCTO must notify the AQP of its decision in writing and may refer the recommendation back to the AQP for outstanding information or additional information to be provided.
      5. If the QCTO grants accreditation of an assessment centre, it will publish it on its official website the following information –
        1. the relevant details of the accredited assessment centre; and
        2. the occupational qualifications the assessment centre is accredited to assess.
      6. If accreditation is withdrawn, the QCTO must inform the AQP and assessment centre and remove the assessment centre’s details from its official website.
  8. Criteria for the accreditation of assessment centres

      1. The QCTO will accredit an entity as an assessment centre for a specified occupational qualification or part qualification if recommended by an AQP and if that entity satisfies the criteria listed below.The entity must:
        1. be a juristic person registered or established in terms of South African law;
        2. have a valid tax clearance certificate issued by the South African Revenue Service if applicable;
        3. have a suitable and compliant MIS in accordance with QCTO specifications;
        4. be safe, secure and accessible to candidates;
        5. meet the relevant standards for occupational health and safety;
        6. have the required physical resources (e.g. venue; equipment, machinery or protective clothing), specified by the AQP to assess learners’ competence regarding the occupational qualification or part qualification;
        7. have appropriately qualified human resources as specified by the AQP; and
        8. make provision for any other requirements specified for the relevant trade, occupational qualification or part qualification.

    NOTE: Although the QCTO accredits assessment centres and sites, the accredited assessment centre or site remains responsible and accountable for ensuring the safety of the centre staff, students and visitors. The QCTO will not be liable for any loss, damage, expense, costs, delays or other liability whatsoever that the assessment centre or site may incur during its operations.

  9. Duration of accreditation

      1. The accreditation of an assessment centre to conduct assessments for the specific occupational qualification or part qualification is valid:
        1. for a period of 5 years from the date the QCTO grants accreditation; or
        2. until de-registration of the qualification; or
        3. until de-accreditation is recommended by the AQP.
      2. Trade test centres currently accredited by the SETAs will be deemed accredited by the NAMB for trades recorded on the NLRD for a period of 3 years from the publication date of the Trade Test Regulations during which a recommendation to be accredited by the QCTO must be submitted by NAMB.
  10. Applying for accreditation

      1. An application for accreditation must be made to the relevant AQP in accordance with the criteria and guidelines of the AQP.
      2. A centre that applies for accreditation to conduct the external integrated summative assessment for a specified occupational qualification or part qualification must provide evidence of:
        1. the required physical resources (e.g. venue; equipment, machinery or protective clothing), specified by the AQP to assess learners’ competence with regard to the relevant occupational qualification or part qualification;
        2. the required technical expertise (qualified personnel) to conduct the integrated external assessment for the relevant occupational qualification or part qualification;
        3. compliance with the quality assurance requirements needed to conduct that particular assessment; and
        4. systems to handle complaints and appeals.
  11. Amendments to the scope of accreditation

    1. An accredited assessment centre may increase its scope by applying to one or more AQPs for conducting integrated external summative assessments for additional occupational qualifications or part qualifications.
    2. The AQP will recommend the amendment of scope to the QCTO.
    3. The QCTO may amend the scope, if:
      1. the AQP recommends the assessment centre to conduct assessment for one or more additional occupational qualifications. In such a case the generic requirements will be deemed to be met, and the extension of scope application will be restricted to the additional curriculum components; and
      2. the QCTO determines that an accredited assessment centre no longer has the capacity to conduct the external summative assessments for which it has been accredited.
    4. In all cases of an amendment to scope, the QCTO will inform the AQP and fulfil all its responsibilities as detailed in Section 7 above.
  1. Withdrawal of accreditation

    1. The QCTO, may on reasonable grounds, withdraw on recommendation from the relevant AQP the accreditation of an assessment centre in respect of all or a specific occupational qualification or part qualification which it is accredited to assess. Reasonable grounds include, but are not limited to:
      1. inability to meet the accreditation criteria;
      2. assessment irregularities;
      3. failure or refusal to fulfil accreditation responsibilities;
      4. failure or refusal to comply with the relevant QCTO policies and procedures; and
      5. failure to comply with the relevant AQP requirements including but not limited to:
        1. poor record keeping and reporting on assessments;
        2. poor internal moderation; and
        3. ineffective reporting to the AQP.
    2. The assessment centre may appeal the de-accreditation recommendation to the QCTO at a cost determined by the QCTO.
    3. If de-accreditation is appealed, the QCTO will convene an appeals committee to consider any representations received, and will notify the AQP and assessment centre of its appeal decision in writing.
  2. Irregularities

    1. The assessment centre must address irregularities relating to the integrated external summative assessment which include, but are not limited to:

      1. a candidate cheating, copying or accessing assessment instruments in advance;
      2. a candidate bribing, blackmailing, threatening or harassing an assessor or others involved in the assessment process; and
      3. any party that falsifies documents or evidence for access before or during an assessment.
    2. The AQP must address irregularities relating to the integrated external summative assessment which include, but are not limited to:
      1. an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP not declaring a conflict of interest, such as, but not limited to a family or business relationship with a learner;
      2. an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP taking bribes or responding to threats, etc. in such a manner that advantages one learner over another;
      3. an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP demonstrating bias (e.g. in relation to race, class, gender, educational background, ethnicity or religion) that unduly influences assessment or moderation decisions; or
      4. an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP not making appropriate arrangements for learners with disabilities or language disadvantages (unless the assessment in question is assessing the language in question).
  3. Complaints and appeals

    1. Complaints and appeals against irregularities under 13.1 must be referred to the relevant AQP.
    2. Complaints and appeals and appeals against irregularities under 13.2 must be referred to the QCTO.
  4. Quality assurance and monitoring of policy implementation

    1. The delegated AQP will monitor the performance of accredited assessment centres.
    2. The QCTO will monitor the performance of the AQP in terms of this policy.
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Assessment Policy for Qualifications and Part Qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF)

Glossary of terms

  • Accreditation The certification, usually for a particular period, of a person, a body or an institution as having the capacity to fulfil a particular function in the quality assurance system set up by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).
  • Administrative errors Means irregularities that are of a technical nature, where the student or an assessment official unintentionally fails to follow the prescribed administrative procedures.
  • Assessment The process of collecting evidence of learner’s work to measure and make judgements about the competence or non-competence of specified National Qualifications Framework (NQF) occupational standards or qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Assessment centre A centre accredited by the QCTO for the purpose of conducting external integrated summative assessments for specified NQF registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications
  • Assessment Process Includes the total process of assessment that commences once the candidate has satisfied and met the assessment criteria for writing an external integrated summative assessment including passing the knowledge, practical and workplace components.
  • Assessment Quality Partner A body delegated by the QCTO to develop assessment instruments and manage the external integrated summative assessments of specific NQF registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Assessment site Any site selected as suitable and approved by the relevant AQP to conduct the external integrated summative assessments for specified registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications, where the specific assessment specifications do not require the use of an accredited assessment centre.
  • Assessment specialist A person who has been appointed by the relevant
  • AQP in accordance with established criteria to conduct, develop and/or moderate external integrated summative assessments for NQF registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Applied competence The ability to put into practice in the relevant context the learning outcomes acquired in obtaining an occupational qualification or part qualification.
  • Candidate A person whose performance is being assessed by the relevant AQP at an accredited assessment centre or approved workplace.
  • External integrated summative assessment An assessment managed by a body appointed by the QCTO, using nationally developed assessment instruments at end of sections of learning or the end of the whole learning process to facilitate demonstration of both theory and practical competence in achieving the outcomes of the occupational qualification or part qualification.
  • Formative Assessment On-going assessments, reviews, and observations which would be a range of formal and informal assessment procedures applied during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities and to improve learners’ attainment;
  • Internal assessment refers to the assessment (formative assessment) conducted by a provider during the course of learning to re-inforce learning and support the learner. It also refers to internal self-evaluations done by the provider to monitor its general performance on the training delivery and formative assessments
  • Invigilator Means any person appointed to manage the conduct of an assessment.
  • Irregularity Means any event, act or omission and any alleged event, which may undermine the integrity, credibility, security, or the fairness of the assessment process.
  • Learner a person undergoing education and training at an accredited Skills Development Provider (SDP)
  • Moderation The process managed by the AQP which ensures that the assessment of the learning outcomes described in the NQF occupational standards, qualifications and part qualifications is fair, valid, reliable and unbiased.
  • Moderator A person who has been appointed by the relevant AQP in accordance with established criteria to ensure that the assessment process and procedure is fair, valid, reliable and unbiased.
  • Monitoring A continuous process of the review of quality that can be conducted internally and/or externally to recommend quality improvements.
  • National Learners Records’ Database The electronic management information system of the NQF, which contains records of qualifications, learner achievements, recognised professional bodies, professional designations and all related information such as registration and accreditations..
  • Occupational curriculum Is derived from the occupational profile and is the purposeful combination of conceptual, practical and work experience knowledge and skills in order to achieve a certain occupational qualification.
  • Occupational qualification A qualification associated with a trade, occupation or profession, resulting from work-based learning and consisting of the knowledge, practical skills and work experience standards as defined in the Skills Development Act (Act No. 97 of 1998).
  • Part qualification An assessed unit of learning that is registered on the NQF as a part qualification. Occupational part qualifications must comprise all three learning components.
  • Quality Assurance The process of ensuring that standards and procedures are adhered to and that delivered products or services meet performance requirements according to the QCTO requirements.
  • Skills Development Provider A body that delivers learning programmes which culminate in specified registered NQF occupational standards and qualifications and part qualifications and manages the internal assessment thereof.
  • Systems auditor The person responsible for auditing the management and information systems of the AQP
  • Validation The end-process by which it is determined by the relevant AQP whether or not an assessment is valid and leading to the acceptance or rejection of assessment results.
  • Verification The process managed by the relevant AQP for externally checking moderation processes and confirming or overturning moderation findings.

Preamble

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of section 26G of the Skills Development Act, of 1998 as a juristic person. It was listed as a public entity in Government Gazette No 33900 of 31 December 2010 effective from 1 April 2010 to establish the Sub-framework for Trades and Occupations. It is responsible for the development, maintenance and quality assurance of qualifications within its sub-framework.

External integrated summative assessment is an integral and critical component of the QCTO’s quality assurance system. External integrated summative assessment ensures consistency and credibility of the assessment of occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications. The external integrated summative assessment will be conducted by the relevant AQP, applying nationally standardised assessment instruments.

For learners to qualify for an external integrated summative assessment, they must provide proof of completion of all required modules. Foundational Learning Competence (FLC) is a pre-requisite for the external integrated summative assessment of all occupational qualifications and part qualifications at NQF levels 3 and 4.

  1. INTRODUCTION

    1.1 Objectives and criteria for assessment

    The objectives and criteria for External Integrated Summative Assessment are to:

      • outline how the external integrated summative assessment will be conducted, by whom how and where i.e. the model to be used

      • outline the requirements for the external integrated summative assessment for occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications and guide all assessment practices;
      • ensure that all assessment practices are aligned to legislation and national policy environment;
      • ensure that assessment is understood as an integrated process within the learning experience; and
      • outline the most appropriate way for the AQP to carry out its functions for the given context.

        1. Legislative and regulatory framework

          In terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998), the QCTO must design and develop occupational qualifications and standards and ensure the quality assurance thereof. A nationally standardised external integrated summative assessment (EISA) is an integral part of the quality assurance of occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications.

          This policy should be read in conjunction with the QCTO Policy on Delegation of Qualification Assessment to Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs).

        2. Audience and applicability

          This policy applies to AQPs responsible for developing standardised assessment instruments in accordance with the external assessment specifications document and accredited assessment centres responsible for conducting external summative assessments. The policy is applicable to the assessment of occupational qualifications and part qualifications registered on the Occupational Qualifications sub framework (OQSF).

        3. Rationale for a flexible approach

          The assessment strategy will vary according to a number of factors. Since the qualifications in the Occupational Qualifications Framework cover a variety of occupational contexts, levels of complexity, percentage of knowledge, practical skills and work experience as well as NQF levels, there can be no one model for external assessment which will suit all occupational qualifications. Part of the design process for each qualification focuses on determining the most efficient, effective, practical and economic way to conduct valid external assessment in the context of that particular qualification and this information is outlined in the Qualification Assessment Specifications document.

        4. Underlying principles and values

          The following principles and values must be taken into consideration during the development of the processes.

          External Assessment systems and processes must:

          1. be fair, reliable, valid, ethical and transparent
          2. be consistent across time, place, role players and respond to a non-sectoral demand led model
          3. use methodologies that are fit-for-purpose and reflect a consistent level of higher cognitive challenge
          4. avoid tendencies of exclusivity
  2. ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS

      1. Qualification Assessment Specifications

        The QCTO has introduced a compulsory external assessment as a prerequisite for certification for all occupational qualifications. The purpose of this is to establish and maintain a national standard for each occupational qualification. By ensuring the validity and reliability of the external summative assessment based on a national standard the QCTO aims to enhance the credibility of the certificates issued to qualifying learners for occupational qualifications.

        Internal assessment is conducted by providers in line with the guidelines given in the curriculum for each curriculum component. Workplaces offering the work experience are provided with a work experience record which must be completed and signed off, as well as specifications regarding supporting evidence to be collected. The learner achievements resulting from internal assessment are recorded in statements of results. Candidates become eligible for external assessment when they have all the statements of results as specified in the assessment specifications.

        Because the external assessment strategy needs to be fit for purpose, a Qualification Assessment Specifications document spelling out the requirements for external assessment is developed for each occupational qualification. Assessment instruments will be developed in accordance with the assessment strategy for each occupational qualification. The actual assessment is thus standardised nationally for all candidates for any single occupational qualification.

        When an organisation is appointed as an Assessment Quality Partner by the QCTO for a specified occupational qualification, its first task is to participate in the development of the Qualification Assessment Specifications for the qualification in question. 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.

      2. Criteria for the development of the external assessment specifications document

        1. The external assessment strategy must be included.
        2. Key occupational outcomes must be described.
        3. The point(s) at which the occupational qualification is to be assessed must be indicated.
        4. Critical identified elements of ‘external assessment’ to be externally moderated (if any) must be indicated.
        5. Eligibility requirements for candidates for external assessment must be specified.
        6. Exemplars of external assessment instruments must be included.
        7. The language(s) of assessment must be included.
        8. Minimum requirements (qualifications/experience) for the assessment specialists must be specified.
      3. Criteria for the development of external assessment instruments

        1. The guidelines on the content to be assessed should ensure consistency and quality across time, place, role players and occupations.
        2. Assessment instruments should be developed to ensure the validity, consistency, quality and credibility of the assessments.
        3. Assessment instruments should be based on the outcomes of the occupational qualification or part qualification and assessment criteria stated in the assessment specifications document.
        4. Assessment instruments should be developed by subject matter experts in a particular occupational qualification or part qualification.
      4. Assessment techniques

        A range of assessment techniques to ensure that assessment is educationally sound, appropriate to the discipline or field of study, all outcomes are assessed and the criteria of validity, reliability, authenticity and feasibility are met will be spelled out in the curriculum component of the occupational qualification, trade or part qualification.

      5. Responsibilities for the implementation of internal assessments

        1. The accredited Skills Development provider (SDP) is responsible for conducting formative assessments and learners must be given feedback on their performance;
        2. The SDP must conduct internal self-evaluations to monitor its general performance on the training delivery and formative assessments;
        3. The AQP and the QCTO will monitor the performance of the SDP with respect to the implementation of internal formative assessments and the internal self-evaluations of its performance on the training delivery and formative assessments.
      6. Roles and responsibilities of the QCTO

        The QCTO will

        1. Where necessary appoint an AQP for each occupational qualification or part qualification.
        2. Publish assessment specifications document, developed as part of the qualifications development process.
        3. Monitor and evaluate AQPs performance in managing the external integrated summative assessments and where necessary undertake audits to determine the quality performance of AQPs.
        4. Ensure that national standards are met through monitoring and evaluation of the execution of functions by the AQP.
        5. Evaluate the assessment and moderation processes.
        6. Maintain a database of accredited SDPs and assessment centres/sites.
        7. Monitor adherence to the QCTOs Code of Conduct for AQPs.
        8. Monitor the readiness of learners for the EISA
      7. Roles and responsibilities of the AQP

        The AQP will:

        1. Ensure that it receives learner enrolment data from accredited Skills Development Providers (SDPs) on time for planning purposes.
        2. issue candidate registration numbers after the learners have been recommended to sit for final external assessment;
        3. Liaise with the accredited assessment centres and approved sites on assessment instruments to be administered for a particular session.
        4. Ensure that complete assessment instruments and related documentation are forwarded to the accredited assessment centres and approved sites in a secure manner agreed upon.
        5. Keep a record of assessment specialists that assess and moderate the external assessments involving practical tasks which are conducted at decentralised assessment centres that simulate working conditions or approved workplace sites.
        6. Ensure that learner results are credible and that the assessment process was fair, valid, reliable and unbiased.
      8. Roles and responsibilities of assessment centres

        Accredited assessment centres are addressed in a separate policy as they must meet a number of criteria. The accredited assessment centres and their approved sites will ensure that:

        1. Assessment instruments should be developed to ensure the validity, consistency, quality and credibility of the assessments.
        2. There are sufficient invigilators during assessments and they receive appropriate training.
        3. There are no fraudulent activities during the assessment.
        4. The safe storage of assessment instruments and related documentation is adhered to.
        5. Assessment results are delivered to the relevant AQP within the stipulated time and in a manner agreed upon.
        6. Assessment materials are marked and results are captured accordingly.
      9. Roles and responsibilities of systems auditors, invigilators and administrators

        These key role-players need not necessarily be subject matter experts or expert practitioners since they focus on compliance. They check:

        1. That all relevant assessment policies and procedures are implemented correctly
        2. The secure handling of the assessment instruments and
        3. The procedures for checking the identity of candidates and
        4. The authenticity of the assessment processes.
      10. Roles and responsibilities of the skills development providers

        The skills development providers will:

        1. Conduct internal assessment in line with the guidelines given in the curriculum for each curriculum component.
        2. Record the learner achievements resulting from formative assessments in statements of results.
        3. Register the learners with the AQP when they become eligible for final integrated external assessment.
        4. Coordinate the provision and assessment of the knowledge and practical skills curriculum components of an occupational qualification based on the recommendations from the AQP.
        5. Liaise with workplaces to assist candidates to have access to work experience.
      11. Roles and responsibilities of the learners

        The learners must:

        1. Take responsibility for their learning and assessment by being active participants;
        2. Participate in assessment processes in an honest and disciplined manner;
        3. Monitor their learning towards readiness to sit for an external summative assessment and inform the provider when ready for external assessment;
        4. Know the appeals procedure of the AQP so that they can follow it should there be a need to do so.
      12. Complaints and Appeals

        1. Complaints about the assessment and assessment process by learners should be lodged at the accredited assessment centre or approved site.
        2. Appeals on the assessment and assessment process by learners should be lodged with the relevant AQP, in which the decision of the AQP appeals committee shall be final.
  3. MANAGEMENT OF ASSESSMENT

      1. Coordination of Component Provision

        The QCTO will ensure, for occupational qualifications, that a single agent is responsible to assist learners to navigate through all three learning components and have access to the external summative assessment.

      2. Entry requirements

        In order to qualify for entry into the final external integrated summative assessment, a learner will have:

        1. been enrolled with a QCTO accredited provider for that particular occupational qualification;
        2. met the entry requirements specified in the registered occupational qualification document;
        3. met the requirements for the knowledge, practical and work experience components of the occupational qualification; and
        4. met the requirements for FLC where applicable.
  4. QUALITY ASSURANCE AND MONITORING OF POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

    1. The effectiveness of the policy on the external integrated summative assessment shall be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis against the set quality assurance standards and associated performance indicators to identify and implement appropriate amendments aimed at improving the effectiveness, efficiency, economy and impact of the said policy and procedures.
    2. Best practices in the occupational space for policy implementation will be identified and best practice models will be used to benchmark the practice amongst AQPs.
    3. On appointment the Assessment Quality Partner signs a Service Level Agreement with the QCTO. This provides a schedule for implementation of the QCTO model for external assessment, giving deadlines for each requirement during the first year of appointment. This schedule provides the basis for the QCTO to monitor, evaluate and review the initial activities of the AQP.
    4. In addition, the QCTO has a standardised data reporting template which must be completed and submitted quarterly. This provides specified quantitative data to the QCTO.
    5. Each year after the first year of appointment the AQP must also complete and submit a qualitative report, which serves the dual purpose of a self-evaluation, assisting in strategic planning for the coming year, and of providing the QCTO with the basis for continued monitoring, evaluation and review.
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Managing the verification of occupational qualifications registered on the OQSF through the QCTO verification process

Managing the verification of occupational qualifications registered on the OQSF through the QCTO verification process

    1. For the QCTO to verify the achievement of a learner who has completed a trade, occupational qualification, part-qualification or skills programme, the QCTO maintains a secure database of all certified data and where appropriate, makes use of hard copies of contractual and certified information for legacy trades.Through the SDA as amended, the QCTO is responsible for all certified trades’ data from the Department of Manpower/Labour and the Department of Higher Education and Training, and therefore also has the responsibility of verifying the certificates issued under these dispensations.The QCTO has delegated the certification of sector based and historically registered occupational qualifications registered · on the OQSF to the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) which are appointed as Quality Assurance Partners (QAPs) and Professional Bodies. This is a transitional arrangement and will be phased out as the QCTO expands its quality assurance functions to cover the historically registered qualifications of which the information

      is available on the NLRD. When QCTO takes on the data of the QAPs, the QCTO will assist SAQA where required with regard to the verification of these qualifications which will be solely undertaken by the SAQA. The QCTO through the delegation of functions to QAPs will assist as required to ensure that qualification information not recorded on the NLRD is obtained.

    2. The QCTO values quality information submitted by a verification client as a cornerstone in an effective and reliable verification process and therefore in verifying a certificate, the QCTO ensures that the certificate presented for verification corresponds in all aspects with the data stored on the database and in hard copies where appropriate.

      The QCTO ensures that the certified learner achievement data is securely stored and can only be accessed in order to verify the authenticity of the learner qualification achievement data or certificate presented for verification.

      Only trained and authorised persons have access to the data. The verification personnel are aware that the credibility of the qualification and verification rests on their ethical behaviour in respect of the information they work with.

    3. The verification of qualifications is managed through the following processes:

      • ensuring learner certification;

      • managing a verification system;

      • developing and managing suitable system processes and procedures for verification;

      • maintaining trade related data in hard copy;

      • maintaining an updated database of all certificates issued and an audit trail of transactions executed by users on the system;

      • maintaining a record system for verifications;

      • ensuring proper back-ups of the certification database; and

      • verifying certified qualifications as registered on the OQSF on request; and

      • maintaining a register of misrepresented qualifications and report to SAQA as required.

    4. The QCTO verifies a certificate and qualification by confirming that:

      • the information as printed on the certificate corresponds with the data captured on the QCTO certification database and hard copies of certification data as appropriate;

      • the certificate was issued in terms of the legislative requirements specified;

      • the certificate is valid;

      • the covert and overt security features adopted by the QCTO in the issuing of certificates are valid; and

      • the qualification was achieved.

    5. The NQF Act as amended further stipulates that if after verification of a qualification, part qualification or skills programme is inauthentic or is found to be a misrepresented qualification, part qualification or skills programme or is declared

      by a court of law to be a fraudulent qualification, part qualification or skills programme, the SAQA must refer such a finding or information to the relevant professional body as may be prescribed and must

      1. inform the requester and the holder of the qualification, part qualification or skills pogramme of the finding;
      2. record such finding in the register of misrepresented qualifications, part qualifications and skill programmes or fraudulent qualification, part qualification or skill programme; and
      3. provide the SAQA with all particulars of the holder to enable the SAQA before recording such finding in the relevant register, to give notice and comply with the Act.

      The verification and evaluation processes referred to in the NQF Act must conform to the provision of the Prmo9tion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000, (Act No 3 of 2000)

    6. Tariffs for verification are reviewed and set by the Council on an annual basis. New tariffs are implemented on 1 April annually.
  1. Security in the verification process

    1. A credible certification and verification environment requires quality and security to be constantly foregrounded. The principles for ensuring security include:
      • users with controlled access to the system only perform verification functions;
      • all activities on the system log an audit trail;
      • user access to the system is maintained and monitored;
      • the storage and printing of certificates takes place in a secured environment;
      • a record of all certificates issued is maintained;
      • credible certification forms are used which have security features that are regularly enhanced; and
      • backups and storage of data are maintained.
    2. The QCTO has a zero tolerance approach to fraudulent and corrupt practices and therefore urges members of the public to:
      • report any suspected irregular activities to the South African Police Services (SAPS);
      • refrain from irregular behaviour with the intention of compromising QCTO staff; and
      • report any irregular behaviour by QCTO staff to the Chief Executive Officer. The QCTO Fraud Hotline information is as follows:QCTO Fraud and Ethics Hotline Free Call: 0800322322Email: qcto@tip-offs.com Free Fax: 0800 00 77 88www.tip-offs.com
    3. It is illegal to misrepresent a qualification issued by an awarding body. Employers and learning institutions are encouraged to verify the authenticity of an occupational and trade certificate with the QCTO.

      7.4 Offences and Penalties with regard to the misrepresentation and fraudulent information on qualifications are stipulated in Section 328 of the NQF Act as amended.

  2. QCTO Verification Responsibilities

    1. The QCTO undertakes to:

      • provide an accurate and reliable verification response, as agreed with the client in the SLA, upon request from the client;

      • adhere to SLA requirements and to notify the client when unforeseen circumstances affect the QCTO’s ability to verify and/or meet the SLA requirements;

      • keep records of the number of verification requests made by a client during an invoicing period;

      • invoice the client monthly where applicable;

      • if an unforced incorrect verification outcome was submitted to a client, submit a letter of apology as well as corrected verification outcome to the client provided that proof is supplied that the QCTO was at fault during the verification process;

      • provide a sworn affidavit regarding a verification, which may have resulted in a disciplinary hearing and/or a court case; and

      • testify at a hearing or a court-case when a subpoena is issued if required.

    2. The QCTO shall comply with the requirements as set out by the NQF Act as amended and SAQA policies with regard to verification and reporting cases of misrepresentation of qualifications.

      8.3 The QCTO will on an annual basis liaise with its clients through a workshop to enhance understanding of the verification process.

  3. Verification client responsibilities

    1. The verification client is a legally registered company or other body/authority that provides its customers and other third parties with, amongst others, a qualification verification service subject to the requirements in the NQF Act as amended. A verification client seeks to enter into a contract with the QCTO to verify the certificates of learner achievement issued by the QCTO as well as trade certificate issued previously by the Department of Manpower, DOL and DHET can do so in terms of the requirements of this policy as well as the NQF Act as amended and related verification policies as issued by SAQA.

      9.2 The verification client shall initiate each request for verification, forwarding an electronic copy of a certificate via email including details as per the QCTO prescribed format indicating the full name of the candidate (name under which qualification was issued), accompanied by the date of birth, ID number and date issued. Each certificate, or certificate number, shall be directly associated with the personal details of an individual. Further to the requirements in the NQF Act, the client must provide a contactable number of the qualification holder as well as an email address should SAQA be required to contact the qualification holder of a misrepresented record.

        1. The client will:
          1. sign an SLA with the QCTO before the verification service can commence;
          2. request the verification interms of the requirements stipulated by the QCTO and as further outlined in the policy;
          3. ensure that the information provided by the QCTO is secure, and used only for the purposes intended;
          4. maintain accurate records of the number of verification requests made, as well as of the verifications completed by the QCTO;
          5. comply with the requirements for submitting verification records as specified by the QCTO;
          6. pay for verification services as per the agreed and signed SLA;
          7. ensure that all requests for verification are compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act, in as far as the learner having given consent for the verification of his/her records.
        1. The QCTO will also take responsibility for reporting cases, where misrepresentation of the qualification is detected to the SAQA for further investigation as required in the NQF Act.9..4.1 The QCTO verification client must submit applicable information should the QCTO or SAQA require additional information with regard to a verification request submitted, in a format determined. by the SAQA and QCTO.
        2. Client requests

          1. The QCTO SLA and Verification Payment Terms and Fee Agreement, signed with the verification client, outlines the requirements and conditions of the service.

            Requests for verifications must be submitted via e-mail to the QCTO verification e-mail address (verification @qcto.orq.za) with a copy of the certificate issued by the authority. The QCTO may also introduce an electronic verification system as required and will prescribe the format in which the information must be submitted for verification.

          2. Under no circumstances, is verification done telephonically or any other way not stipulated in this policy.
          3. The QCTO has the right to amend the format and fields required to do a verification by communicating the requirements within good time to its clients.
  4. Provision of feedback

    1. Feedback with specific results will be forwarded to the client in a format stipulated by the QCTO.The QCTO provides the following outcomes on verification:

      Valid

       

      certificate as attached is valid

      Unconfirmed

      certificate cannot be .confirmed as valid – reason is provided.

      The QCTO may not have a record of the qualification presented and cannot provide feedback; or

      This may result in further investigation and reporting of possible misrepresented record to the SAQA.

      10.2

      If more evidence arid information is required, the client can request the QCTO to issue an affidavit.

      10.3 The QCTO staff are periodically requested and/or subpoenaed to provide expert testimony in court cases and/or disciplinary hearings. Where it is possible to avoid having one of its staff appear in person, the QCTO makes use of an Affidavit in terms of Section 212(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act No 51 of 1977) as amended.

      When an appearance in court is unavoidable, the requesting body is obliged to make appropriate arrangements and cover travel and subsistence for the QCTO staff member, as pre-arranged, for the staff member who is required to testify.

  5. Turnaround time

    1. The QCTO undertakes to provide feedback within 5 working days of receipt of the request, in accordance with the SLA.Should circumstances affect the turnaround time, the QCTO undertakes to advise clients of the delay and to give an indication of when the outcome will be provided.
  6. Verification Type and feedback

    1. The QCTO does only one type of verification for a Trade Certificate i.e. full verification, which requires that the certificate should be presented for verification. For occupational qualifications, part qualifications and skills programmes where the QCTO issued the certificate, an electronic process will be followed without submission of the certificate but this may be requested should the QCTO require further evidence.The QCTO stipulates the requirements for the submission of verification requests from the clients, which also makes provision for the QCTO feedback to the client. The QCTO has identified a range of reasons that can be associated with an unconfirmed response which is provided to the client on each unconfirmed transaction, which is further explained below:

      The following feedback will be supplied for verification:

      12.1.1 Valid

      The judgement “Valid’ is accorded to a verification if there is a complete match: the certificate number and trade, name and surname, date of birth and/or identity number and/or passport number, date tested and date of issue all correspond exactly with the QCTO certification data.

      There are a number of grounds for which the judgement ‘Unconfirmed’ can be accorded. These are identified in the section below:

      Certificate with the number indicated was issued to somebody else Certificate with the number as reflected was used in a certificate to another person. Each certificate is issued with a unique number, which is not duplicated. Certificates issued by the Departments and QCTO have serial numbers.

      When verification is undertaken according to a certificate number, and the database reveals that the said certificate was issued to another party, such a certificate will be listed on the database of possible fraudulent certificates.

      Trade differs

      When a verification evaluation reveals that the certificate presented for verification exists in the person’s name, but has been altered to reflect a different trade the judgement ‘Unconfirmed: Trade Differs’ is accorded. This means that the certificate is indeed made out in the name provided in the verification inquiry, but that the certificate has been altered to reflect a different trade. Such a certificate will be listed on the database of possible fraudulent certificates.

      Change of Act and Section referred to on trade certificate

      When a verification evaluation reveals that the certificate presented for verification exists in the person’s name, but has had the Act and/or Section issued under altered, for example from a Section 28 to a Section 13 under the Manpower Training Act, the judgement ‘Unconfirmed: Act and/or Section altered’ is accorded. This means that the certificate is indeed made out in the name provided in the verification inquiry, but that the certificate has been altered to reflect a different Act and/or Section. Such a certificate will be listed on the database of possible fraudulent certificates.

      When a certificate is verified and it indicates that the surname has been altered, the judgement ‘Unconfirmed: Surname differs’ is accorded.

      Name differs

      When a certificate is verified and it indicates that the name has been altered, the judgement ‘Unconfirmed: Name differs’ is accorded.

      ID/Passport number or Date of Birth differs

      When the information on the request corresponds in all aspects with the information on the QCTO certification database, but there is a discrepancy in the ID/Passport number or Date of Birth, the judgment ‘Unconfirmed: ID/Passport number or Date of Birth differs’ will be accorded to the request.

      Issue date differs

      When the information on the QCTO certification database agrees in all respects with the request, but there is a discrepancy on the date on which the certificate was issued, the judgment ‘Unconfirmed: Issue date differs’ will be accorded to the request.

      Certificate number differs

      When the information supplied in the request agrees in all aspects with the information on the QCTO certification database, but the certificate number does not correspond, the judgment ‘Unconfirmed: Certificate number differs’ will be accorded to the request.

      Possible fraudulent certificate number/certificate number does not exist Should a certificate be submitted for verification and no record can be found on the QCTO certification database for said certificate number, the judgment ‘Unconfirmed: Certificate does not exist’ will be accorded to the request. This might further mean that the number does not correspond to certificate numbers used in the issuing of trade certificates. Such a certificate will be listed on the possible fraudulent certificates database.

      Certificate not issued by Department of Labour/Department of Higher Education and Training or QCTO

      The data does not correspond or does not exist on the QCTO certification database. This will indicate that no record of a certificate issued exists on the database. Such a certificate will be listed on the possible fraudulent certificates database.

      Certificate issued by a SETA/Training Board and cannot be verified by QCTO

      The QCTO cannot verify the certificate and the client should contact the issuing body. The client will be guided by the logo and name of the issuing body on the certificate. No charge will be raised in such instances.

      Certificate not presented for verification – unable to verify record

      As the certificate has not been presented for verification, the QCTO is unable to complete the verification. Such verification requests will not be charged for.

      Confirmation of qualification obtained on basis of trade test report submitted

      The verification client has submitted a copy of a trade test. Based on the trade test report evidence can be found of a certificate having been issued to the person concerned. This will afford a ‘Valid’ feedback, however, the additional reason will be added.

      • Change of Act and/or Section referred to on a Trade Certificate

      • The information on the Certification database indicates that the certificate was issued in terms of a different Act and/or Section of the Act as the case may be.

      • No record found

      • No record can be found on the certification database for the certificate number supplied.

      • Copy of certificate unclear – unable to verify request

      • The copy of the certificate supplied by the verification client is not of sufficient quality for a definitive decision to be made as to the validity of the certificate in all aspects.

      Feedback to a client where the information supplied by the client in the request for verification differs from the information on the supplied certificate

      The following reasons do not necessarily result in a record of misrepresentation and the requester must consider the feedback to make a final decision.

      Name differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be ‘Valid’, however this reason will be supplied where the name supplied by the client on the request document, does not correspond with the information on the certificate. The client must validate that the person identified on the request document is the rightful owner of the certificate.

      Surname differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be ‘Valid’, however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the surname supplied on the request document, does not correspond with the information on the certificate. The client must validate that the person identified on the request document is the rightful owner of the certificate.

      ID number/Date of birth/Passport number differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be ‘Valid’, however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the ID number/Date of birth and/or Passport number supplied on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate. The client must validate that the person identified on the request document is the rightful owner of the certificate.

      Certificate number differs or not valid on the data supplied by the client The response will be ‘Valid’, however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the Certificate Number supplied on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate.

      Issue date differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be ‘Valid’, however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the Issue date indicated on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate.

      Trade differs on data supplied by the client

      The response will be ‘Valid’, however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the Trade indicated on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate.

      Additional reasons may be added as required. Clients will be informed of any such amendments

      No record found

      No record can be found for a certificate presented for verification on the QCTO electronic system or hard copies (verified against certificate information).

      This does not imply that it is a possible misrepresented document. Additional information to support the issuing of the certificate can be presented for further investigation.

      This applies particularly to certificates issued under the Apprenticeshi p Act of 1944, certificates issued by the Homelands and some training boards where information is not available at the QCTO.

      Authentication of Qualification – Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)

      Some embassies require that a certificate must be authenticated and then legalised by DIRCO. Certificates issued by the QCTO are authenticated after certification, on request by a certificate holder and then submitted to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) – Legislation section for legalisation (Apostille/Certificate of Authentication) purposes.

      The QCTO provides specimen signatures of officials that are authorised to sign the letter of authentication to DIRCO in order to ensure validation of such letters; prior to DIRCO making a submission to the respective embassy.

      Applicants are required to submit the request to the Certification Unit directly after payment has been made to the QCTO. The QCTO records the application and provides feedback to the applicant within 3 working days. The applicant is responsible for delivery of the letter of authentication to DIRCO.

      Translation of certificates

      Certificates previously issued in Afrikaans can be translated on request. A transcript in this regard is issued and a copy of the original certificate is attached for verification.

      Verification for other purposes

      The QCTO receives requests from certificate holders for other purposes, such as work visa requirements, evaluation of qualifications by a foreign body etc. Applicants are required to submit the request to the Certification Unit directly after payment has been made to the QCTO. The QCTO records the application and provides feedback to the applicant within 5 working days.

      Should the certification data not be available at the QCTO and must be requested from a SETA or relevant body, the applicant will be informed and the turnaround time is then calculated from the date of receipt of the certificate verification information.

  7. Reporting and invoices to clients

    The QCTO has an approved fee structure with regards to verification and related services. The fee structure is approved on a three-year basis. Verification clients are informed of the fee structure through an official circular.

    The council has the right to amend fees.

  8. Complaints and appeals

    The QCTO will investigate complaints and requests about misrepresentation of qualifications and fraudulent certificates against Service Level Agreement targets as well as the requirements stipulated in the NQF Act and SAQA verification policies.