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Webinar recap: How Aptem Assess is ideally placed to support your Additional Learning Support (ALS) strategy

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Aptem Assess is a cognitive assessment tool that enables you to seamlessly identify and respond to learning needs. It can form part of the onboarding journey for learners as well as mid-programme assessment. Aptem Assess was created in response to feedback that external systems and lengthy assessments often leave learners with a poor experience and admin teams chasing learners to complete onboarding tasks. Since launching Aptem Assess in 2023, we have expanded its capabilities based on customer feedback and in line with our product development roadmap.

Compliance specialist David Lockhart-Hawkins joined Aptem Product Owner Rachael Stewart for a webinar to discuss the recent enhancements to Aptem Assess and the latest funding rules requirements around identifying Additional Learning Support (ALS) needs. You can watch the webinar on-demand here

Summary from David Lockhart-Hawkins on the latest funding rules requirements around ALS needs 
  • The rules around Additional Learning Support in apprenticeships have remained broadly consistent, except for the requirement of a screening exercise (implemented on 1 August 2023). This exercise should be conducted during the initial assessment process, during which you determine what an apprentice’s programme should look like.  
  • Learning support funding is available to cover the costs of reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 for apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities (as defined in the Education Act) that impact their ability to complete their apprenticeship. 
  • The definition of a learning difficulty or disability in apprenticeships differs slightly from other funding streams. It emphasises significantly greater difficulty in learning or hindrance in using provided facilities.  
  • It’s important to understand that a learning difficulty that exists but does not require reasonable adjustments to the learning design will not be eligible for learning support funding. Learning support funding does not cover everyday difficulties unrelated to the apprenticeship or learning gaps without an identified learning difficulty or disability affecting learning outcomes.
  • Providers must identify the presence of a learning difficulty or disability, demonstrate its impact on the learning programme, and show the necessity of reasonable adjustments for the apprentice’s successful completion, with evidence and regular review of support plans.
David on how Aptem Assess fits within the funding rules 
  • The key addition of the screening exercise will flag potential challenges for an individual trying to achieve an apprenticeship. Providers may look to claim learning support for this activity, and Aptem Assess is one of the tools available to identify potential learning support needs. The screening, which Aptem Assess fulfils from a cognitive perspective, is an activity that can be included within your stated price for the initial assessment, which is an eligible cost.  
  • Aptem Assess provides details of the assessment and potential learning needs, and the learning support resources will provide some components to help alleviate the disadvantages to learners. However, providers will need to plan to deliver those adjustments. Aptem Assess will help evidence that the assessments have been carried out well in addition to providing a copy of the assessment results.  
Summary from Rachel Stewart of recent enhancements made to Aptem Assess functionality  
  • Flexibility in assessment periods: Cognitive assessments can now be assigned to learners at any point during their learning journey, allowing for reassessments as needed. This added functionality is an excellent pathway to identifying learning difficulties that may not have been discovered during initial assessments.  
  • Manual registration and flexibility: Aptem now allows administrators to manually register learners for cognitive assessments, providing flexibility in the onboarding process. This feature aims to enhance learner engagement and prevent false positives by allowing targeted support for learners who genuinely need it. 
  • Introduction of quality scores: A quality score has been introduced to assess learner engagement during the assessment process. On a percentage scale, this score helps administrators identify possible issues with engagement and ensures more accurate assessment outcomes, reducing the burden on learning support teams. For example, abnormal speeds of question completion, repeated selection of the same option, and several incorrect answers in a row are just some of the ways in which the quality scores capture assessment accuracy and help determine whether a reassessment is required.  
  • Categorisation: A learner’s assessment is now classified into one of four categories to make it easier for administrators to prioritise learners with potential support needs. These categories are: No Attention Required; Low Quality – Retake Advised; Advisory – Learning Support Indicated; Priority – Learning Support Indicated. These are calculated using a combination of assessment area results and quality data points.  
  • OData feed: A dedicated data feed for Aptem Assess was introduced to allow the export of historical and current assessment data for learners. This data can be valuable in measuring learner progress and addressing any weaknesses identified during assessment. Aptem shares results for each key area, including indication of support required, overall result, overall quality score, and a new category feature for assessment prioritisation. This addition enables customised reporting and insights tracking throughout the learner’s programme.  
  • Upcoming enhancement – learning support resources: As part of Aptem’s product roadmap, we will offer additional learning support resources for each area of the cognitive assessment. These will be accessible via the Resource Centre, enhancing the platform’s educational resources and ability to support learners with identified learning support needs. 

Interested in learning more about Aptem Assess? 
  • Download the Aptem Assess brochure or watch a short explainer video.

  • If you are already an Aptem customer and are interested in Aptem Assess functionality, please get in touch or contact your Customer Success Manager or email us.

  • About David Lockhart-Hawkins: David is the Managing Director and Principal Consultant for Lockhart Hawkins Limited. He represents a number of the leading stakeholders in the sector as a consultant, playing a significant role in assisting the growth and prosperity of providers through designing and delivering effective and efficient evidence systems, monitoring programmes and insightful strategic development services. These include apprenticeship programme design, compliance monitoring, quality improvement workshops, and webinars on quality and compliance. David’s broad client portfolio includes some of England’s best-known and high-performing Universities, Colleges, Independent Providers and Employer Providers. He is a strategic associate of the Strategic Development Network, for whom he delivers frequent webinars. 

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