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Recording an Audit Trail

Referencing and recording of evidence is a vital part of assessment and quality assurance. It is only with clear and robust referencing and recording that we can have a high level of confidence in assessment decisions. Making sound assessment decisions alone is not enough – a relationship between the evidence and the assessment standard must be established to validate competence against the standards. an Audit Trail helps the Assessor [►The Assessor's Role ], the Candidate, the Internal Verifier (IV) and the External Verifier (EV).

This process of assessment and verification (internal and external) cannot function without some form of referencing, as referencing allows the assessor (or the candidate) to make claims of competence against PIs and Knowledge and also for IVs/EVs to follow the assessment decisions that have been made. If referencing is absent or weak, it is very difficult for an assessor to justify assessment decisions in the event that assessor and IV/EV are in disagreement. This is because there will be a lack of clarity on the rationale for the assessment decision(s). Ultimately the IV/EV must have confidence in the assessment decisions that have been made, therefore the onus must be on the learner/assessor to be clear about the rationale for what claims are being made i.e. what evidence relates to which PIs and Knowledge.

It is strongly recommended that referencing is done in a way that identifies the location within the evidence where PIs and Knowledge are claimed (e.g. by recording PI and Knowledge numbers within the evidence at the point they occur, or at the side of the page next to it). If this is not done (e.g. PIs and Knowledge are annotated only at the top or foot of the page) this could lead to a scenario where that evidence is being independently re-assessed by the IV or EV which is assessment, not verification, and is more time consuming for all concerned and more likely to lead to discrepancies.

It is acknowledged that referencing in this way is not always possible - some E-Portfolios are not conducive to this approach - and there are some PIs and Knowledge that are more holistic in nature and not easily pinpointed to one place. However, assessors should make every effort to provide clarity as to which areas of evidence relate to which PIs and Knowledge.

For most forms of evidence, e.g. Personal Statements, Work Products, Witness Testimonies etc. the candidate can be asked to do the referencing themselves to reduce the onus on the assessor. This can also help focus candidates with the examples and types of evidence they need to provide, however the assessor should double-check the claims.

Examples of good practice in referencing can be found throughout this guidance. The ‘Evidence Appendix’ section contains all examples of evidence within this site.