When is assessment a personal interest?

I have spent the morning flicking through the Guidance to the General Conditions of Recognition (July 2016) for Awarding Organisations by Ofqual and one thing within it jumped out to me that surely affects every SME training provider and indeed every AO out there!!!

It is listed within the guidance on Condition A4 – Conflict of Interests.  Interests in assessment particularly A4.5 “An awarding organisation must take all reasonable steps to avoid any part of the assessment of a learner (including by way of Moderation) being undertaken by any person who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment”

Surely we all have a personal interest in the result of the assessment, particularly if it is one of quality provision and seeing learners achieve?  We certainly all have a personal interest in financial terms as we all in 99% of cases I am sure get paid for delivering our training and assessment.

For the moment, I will set aside financial gain.  I fully concur the personal interest when it relates to family members and close friends, I for one would avoid being the assessor or IQA for either of these for pretty obvious reasons and would expect a fellow professional to act in similar manner!   Now let’s look more closely at financial gain.  What is financial gain?  In simple lay terms a financial gain is the receipt of payment for something.  In this case then everyone in the so called supply chain connected to the delivery of training and assessment receives a financial gain.  Do we all have a personal interest in the results, simple answer is yes!!

Criteria A4.6 states “Where, having taken all such reasonable steps, an assessment by such a person cannot be avoided, the awarding organisation must make arrangements for the relevant part of the assessment to be subject to scrutiny by another person”

My first thought was this was a stupid criteria, then I got thinking, no it isn’t really it only becomes a stupid criteria when looked at by an idiot! The use of the word reasonable is very much one open for discussion.  Using it in an educational context it is having sound judgement, fair and sensible or as much as is appropriate or fair.

I would really like to hear from my contacts out there in training providers, awarding organisations their thoughts in this.