Practical RARPA

Revisiting the benefits for both accredited & non-accredited learning

“RARPA” (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement) was developed many years ago, as a set of tools and approaches to validate learning within programmes that did not lead to accredited qualification outcome.

The core the approaches for measuring, tracking and evidencing progress and achievement still hold good today, but for many RARPA has been largely forgotten or overlooked. This is unfortunate because the principles of RARPA not only provide immense value within non accredited programmes they also offer significant scope for enhancing learning and quality assurance within accredited programmes too.

This one-day workshop aims to help re-vitalise their use and demonstrate how the principles can deliver benefits within mainstream programmes such as Apprenticeships.

Throughout the day, we will focus upon effective, low burden, ways to work with students to agree targets, goals and objectives, examining how to gather robust evidence and maximise its use within both qualifications and quality assurance. In a day packed full of activities and discussion, participants will experience real creativity, with a wealth of new strategies, resources and approaches to setting SMART aims and objectives looking at the planning of initial, diagnostic, formative and summative objectives. We will discuss approaches to assessment that work through the taxonomy of learning and reflect key learning domains and incorporate self, peer, objective and subjective assessment.

The workshop explores how planning realistic milestones and outcomes with students can help to motivate and engage them into fulfilling their academic requirements. It discusses ways to make the planning, assessment and achievement of course objectives easier. How to support, guide and encourage individual students and help them to achieve their personal goals and contribute effectively to organisational outcomes.

Building on the above, it considers ways to identify and capture, more easily, evidence of learner starting points, progress and competence; evidence that relates closely to assessment criteria; improving robustness for both Internal Quality Assurance and External Quality Assurance.

Throughout the day, delegates will deconstruct the planning process in order to explore practical and realistic methods of identifying and recording what their learners are achieving at every stage, from pre-course interview to qualification achievement. Delegates are encouraged to focus upon learners’ individual needs, consider both self-assessment and peer assessment strategies and place an emphasis upon improving support for all students and at all levels of the curriculum. In addition, the course considers ways to promote the use of technology to enhance and enliven learning, incorporating group work and other activities to develop independent study.

For Whom
This workshop is for all those involved with the teaching or internal quality assurance of learning. It is especially suited to those involved with vocational courses both accredited and non-accredited, including Apprenticeships, Employability, ESOL, Adult and Community Learning.

The workshop also offers benefits to those involved in the observation of teaching.

Aims and Objectives
Participants explore an extended range of strategies for identifying, developing and evidencing student competence by:

  • Taking a more proactive approach to helping learners identify & agree personal objectives
  • Incorporating the taxonomy and domains of learning within the planning process
  • Being more effective in their approach to planning and collecting evidence of competence
  • Planning more appropriately for diverse qualifications, groups and individual students
  • Developing holistic assessment strategies that improve the robustness of quality assurance
  • Improving practice and providing a more thorough quality assurance process
  • Evaluating their own practice & identifying opportunities for improvement


  1. Using RARPA to reinforce the organisation’s internal quality assurance process

Session one explores the evidence trail that makes for a thorough Internal Quality Assurance process. In doing so, delegates explore ways to collect and make best use of robust evidence sources:

  • Unpacking the organisation’s required paperwork and identifying ways to plan for the holistic collection of evidence from the qualifications being delivered.
  • Identification of the key stages in the organisation’s quality assurance processes and the outputs needed, from assessment and programme quality assurance, to meet them
  1. Gathering evidence that meets the needs of the Student and the Awarding Organisation

The second session focuses on ways to develop strategies that create opportunities to gather and present evidence, which reflects the needs of the both the individual student and their Awarding Organisation. It promotes the identification of key aims and personal objectives in learners from initial assessment to qualification achievement.

  • Participants explore how teachers/trainers can deconstruct the overall aims of the course to identify ways in which the needs, opportunities and aspirations of their individual students are includedin the evidence collection planning process.
  • It includes a focus upon self and peer assessment and students taking ownership of personal objectives.
  • Agreeing good practice and approaches to facilitate is a process through which members of staff can confidently create a course that reflects the needs of individual learners whilst fulfilling the aim of the qualifications’ criteria.
  1. Assessment, the Taxonomy and Domains of Learning.

This session allows the delegates the opportunity to revisit the taxonomy and domains of learning through which the process of assessment takes place in order to identify innovative, low burden ways to assess and gather evidence. The session includes:

  • Taking students from lower-level activities to higher-level achievement.
  • Opening up wider assessment opportunities for groups and individuals to create a more inclusive approach to qualification achievement.
  • More creative approaches to assessment that retain individuality
  • Formative and summative assessment activities.
  • The challenges when making objective and subjective assessment decisions.
  • Practical activities and peer discussion to encourage reflection and action planning around new assessment activities that will engage and be beneficial to students.

NB: to maximise the effectiveness of this session participants need to bring an example of assessment processes and related Awarding Organisation criteria with them.

  1. What next?

The final session considers what needs to be done to enable the new approaches and strategies covered to be implemented on return to the classroom and training sessions