Understanding RARPA

Understanding and Applying RARPA, stages 1-5, Effectively, a one-day training course

This highly practical and participative hands on course looks at each of the first 5 stages of the RARPA, demonstrating, with examples and case studies, on how each stage actually works and how they work as part of the organisation’s ongoing improvement cycle.

The first 5 stages of the RARPA tool are directly related to planning, delivering and reviewing learning programmes, stages 6-8 relate to quality assuring RARPA programmes and are covered in a related workshop.

“RARPA” (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement) was developed several years ago, as a set of tools and approaches to validate learning 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; but also because they offer significant scope for enhancing learning and quality assurance within accredited programmes too.

For Whom
This workshop is for all those involved with the planning, delivery and internal quality assurance processes within the organisation.

It is especially suited to those involved non-accredited provision but also has relevance and within accredited learning programmes.

Aims and Objectives

  • To provide an effective understanding of the first 5 stages of the RARPA process
  • To highlight good and effective practice for each of these stages
  • To identify a variety of approaches to evidence gathering and providing personalised learner guidance
  • To demonstrate ways that RARPA can be applied effectively across the provision in order to encourage precision target setting and strengthen planning, delivery and the review of processes within the organisation

Aims and Objectives

  • To provide an effective understanding of the first 5 stages of the RARPA process
  • To highlight good and effective practice for each of these stages
  • To identify a variety of approaches to evidence gathering and providing personalised learner guidance
  • To demonstrate ways that RARPA can be applied effectively across the provision in order to encourage precision target setting and strengthen planning, delivery and the review of processes within the organisation

Content
The workshop explores the first 5 stages of the RARPA process whilst exploring an extended range of strategies for identifying, developing and evidencing student competence. In doing so it considers ways to:

  • Take a more proactive approach to helping learners identify & agree personal objectives
  • Take into consideration key aspects of the taxonomy and domains of learning when planning learning outcomes
  • Incorporate the aspirations of the individual learners as well as local needs when identifying programme targets
  • Plan more appropriately for diverse qualifications, groups and individual students
  • Developing holistic assessment strategies that allow for the sharing of evidence and achievement across the organisation

Throughout the day, delegates consider 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. 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.

  1. RARPA stages 1-5

1.1: Stage 1 – Setting goals in line with local and community aims
Identifying and agreeing and goals, aims and objectives that are appropriate to the community needs as well as those of each individual learner.

Within this session we focus on how teachers and trainers can unpack the overall aims of the provision in order to identify ways in which the needs, opportunities and aspirations of their individual students are met, records kept and included in the evidence collection planning process.

The learning is contextualised by referencing and relating to the key elements of stage 1 of the RARPA process notably, to ensure that:

  • Accurate and understandable information for students and stakeholders
  • Student involvement, discussion and agreement
  • Enduring Stretch and Challenge
  • Students’ longer term goals are established and met
  • Organisational requirements are met

We also take the opportunity to discuss and evaluate current practice and for peers to share personal experiences including potential barriers and future good practice

1.2: Stage 2 – Initial Assessment
Establishing the students’ starting point.

Within this session we review current practice and consider improvements which will allow staff to establish current learner knowledge and skills in order to craft agreed learner-defined starting points that are both cohesive to community needs and practical to implement

The learning is contextualised by referencing and relating to the key elements of stage 2 of the RARPA process notably, to ensure:

  • Students’ own views, ambitions and assessment of their own needs and choices are pivotal and recorded.
    • tests and assessments
    • ILPs
    • Records of discussion and QA observations
  • Initial assessment is fit for purpose
  • Students are aware of and have access to information and guidance
  • The initial assessment process is reviewed and improved in response to student needs and feedback and that this leads to enhanced progress and achievement.

1.3: Stage 3 – Target Setting
Identifying and agreeing appropriately challenging learning objectives.

Within this session we place emphasis on how to take a more proactive approach to helping students identify and agree personal objectives. It also provides an opportunity to revisit the taxonomy of learning through which the process of assessment takes place in order to identify innovative, low burden ways to assess and gather evidence from individual learners whilst:

  • Opening up wider assessment opportunities which identify a range of diverse skills within groups and individuals to create a more inclusive approach to qualification achievement.
  • Identifying creative approaches to assessment that retain individuality and acknowledge personal goals whilst providing challenges to learners
  • Acknowledging the need of learners to be involved in the setting of objectives and agreeing assessment decisions.
  • Evaluating practical activities and peer discussion which would encourage reflection and action planning around new assessment activities thus becoming part of the wider improvement cycle.

The learning is contextualised by referencing and relating to the key elements of stage 3 of the RARPA process notably, to ensure:

  • Initial assessment informs programme planning and setting of challenging objectives.
  • Objectives, goals and target are student centred & expressed in student-friendly language.
  • Targets genuinely help students move towards their overall goals
  • The importance of short, medium and longer-term targets.
  • Responsibility for setting, reviewing, renegotiating and revising students’ targets and for monitoring progress is shared across the provision.
  • Students involvement in setting, reviewing amending targets to reflect change
  • Students use knowledge and skills gained to make personal plans for development.
  • Keeping records
    1. ILPs with targets made clear
    2. learner reviews and reports
    3. Teacher/trainer records including session plans.
    4. Records of discussions with students, teachers, support staff, managers and others

1.4: Stage 4 -Tracking & Assessing

Recognition and recording of progress and achievement during programme formative assessment including teacher feedback to learners, learner reflection, progress reviews.

Within this session emphasis is placed upon organisational and local requirements. We will discuss when and how to provide feedback, how to move forward with the feedback in a way which encourages the learner and allows other staff to identify individual achievements along with reviewing it’s impact upon the learner as they move forward.

The learning is contextualised by referencing and relating to the key elements of stage 4 of the RARPA process notably, to ensure:

  • A robust process exists, across the organisation, to gather and use data effectively to support the student
  • Evidence of learning is clearly recorded and referenced to the student’s targets.
  • Evidence is presented in a way that is understandable and meaningful to the student and stakeholders
  • Any ‘unplanned’ learning and achievement is acknowledged and recorded.
  • Students get feedback on their work and achievements towards their targets and are informed of what they need to do to progress further.
  • Regular progress reviews take place with the students so their changing needs can be met and where appropriate their parents/carers can be involved in the process.
  • That progress reviews improve teachers practice.
  • That progress reviews help students to achieve more.
  • That students’ feedback clearly affects the teaching and learning that takes place in the college.
  • Accurate and reliable records are maintained

1.5: Stage 5 – Final Assessment & Evidencing
End of Programme student self-assessment; tutor summative assessment; review of overall progress and achievement

Within this session we focus on ways to develop strategies that create opportunities to gather and present evidence, which reflects the need to create bespoke, locally relevant training.

The learning is contextualised by referencing and relating to the key elements of stage 5 of the RARPA process notably, to ensure precision target-setting in final assessment and evidence collection:

  • Summative assessment and review procedures include students and they have joint ownership of the process.
  • That the end-of-programme review process
    • is focused on the students
    • uses diverse methods of communication that are relevant and appropriate
    • ensures the full participation of all students
  • Summative assessments reflect students’ targets and provide reviews of progress and evidence of achievement that is meaningful to students and stakeholders
  • That all achievements are celebrated.
  • That there is evidence that all learning programmes:
      • Meet students aspirations
      • Help students to develop personal, social and employability skills that will help them towards greater independence.
  • That every student understands their own achievements
  • That student feedback informs future planning.
  • That destination data (where the students go next) is gathered and used to inform the providers’ Self-Assessment Report.
  • That the outcomes of Stage 5 of the RARPA process are carefully reviewed and that actions are taken to improve practice, student progress, achievement and progression.
  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