BRITE Trainees and DSA Needs Assessments

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Following on from a series of conversations with senior staff at the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), here is clarification regarding the arrangements for BRITE trainees who are required to conduct needs assessments under supervision of a qualified needs assessor/mentor during their pre-qualification phase.

Since the introduction in March 2010 of the new guidance from Scottish Government on the implementation of the Toolkit Validated Centres, it has been agreed that needs assessments for the purposes of DSA will only be accepted by SAAS from assessors (a) working for an Access Centre, (b) employed in an institutional assessment centre which has been validated through the Scottish Government DSSG Toolkit Validation process or (c) in training for the Professional Development Award in Needs Assessment through the BRITE Initiative.   Once a BRITE mentee graduates, and becomes a fully fledged Needs Assessor, it has been agreed that s/he must then be operating either in an Access Centre or in a Validated Institution in order to have his/her assessment reports accepted by SAAS.

As part of their course, every BRITE trainee is required (by SQA) to conduct a minimum of nine assessments during their Module 4 training phase, to demonstrate their professional competence/skills.  In this phase, it is vital that trainees have the opportunity to conduct needs assessments in support of students’ applications to SAAS for DSA. 

BRITE accepts the rationale introduced this year – that all qualified assessors should only be working under the framework/quality assurance/protection of a validated organisation (as summarised above).  We also agree with the precept that there should be evidence of institutional commitment to providing an inclusive, quality assured service, which means that even those who employ one or more BRITE accredited needs assessors still need to seek validated centre status. 

The reassuring news is that BRITE has received confirmation from SAAS that needs assessment reports from BRITE trainees, under the supervision of BRITE mentors, will continue to be accepted in support of students’ applications for DSA.

One thought on “BRITE Trainees and DSA Needs Assessments

  1. I think there is an issue with the new system as outlined above. The above criteria are right and good, but how can a student in a remote area be expected to pay their own travel to have an assessment in an Access Centre? I feel that if SAAS makes these stipulations, there needs to be money provided to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for students to access the assessment. In some cases, this would also mean travel costs and accommodation for someone to accompany the student.

    I think since this system was implemented in March ’10, remote students have been disadvantaged because of the cost in time and/or money to travel for assessment. Students in remote places are chosing not to apply, not because they don’t need a DSA, but because they cannot face the travel or the cost. In these times of cuts, the remote colleges cannot be expected to fund this additional cost and I would argue that this should not come out of discretionary funds when this is out of the regular remit of this fund and other colleges do not have to carry this cost.

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