Victoria Mansfield

Diagnostic testing of occupational competence


I'm looking at P23.3 in the draft rules for 2022/23. Does anyone have any examples of diagnostic testing of occupational competence? I'm wondering how it differs from a skills-scan of competence against the KSBs of the standard. Thanks! :)


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Ooh, good spot, I'd missed that little bit. 

Interestingly, the para in the evidence says:

diagnostic testing of occupational competence and diagnostic testing of 
English and maths prior attainment (where relevant); 
P322.3.1 the results of the skills scan, and the diagnostic testing 
(where relevant), must evidence that the individual 
requires significant new knowledge, skills, and behaviours 
in order to be occupationally competent in their job role; 

So, I'm guessing, outside of really niche things, it's not relevant and that we'd just be doing it off the skills-scan?

Martin West

Skills scan

A skills scan is an assessment of the individual’s knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs), as they relate to the apprenticeship standard. We are not prescriptive as to what tool or method is used for the skills scan, but it must evaluate and document the extent to which the individual meets each KSB, and therefore which elements of the standard do not need to be re-taught. The assessment should be validated as accurate by the individual’s line manager / employer.

Diagnostic testing / diagnostic assessment

A diagnostic assessment is a form of pre-assessment where tutors can evaluate strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and skills before their instruction. An identical assessment may be given post-instruction to identify if course learning objectives have been met.

A skills scan is normally completed by the applicant as per the following example.

But diagnostic testing/assessment is carried out by the provider to establish the actual extent of the SKB that the applicant demonstrates.


Victoria Mansfield

Ah thanks both! So, it sounds like the 'where relevant' get-out clause might only apply to maths and English, not occupational competency...

Designing diagnostic testing to capture competency against 40-50 KSBs in time for new starts on 1st August seems quite a tall order, but I suppose they'd say this is why they're now including it as something we can include in our costs (even though the funding bands haven't changed and it's harder to charge a top-up if I'm reading P97 correctly).


Sophie Lampert

It's the phrase "where relevant" which is throwing me. Who decides where it is relevant? This will be a huge piece of work which we may find out to be NOT relevant.. Some clearer guidance required from the ESFA on this one I feel.

Martin West

Relevance would be where the skills scan alone would be insufficient to ‘evidence that the individual requires significant new knowledge, skills, and behaviours, then further diagnostic testing/assessment would be required.