Unlocking excellence: The professional recognition scheme for personal tutors

David Grey, UKAT

David Grey, Chief Executive Officier from UKAT on ‘University-wide Initiatives’. This recording is from our 2022 MiniBash community event which was hosted in Birmingham, England. Videos are for educational personnel only and require a live educational email to watch. You can read the video transcript below.


Okay. So thank you. Good morning and thank you for inviting us to talk here today. I hope you still buckled in because this is still going to be a whistle top store.

Whistle stop talk. Get my words right. So Ruth has told us about how Leeds have used PebblePad and how that might have been used for personal tutoring. What I’m gonna tell you about is how we’re using that to support the staff who support students.

So you may not have heard of UKAT. We are a UK higher education association that focuses on enhancing personal tutoring practice We’re also a charitable trust that works in the higher education sector. Whoops.

I’ve managed to blank the screen. So we we have around thirty five institutions in the UK who are members of UK and most of them take part in this scheme that I’m about to tell you all about.

So we at the heart of our efforts to enhance personal tutoring practice, we have a framework, our professional framework for advising and tutoring. And this framework sets out the competencies that we believe personal tutors need to be effective in supporting students to enhance their student success. So this framework builds on and extends advanced age, UK professional standards framework for learning and teaching, and also the national occupational standards for personal tutoring which came out of the FE sector. And the framework has four key key aspects and they are the informational, relational, and professional aspects.

And those are the areas that we expect people to show and demonstrate in the scheme that I’m about to tell you about. So built on top of that, we have our professional recognition scheme and the idea of our professional recognition scheme is to give recognition to those people who are doing personal tutoring well. Who are demonstrating the competencies of the framework. So we we ask personal tutors to present evidence of their practice to show how they demonstrate their skills and it encourages a reflective approach to their continual development.

So this scheme offers three levels of recognition which might be aligned to different levels of their career as a personal tutor. And the intention is to scaffold their development over time and we use an e portfolio model for this. So we ask them to complete an e portfolio with all their evidence and we intentionally chose an e portfolio for two reasons. One because it’s really relevant and and appropriate to what we’re trying to do, but also because as Shane pointed out earlier and as Ruth has pointed out to us, e portfolio is can be really useful in personal tutoring.

Personal tutoring should be a purposeful and intentional process that gets students to look towards their future and their growth and development. And it can be a really great way to help students to tell their own story. Now we know that most academic staff have probably not actually developed an e portfolio of their own, tell their own story. So we’re modeling that for them by getting them to engage with an e portfolio for this process.

And PebblePad because we think it’s the best platform for doing this. So how does this work? Well, We asked staff to complete an e portfolio. We give them a template, a workbook to complete depending on which level of recognition that they are applying for.

And we asked them to present evidence of their practice to map it against the framework, the competencies and the descriptors, and to provide some holistic reflections on their practice in the context of that frame work.

We integrate PebblePad with our open source Canvas LMS and we do that because the Canvas sites that we have provide additional support and guidance to our to our applicants going through the process.

So to give you an idea what that looks like, This is the the template for one of the levels. The workbook for one of the levels and you can see across the top there if I can find there.

See across the top there, there are four drop downs which relate to the four different aspects of the framework. And then under each of those, it’s fairly similar.

We list the different competencies from the framework that they have to demonstrate and we asked them to provide obviously, you know, with the PebblePad features, the supporting evidence and self assess themselves against that particular competency. And then further down the page on each of those, We asked them to give her an holistic reflection on their practice and this has to link back to the scholarship of the field. So I think many academics are not familiar with the fact quite a large body of scholarship around personal tutoring or academic advising as it’s called in other context, and we ask them to actually reflect on that.

In their in their telling their own story. We asked them to list the literature that they’ve used and also to list some action points for their future development going forwards.

So this is the the workbook for one of those levels. The ones for the other levels are similar or they want the one for the highest level, the the leader level. Looks somewhat different and requires much more holistic reflection.

So on the back of all of this, we’ve also built and some custom management features into our website. So applicants registered through our website and through these management features, we look after the whole pro process, and that allows us to register applicants, to track the status of their applications, to assign assessors to the process, and to issue outcomes to our applicants.

The system also issues reminders to learners and assesses at important points to actually engage with their e portfolio or to to complete the assessment and learners can myself manage their application entirely through the website.

Oh, sorry. Yes. I was just gonna put a picture on there. So the assessment process that we operate operates entirely through PebblePad, operates entirely in Atlas.

And this is built and adapted from Edinburgh’s double blind marking process. So we have quite a complex system. It involves four different workspaces inside of Atlas. So there’s the the workspace that the applicant submit to.

So it’s the one on the left hand side there, what we call the level submission workspace.

And the workbox is set to auto submit. So all applicants need to do is actually go on our website and click a button to say it’s ready to be assessed. And then once they tell us it’s ready to be assessed, it moves into an assessment workspace where it’s then independently assessed, blind assessed by two assessors.

Who leave their feedback. When that’s completed, we move into a moderation workspace where they can see each other’s feedback. They negotiate with each other and come to you conclusion, a recommendation and creates some unified feedback to go back to the applicants. And then we have an assessment panel that meets and ratifies all the recommendations after the assessment cycle is completed. So we move the workspaces into that assessment panel workspace, that level of ratification workspace and agree the outcomes and that point then feedback is released back to the applicants through PebblePad and we actually use our management system to issue certificates and digital badges to those who’ve successfully completed and communicate with those who need to do a bit of extra work to resubmit.

And also because this is quite a complex process, there’s there’s quite a few moving parts involved there management system also helps us out with this. So it generates for us a custom list of detailed configuration instructions for each time we go through an assessment cycle. It generates all of the applications in there that need assessed and how we need to move them between the various workspaces and others at various points in time.

And hopefully, Sarah I’ve whistled through that ahead of my ten minutes. So I promised a whistle stop tour and it was. That’s it. Yes.





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