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Assessment is a difficult process – we understand this and have developed a range of assessment kits, such as this, to facilitate a painless process for both the assessor and the learner being assessed.

There are a number of characteristics of assessment, ranging from subjective assessment (which is based on opinions and feelings), to objective assessment (which is based clearly on defined processes and specific standards).  Nearly all assessment involves a mixture of both types of assessment because it is almost impossible to eradicate the subjectivity humans carry into the process of assessing.  The goal in developing and implementing these assessment kits is to work towards the objective end as far as possible and to reduce the degree of opinions and feelings present.

What is competency based assessment

The features of a competency based assessment system are:

a) It is focused on what learners can do and whether it meets the criteria specified by industry as competency standards.

b) Assessment should mirror the environment the learner will encounter in the workplace.

c) Assessment criteria should be clearly stated to the learner at the beginning of the learning process.

d) Assessment should be holistic.  That is it aims to assess as many elements and/or units of competency as is feasible at one time.

e) In competency assessment a learner receives one of only two outcomes – competent or not yet competent.

f) The basis of assessment is in applying knowledge for some purpose.  In a competency system, knowledge for the sake of knowledge is seen to be ineffectual unless it assists a person to perform a task to the level required in the workplace.

g) The emphasis in assessment is on assessable outcomes that are clearly stated for the trainer and learner.  Assessable outcomes are tied to the relevant industry competency standards where these exist.  Where such competencies do not exist, the outcomes are based upon those identified in a training needs analysis.

Definition of competency

Assessment in this context can be defined as:

a) The fair, valid, reliable and flexible gathering and recording of evidence to support judgement on whether competence has been achieved. Skills and knowledge (developed either in a structured learning situation, at work, or in some other context) are assessed against national standards of competence required by industry, rather than compared with the skills and knowledge of other learners.

The basic principles of assessing nationally recognised training 

Developing and conducing assessment, in an Australian vocational education and training context, is founded on a number of basic conventions:

The principles of assessment

a) Assessment must be valid.

b) Assessment must include the full range of skills and knowledge needed to demonstrate competency.

c) Assessment must include the combination of knowledge and skills with their practical application.

d) Assessment, where possible, must include judgements based on evidence drawn from a number of occasions and across a number of contexts.

Assessment must be reliable

a) Assessment must be reliable and must be regularly reviewed to ensure that assessors are making decisions in a consistent manner.

b) Assessors must be trained in national competency standards for assessors to ensure reliability.

Assessment must be flexible

a) Assessment, where possible, must cover both the on and off-the-job components of training within a course.

b) Assessment must provide for the recognition of knowledge, skills and attitudes regardless of how they have been acquired.

c) Assessment must be made accessible to learners though a variety of delivery modes, so they can proceed through modularised training packages to gain competencies.

Assessment must be fair and equitable

a) Assessment must be equitable to all groups of learners.

b) Assessment procedures and criteria must be made clear to all learners before assessment.

c) Assessment must be mutually developed and agreed upon between assessor and the assessed.

d) Assessment must be able to be challenged.  Appropriate mechanisms must be made for reassessment as a result of challenge.




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