|Policy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific - Conference Proceedings - UNESCO - UNEVOC Regional Conference (RMIT, 1997, 520 p.)|
Achieving consistency - and quality assurance - in the implementation of industry and enterprise TVE standards - the role of 'Evidence Guides' in the assessment process in relation to mutual recognition of workplace performance (competency) standards.
RMIT, MELBOURNE, VICTORIA.
11 - 14 NOVEMBER 1996
EDUCATION AND TRAINING SOLUTIONS 25NAAS CLOSE AMAROO. ACT. 2914 AUSTRALIA.
TEL/FAX + 61 6 241 8012 MOBILE 04 14 41 8012
Acceptance of TVE Qualifications and Mutual Recognition on a Regional Basis
Achieving consistency - and quality assurance - in the implementation of industry and enterprise TVE standards - the role of 'Evidence Guide s' in the assessment process in relation to mutual recognition of workplace performance (competency) standards.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING SOLUTIONS B 25NAAS CLOSE AMAROO. ACT. 2914 AUSTRALIA.
TEL/FAX + 61 6 241 8012 MOBILE 04 1441 8012
In the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) System the policy concerning the development of national industry and enterprise standards has recently been extended to incorporate the inclusion of Evidence Guides for all competency standards submitted for national endorsement. In essence, Evidence Guide s for any given set of standards needs to set out exactly what skills and knowledge constitute evidence for each of the competencies identified as being necessary to perform a job in the workplace.
... what a person must be able to do to perform job 'x', within the context of identified performance criteria and range of variables and under what circumstances/conditions should this be verified.
Evidence Guides can be used for many purposes but in all cases they are a means of achieving consistency and quality assurance in the application of national standards in the workplace.
Evidence Guides, therefore, are considered an important pan of national competency standards especially in relation to the assessment framework in the Australian VET system.
In the context of this UNESCO/UNEVOC regional conference this paper sets out the Australian model of 'evidence collection' in relation to competency standards. It is offered as a starting point for discussion across the representative countries as a means of exploring the possibilities of establishing agreements on a bi-lateral or multi-lateral basis concerning workplace performance standards in industries and enterprises and the appropriate assessment processes that such standards would entail for the many uses to which such standards can be applied.
The implications of such agreement will be the ability to enable reciprocal recognition of workplace standards; comparability of work related skills and training and certification. Such agreement will enhance work related mobility and/or exchanges through the adoption of the processes which facilitate Recognition of Prior [RPL]; Recognition of Current Competencies [RCC] and other issues of work related performance.
NATIONAL COMPETENCY STANDARDS AND EVIDENCE GUIDES - Recognition and Certification
In 1990 The National Training Board (NTB) was established to facilitate the focus of national training processes in the vocational education sector in Australia in order to achieve national recognition of training and certification between the various states. Prior to this time there was a tradition of internal differences between the various states in vocational training that often resulted in wasted resources (both human and monetary); an inconsistency in qualifications and a lack of coordinated national planning in vocational education generally.
The major role of the NTB at that time was, in close consultation with industries, to develop a system whereby these problems could be addressed. What emerged from these initial negotiations was NFROT (the National Framework for the Recognition of Training). This small acronym encapsulated an intricate web of policies that resulted in legislation being passed and implemented by all of the six states and the two territories (Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory - Canberra) that resulted in 8 Acts of agreement on national cooperation in vocational education. In effect, this cleared away many of state differences and was the start of the National Reform Agenda.
The Executive Officers of the NTB, at that time, liaised and negotiated the development of the early national competency standards within the framework established and set down in the Policy and Guidelines. Standards were endorsed by the National Training Board and placed on a national register maintained by the NTB. There have been several standards developed since that time which cover several sectors within industries and also some national enterprise standards.
In response to industry input the national VET sector administration and policy focus was further refined which resulted in the NTB and the curriculum development organisation being subsumed under the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA). Since March this year further restructuring of ANTA has occurred but, in all of this the concept of maintaining national standards has remained.
As with the administration processes, the process of standards development was very dynamic so that the national standards framework that emerged from initial industry consultations has been subject to refinement from time-to-time. Two major inclusions have been the identification of Key Competencies (See Attachment 1 for further information) and the development of an Evidence Guide. This paper focuses on the role of the Evidence Guide in relation to the assessment process within the context of a unit of competency which is usually part of a set of standards(1)
1 The Standards Best Practice Manual sets out development guidelines based on the standards development framework policies. These can be purchased from ANTA, P.O. Box 3120 Brisbane. Qld. 4001.
The Australian national Vocational Education and Training (VET) policy incorporates the use of nationally endorsed competency standards within industries and enterprises. These standards are the basis of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) certification. National competency standards are perceived as the bookends of the whole system
The inclusion of an Evidence Guide in the format of the standards clarifies critical knowledge and skills required to determine competency and assists with the interpretation of the standards. Specifying what constitutes evidence for each unit of competency clarifies how assessment can be reliable, valid and consistent under all assessment events. Applying this concept to a whole set of standards will enable the development of an assessment framework which, with a clearly defined assessment process, will ensure a quality outcome of assessment of national standards.
National competency standards not only provide the basis for the development of training that could occur either on or off the job but are also the benchmark for several other purposes. Achieving consistency and quality outcomes, therefore, is a major endeavour in the Australian VET system.
MAJOR USES OF COMPETENCY STANDARDS
· Course/training development (on & off the job)
· Recognition of prior learning
· Training needs analysis
· Job Description / job specification
· Workplace outcomes - benchmarks
· Recruitment purposes
· Workplace Performance Criteria
- Assessment & Appraisal
- career progression
Because of this central role of national standards in the Australian VET system policies are in place to ensure that national standards are adequately validated and thereby truly represent the industry or enterprise. The scope of validation is, of course, more critical in industry standards where acceptance of standards across an industry necessitates a much wider validation to be undertaken.
The assessment that will ensue from such evidence must be valid and reliable across the industry or its sectors, as applicable.
Format of a unit of competency within the national standards framework. [See Attachment 1 for further information]
UNIT TITLE: The title of a general area of competency
UNIT DESCRIPTOR: Optional, assists with clarifying the unit title
Describe outcomes which contribute to a unit
Specify the required level of performance
RANGE STATEMENTS (RANGE OF VARIABLES)
Range of contexts and conditions to which the performance criteria apply
assists with interpretation and assessment of the unit
The Evidence Guide
Issues to be considered in an Evidence Guide:(2)
2 More detailed descriptions of these issues and relevant examples are included in the Standards Best Practice Manual, Section 3.
As part of a unit of competency the purpose of an Evidence Guide is to guide assessment of the unit of competency in the workplace and/or a training programme.
Each Unit of Competency has an Evidence Guide which relates directly to the Performance Criteria and Range of Variables in relation to:
1. Critical aspects of evidence to be considered
2. Interdependent assessment of units
3. Underpinning knowledge
4. Underpinning skills
5. Resource implications
6. Consistency in performance
7. Context of assessment
8. Key Competencies
1. Critical aspects of evidence to be considered
The critical aspects of a competency relate to some particular knowledge or skill/s that are essential to performance.
2. Interdependent assessment of units
Units of competency are discrete components of a standard but, where it is considered that there are assessment relationships between units, this needs to be stated in the Evidence Guide.
3. Underpinning knowledge
Underpinning knowledge relates directly to the Elements and Performance Criteria of a competency It is the essential knowledge and understanding a person needs to perform work to the required standard.
4. Underpinning Skills
Underpinning skills are similar to underpinning knowledge, but less common. Critical skills are normally an integral part of the competency and are explicitly set out. They also may be spelt out by indicating interdependent units. However, there may be legitimate underpinning skills to be placed in the Evidence Guide.
5. Resource Implications
Assessment will have a resource implication which will need to be carefully considered by the standards developers. Validation of the standards will require consultation with training providers and State & Territory authorities in this respect.
6. Consistency in Performance
Consideration in determining methods of assessment include whether it is necessary to assess a competency more than once and/or over a period of time in order to establish consistency in performance.
7. Context of Assessment
Assessment may take place in the workplace, off the job or a mix of both of these. The Evidence Guide will indicate how a focused and consistent assessment of a unit can be achieved. It would also indicate the potential to use simulation.
8. Key Competencies
It is a requirement that for each unit, each Key Competency is identified at one of the 3 Key Competency performance levels.
Standards developers need to consider the underpinning relationships of the Key Competencies to the unit of competency as a whole. It is understood that not every Key Competency may be present in every unit. Care needs to be taken in clarifying such relationships.
An Evidence Guide should capture the essence of the competency. The explicit detail is identified in the Elements, Performance Criteria, Range of Variables. In the past, implicit knowledge and skills have either not been included or assessors have expected unrealistic knowledge to be applied - above the level of the employee/student concerned.
Remember, the Evidence Guides, like the rest of the standards, have been developed and agreed to by an industry or an enterprise and this ensures that what IS critical to a skill/job function in the work place is captured for assessment purposes.
How this assessment is undertaken will depend on the assessment guidelines (this framework should emerge from the Evidence Guide). What ever assessment tools are used, it is the ability of the person being assessed to perform to the standards that is critical. Assessment processes is another pan of the whole VET system and includes issues such as on-the-job assessment vs. simulation, acceptance of portfolios, record books, skills passports, oral or written examinations/testing or any other agreed 'evidence'.
In summary, the issues that relate to Qualifications and Mutual Recognition of TVE - on a Regional Basis would need to develop agreement concerning:
· workplace competency standards
· What constitutes Evidence for a related set of standards
· What constitutes validity and integrity of the assessment process
· Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
· Recognition of Current Competencies (RCC)
Since these are all very complex issues of themselves and are further complicated by the fact that every industry would need to deal with them in a different context a useful method of initiating discourse within the region, in the first instance, would best be undertaken at an industry level. This has already happened in the Communication Industry - the telecommunication sector.
There is no better forum to instigate such co-operation than this UNESCO/UNEVOC Conference, right here in Melbourne.
In consultation with industry, Key Competencies have been identified as being essential for effective participation in emerging patterns of work and work organisation. They focus on the capacity to apply knowledge and skills in an integrated way in work situations and they prepare students/trainees for effective participation in further education, training and adult life. The generic nature of Key Competencies ensures that they are transferable from one job to another. The Key Competencies are:
1. Collecting, analysing and organising information
2. Communicating ideas and information
3. Planning and organising activities
4. Working with others and in teams
5. Using mathematical ideas and techniques
6. Solving problems
7. Using technology
Brief description of levels of Key Competencies
· carries out established
· manages processes
· establishes principles and
Units of Competency terminology description
identifies the unit of competency using an 'action' verb so as to specify what is expected of an employee in the work place rather than the learning process, the required outcome.
clarifies the unit title and purpose.
these are directly related to the Unit of Competency.
these are expressed with precision and include an evaluative component.
Range of Variables:
these statements identify the context of the Unit of Competency and assist in interpreting the standards.
Evidence Guide - as described above