There’s probably no surprise that sooner or later someone would bring up Assessment as a challenge in VET.
Audit results show it as a number one issue, anecdotal evidence shows it as a number one issue, and the number of forums, webinars and other PD offerings available and dedicated to explaining assessment-related concepts, show it as a number one issue.
A number of reasons, I’m sure. However, I’m not entirely sure that I agree assessment per se is the issue.
Over the years, the recruitment rounds and the many requests for rectification help, I would say that one of the biggest issues the VET sector has is the expectations associated with assessment.
The expectation of VET – whether it’s driven by financial position, level of resourcing, tradition, or something else – that assessors are to design and develop assessment tools to use in the assessment process, is, in my opinion, shoving people into boxes for which they are not necessarily suited.
Without a doubt, the tools for use during the assessment process must be of a certain calibre, otherwise, we run the risk of having ill-prepared and inadequately qualified people educating our children, cutting our hair, building our infrastructure, servicing our cars and caring for our elderly…. (You get the drift).
The terrible trouble that I think is plaguing our sector is that we seem to be expecting one professional (trainer/assessor) to be an expert in a totally different profession (instructional design), and are not recognising the specific skill set involved in writing, let alone writing assessments.
I believe it is unfair and short-sighted of the powers-that-be in our sector to marry the TAEASS502 unit with an entry-level trainer/assessor credential. The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment should focus on the delivery of learning and assessment of that learning without expecting holders of the credential to be experts in the design and development of assessment tools. In fact, I would argue that the TAEASS502 does not guarantee expert assessment developers either… It is a very specific skill set to develop assessments that meet unit requirements. And it is a very specific skill set that focuses on providing the tools required to allow our awesome trainers and assessors to continue being awesome at what they are awesome at, and presumably, have been employed to do; train and assess others in the vocational area in which they have expertise.
Although only one aspect of the challenge is ‘assessment’, I believe that a commitment to providing professional tools for use by professional tradespeople (trainers/assessors) can only do our sector the world of good – and reduce the number of challenges by one.
Published 25 November 2019
Join the discussion of this and other Challenges at the VET PD Group – Community of Practice.
Michelle Charlton is the Principal of VET PD Group. Michelle currently works with her team to offer specialised VET and RTO services, through resource development, validation services, and VET professional development opportunities.