02 SES 14 B, Competency Based Learning and Assessment in VET
Countries are increasingly using learning outcomes-based approaches with a view to generating trust and to supporting the relevance of qualifications for the labour market and individuals. It is a key element of this approach that learners are assessed against a set of clear reference points, expressed in terms of learning outcomes. Learning outcomes in this context are understood as statements of what a learner knows, understands and is able to do on completion of a learning process.
It is expected that the shift to learning outcomes-based approaches will have an impact on assessment procedures in the medium to long run, supporting the quality and relevance of qualifications. However, current evidence also suggests that learning outcomes so far have limited impact on the ways in which learning is assessed.
This makes it particularly interesting to study how education and training institutions carry out their assessment procedures in practice, and the settings and arrangements in place to ensure that the assessment carried out complies with the set requirements.
The quality assurance of assessment very frequently refers to principles or characteristics such as validity and reliability that have to be achieved. Focusing on ‘practice-oriented assessment’, Stenström et al (2006) have identified the following set of characteristics: validity, reliability, objectivity, transparency, equity, and fairness. Validity in the context of assessment ensures that assessment methods, materials and instruments measure as precisely as possible the intended learning outcomes and that evidence fully supports the assessment. Reliability is about whether the same assessment results can be obtained in different cases (e.g. in relation to context, time, assessors or assessment tasks) (Cedefop, 2015).
The above mentioned increased focus on outcome-oriented approaches stems to a considerable extent from EU-level initiatives, such as EQF and EQAVET. EQAVET is the European reference framework for quality assurance in VET. EQAVET is not a quality assurance system, but rather a meta-framework for quality assurance. It invites countries to promote and monitor continuous improvement in their VET systems, through the use of a quality assurance and improvement cycle based on four phases (Planning, Implementation, Evaluation and Review), which are linked to quality criteria and indicative descriptors. The learning outcomes approach is central to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), which is a common European reference framework acting as a translation device to make qualifications acquired within the different education and training systems in Europe more readable and understandable.
This paper focuses on the application of the learning outcomes approach in assessment of learning in vocational education and training. The main research question is: "How does the learning outcomes approach contribute to achieving valid, objective and reliable assessment of learning in vocational education and training?"
The objective of the research undertaken is to find out how VET institutions assure the quality of their assessment procedures by applying the learning outcomes approach in practice. The principal aims include: to explore in more detail the different tools used as well as the challenges faced by institutions in order to make their assessment procedures more valid, objective and reliable.
Bifie (2012). Standardisierte kompetenzorientierte Reifeprüfung / Reife- und Diplomprüfung. Grundsatzpapier BMUKK (2012). Information abschließende Prüfungen an Höheren Lehranstalten, Fachschulen (inkl. Aufbaulehrgängen), Kollegs für Tourismus, Wirtschaftliche Berufe, Mode, Künstlerische Gestaltung, Sozialberufe, Höhere Land- u. Forstwirtschaftl. Schulen. BMUKK (2012). Kompetenzorientiertes Unterrichten an berufsbildenden Schulen. Grundlagenpapier. Stand Juli 2012. 5. Auflage. Cedefop (2010). Learning outcomes approaches in VET curricula. A comparative analysis of nine European countries. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Cedefop (2012). Curriculum reform in Europe: the impact of learning outcomes. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Confebask (2004). Manual del Instructor de Empresa – Formación en Centros de Trabajo. Bilbao Dufaux, Stefanie (2012). Assessment for Qualification and Certification in Upper Secondary Education. A review of country practices and research evidence. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 83, OECD Publishing. Cedefop (2015). Ensuring the quality of certification in vocational education and training. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Cedefop research paper; No 51. http://dx.doi.org/10.2801/25991 European Commission (2011). Using Learning Outcomes. European Qualifications Framework Series: Note 4 Höhere Lehranstalten für Tourismus und Hotelfachschulen/ Stadtschulrat Wien (n/a). Handreichung zur Organisation und Durchführung der fachpraktischen Klausuren.(not published) MODUL tourism VET college (n/a) Prüfungsprotokoll. Vorprüfung zur Reifeprüfung Höhere Lehranstalt für Tourismus. (not published) MODUL tourism VET college (2014a). Vorprüfung zur Reife- und Diplomprüfung. Höhere Lehranstalt für Tourismus. 4HLA. Praktische Klausurarbeit im Fachgebiet Service- Haupttermin 2013/14. (not published) MODUL tourism VET college (2014b). Vorprüfung zur Reife- und Diplomprüfung. Höhere Lehranstalt für Tourismus. 4HLA. Praktische Klausurarbeit im Prüfungsgebiet Küche - Haupttermin 2013/14. (not published) MODUL tourism VET college (n/a.) Beurteilungsblatt Küche. Prüfungsprotokoll - Vorprüfung zur Reifeprüfung - Diplomprüfung. (not published) MODUL tourism VET college (n/a). Kriterien der Leistungsbeurteilung im praktischen Gegenstand Küchenorganisation & Kochen (KOKO) an den Tourismusschulen MODUL der Wirtschaftskammer Wien. Höhere Lehranstalt 1. Jahrgang. National Europass Center (n/a): Certificate Supplement. Reife- und Diplomprüfungszeugnis der Höheren Lehranstalt für Tourismus. QIBB (n/a): Bundesweite Qualitätsschwerpunkte an den humanberuflichen Schulen. Stenström, M.-L.; Laine, K. (eds.) (2006a). Quality and Practice in Assessment: New Approaches in Work-Based learning. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylä University Press. Stenström, M.-L.; Laine, K. (eds) (2006b). Towards Good Practices for Practice-Oriented Assessment in European Vocational Education. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylä University Press.
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