02 SES 07 B, Assesment Of Competences: Analyses Of Diverse Practices
Parallel Paper Session
To design VET programs we have to consider at least two questions: (1) which skills and competencies should graduates have gained by the end of a program and (2) how are these to be measured and certified? From a scientific perspective researchers are interested in empirical findings concerning the „true“ structure of professional competencies. Taking a political point of view, knowledge about the structure and the comparability of competencies is, furthermore, a decisive prerequisite concerning the preparation of a European large-scale assessment on VET. Contributing to this endeavour, the present study describes how competencies are currently operationalized and measured in the German VET system – particularly for the economic domain. For this purpose, final examinations for industrial managers were analysed.
The contents in the fields of VET are very specific – not only regarding the heterogeneity between different countries. On the national level situational requirements vary across different professions (Baethge, Arends, &Winther, 2009) and even across certain work-place-related specifics (Billett, 2006). While compulsory education can refer to a common curriculum of basic competencies, such as literacy or numeracy, which determine a common competency-structure, the structure of competencies in the field of VET varies to a larger extend in content and therefore appears to be more complex. Currently existent are numerous theories about the structure of professional competencies, e.g. in the form of a subdivision into cognitive dimensions (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) or into domain-specific and domain-linked competencies (Winther & Achtenhagen, 2008). Uncertainty about the structure of competencies casts international comparisons into doubt and is one reason why binding international agreements concerning consistent competency standards have not been reached yet. Another reason is the absence of sufficiently adequate instruments to measure the different competency structures in terms of reliability.
The primary instrument of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry to assess the competencies of industrial managers is the final examination at the end of the vocational training. The test consists of several parts of which the most important in terms of processing time and weighing is the section “business processes”. This test-component is particularly constructed to measure action competency by operationalizing the concept into three mutually exclusive process dimensions (“planning”, “executing” and “monitoring”). Besides this procedural structure there are four content-domains an item can be categorised in (“marketing”, “acquisition”, “human resource management” and “production and operations management”) yielding a matrix-like structure that depends on the procedural dimension as well as on the specific content of a domain.
Within the study n = 1768 final examinations were analysed concerning the question if and to what extend empirical reasoning can be found for the postulated structure-model and therefore how valid it can be considered for the assessment of action competency. Further the accuracy of the test was examined. Based on the empirical results it should be discussed to what extend the German instrument of assessment can be considered qualified in terms of validity and reliability with regard to a classification of commercial education within the European Qualification Framework.
Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing. A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Springer. Baethge, M., Arends, L., & Winther, E. (2010). International Large-Scale Assessment on Vocational and Occupational Education and Training. Oser, F. K., Renold, U., John, E. G., Winther, E., Weber, S. (2010). VET boost: Towards a theory of professional competencies, Essays in honour of Frank Achtenhagen. Rotterdam: Sense. Billett, S. (2006). Work, change and workers. Dordrecht: Springer. Samejima, F. (1969). Estimation of Latent Ability Using a Response Pattern of Graded Scores. Psychometrika Monograph Supplement, 34(4), 100-114. Winther, E., & Achtenhagen, F. (2008). Kompetenzstrukturmodell für die kaufmännische Bildung. Adaptierbare Forschungslinien und theoretische Ausgestaltung. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 104(4), 511-538.
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