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Assessment methods used in Vocational Education Training

Assessment Method
Description
Examples of Appropriate Use
Tools
Observation in workplace

Applicant undertakes real work activities at the workplace and demonstrates processes and/or the steps to produce products.

To demonstrate job specific skills, e.g.
receptionist, taking telephone calls, greeting clients
personnel officer conducting interview.
Can be used to provide RPL evidence.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Observation checklist
Description of competent performance

Observation in simulated work environment

As above except the workplace situation is simulated.

Job specific skills are applied off the job, e.g.
training kitchen
college workshop
industry training centre.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Observation checklist
Description of competent performance

Fault finding

Product is given to applicant to analyse for errors or problems. Can be written or practical.

Identify why the engine does not work.
Identify the inaccuracies in meeting minutes and correct them.

Assessor observation checklist, or
Candidate checklist (with diagrams if needed)

Role-play

Participants are assigned roles and a scenario to enact potential responses to situations. Clear guidelines are required for all participants. Assessor must also undertake a careful role in briefing, debriefing.

Exploration of potential responses to situation, eg
meeting procedures
leadership techniques
conflict resolution
client complaint
management techniques.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Scenario and outline of roles and key steps or issues to be covered

Construction of role-play

Applicant designs own role-play to demonstrate issues and responses. Requires applicant to consider potential scenarios and responses. Guidelines for design of role-play needed.

As above, except candidate develops roles and scenarios.
Could be useful at higher AQF levels.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Boundaries, rules and guidance for the scenarios and roles to be constructed

Games

Formats such as quiz shows, board games such as Monopoly, Scruples, can be adapted to specific areas to enable participants to explore potential options, difficulties, short cuts, etc.

Problem-solving and decision making in management, small business, etc. e.g.
‘Management techniques’
`Running a restaurant’
`The Travel Game’

Instructions to candidates and assessors including clear purpose for assessment e.g. formative assessment

Game construction

As above. In this case, the candidates design and construct the game themselves. This further enables candidates to identify and analyse the situation being applied to the game.

As above
Could be used at higher AQF levels.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Information on format/s to be used and purposes to be achieved through game

Verbal questioning

Assessor asks questions relevant to required underpinning knowledge and contingency skills

Useful for drawing out knowledge—especially if candidate has difficulty with literacy or where written questions are too formal.
Useful in formative assessment to check progress.

List of set questions or bank of questions from which assessors select questions
Corresponding answers (key aspects)

Verbal presentation to assessor

Candidate is given a topic and time to research and prepare. The candidate then presents his/her findings or argument or evidence to the assessor. The assessor may question the applicant to obtain further information.

May be suitable alternative to essay for a student with a disability or writing difficulties. Requires basic research and communication skills.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Checklist for assessors or key areas to be covered

Verbal presentation to assessor and audience

As above. In this case, the presentation occurs in an environment where others are present, e.g. formal meeting, classroom, workplace, staff development.

Useful addition to tasks. Allows further elaboration and discussion.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Checklist for assessors or key areas to be covered

Formal oral examination

Verbal question and answer. The candidate does not receive topics prior to the oral presentation.

May be suitable where writing difficulties are evident (and are not a skill requirement), or where candidate is more comfortable with verbal questioning.
Higher AQF level.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
List of questions
Checklist for assessors on key areas to be answered

Oral examination with panel

As above. Assessment is made by a panel.

As above.
Higher AQF level.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
List of questions
Checklist for assessors on key areas to be answered

Interview

The applicant discusses issues in an interview situation, either one-on-one or in a panel. Normally highly structured.

Appropriate where candidate is the best source of information about skills or process. Allows interaction, exploration and clarification of points eg ethics, values and attitudes, establish capacity to handle unforeseen situations, predict and evaluate.
Recognition.
Higher AQF level.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
List of questions
Suggested answers

Debate

Candidates are required to formally debate a given topic. The topic chosen assumes that there are arguments for and against. Applicants require guidelines for debating and time to work in teams to prepare arguments.

Group of applicants. Assesses ability to formulate, present, analyse and defend arguments.
Higher AQF level.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Guidelines for debating including preparation required.

Production of audio visual tape (video) and other multimedia application

Applicant demonstrates range of skills in video format. Video is then analysed with applicant, assessor or audience. Video skills may be required.

Can be useful in practical demonstrations where movement or steps are completed quickly, or access or observation is restricted. Can also be used in discussion-based formats.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Arrangements for video taping
Observation checklist

Production of slide tape series

Applicant demonstrates knowledge of area by both photographic (slides) and oral (tape) techniques.

Specifically useful if applicant wishes to illustrate use of equipment which is generally inaccessible.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Technical advice on tape production

Production of audio tape

Applicant responds to topic by making an audio tape. This can be done in an environment chosen by applicant. This reduces options of responding to questions.

Applicant who lacks confidence may prefer this to an oral presentation to panel, or an individual assessor

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Technical advice on tape production

Group discussion

Group selects or are assigned topic, which usually requires analysis or problem-solving. Questions for consideration and outcomes to be defined. The group may require guidance in group processes, e.g. allocation of roles/tasks.

Useful for assessing work in a group situation, leadership skills and interpersonal interaction.
May indicate the way ideas are formulated, analysed, debated and substantiated.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Questions for consideration and outcomes expected
Checklist for observation if used

Formal examination

Examination questions set by independent body. Candidate required to attend examination room, work independently, complete tasks within time limits. No prior knowledge of questions. Assessed independently.

Formal industry or educational requirements.
Appropriate where assessment is focusing on ability to recall facts or knowledge in formal, time controlled situations.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Procedure for examination

Short answer test

Questions set by independent body—questions require one paragraph answers. Generally open questions. Administered in formal environment. No prior knowledge of tasks. Assessed independently.

Testing where clear and finite tasks can be set.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Formatted questions
Answer sheet

Take home examination

As above. Candidate is allowed to complete the assessment tasks in own environment. Access to resources permissible, eg library.

Appropriate where process is being tested (e.g. analysis, expression, research techniques).

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Examination questions

Open book test or examination

As above. Candidate is allowed to take text books, references to the exam room.

Appropriate where applicant’s ability to use resources is being explored. Appropriate where recall is not primary focus.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Test questions
Answer sheet

Multiple-choice answer test

Bank of questions set. Each question gives several optional answers. Applicant is required to select the best answer to the question from choices provided.

Appropriate where clear, correct answers are required.
Appropriate where testing of knowledge only is required.
Requires technical knowledge to devise tests.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Multiple-choice test
Answer sheet and marking scheme

Essay

Topic is set by assessor. Applicant is required to write a descriptive response to the topic.

Appropriate where a specific issue needs to be explored, and applicant’s ability to develop argument is considered suitable to higher AQF.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Essay question/topic/s – might be a choice

Free choice essay

Candidate designs own topic. Then writes a descriptive response to the subject.

As above. Also allows greater range of specific topic choices. May be useful where knowledge of a general situation can be evaluated.
Suitable to higher AQF.

Instruction to candidates and assessors

Project (can also include a work-based project)

The subject is set by the assessor and completed over a period of time. May involve a product e.g. Designing something or problem-solving.
The subject can relate to the learners workplace.

Useful where candidate is expected to have a degree of independence and work towards an outcome. Allows wide range of skills and knowledge to be demonstrated.

Instructions to candidates and assessors
Clear outline of project expectations, outcomes to be produced, timelines to be met
Assessor checklist for making judgment

Documents

Assessment based on documentation of prior experiences e.g.
certificates
letter of verification
course information.

Useful where documented information is available to indicate or confirm.
Certificate received for training or experiences completed either as a total course, or individual units/subjects.
Letters from supervisor, employer etc, who can confirm achievement of skills or experience.
Course information which sets out the content of the subjects or units attempted or completed.
Often used in Recognition

Instruction to candidates and assessors including procedures for original documents and authentication
List of type of documents to be collected

Third party reports

Report from:
supervisor
manager
customers
suppliers
peers.

Confirmation of consistent performance over time and in a range of contexts.
Confirmation of candidate’s application and adaptation of simple and complex procedures.
Often used in Recognition.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Template or questions for third party to answer/provide response

Self-assessment

Self-assessment against performance criteria, e.g. outlines of work experience, resume, personal development activities, reflections in diary or journal

Used as a starting point for Recognition. Use as formative assessment tool and can be used to judge readiness for final assessment.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Variety of approaches including short answer, case study responses

Training records

Training outcomes mapped to competency standards in the relevant Training Package

Recognition.

Instruction to candidates and assessors on how to access records
Template for recording relevant information

Portfolio

Collection of material that relates to the evidence requirements.
E.g. examples of work, journal entries, designs, workplace documents.

Recognition.
Presentation of project outcomes.

Instruction to candidates and assessors
Checklist for inclusions or list of expected contents