Assessment Methods

Assessment can be done using different types of tools and methods. The choice of the method depends on what is to be measured and how assessors can obtain the most objective result within the limitations of a testing setup. The TeBeVat project developed a standardised list of acceptable assessment methods. The use of these methods for a specific competence guarantee that the competence is measured in a by the sector accepted way.

1. Valid Assessment Methods

1.1. Portfolio

In the portfolio, several methods are linked to one another in order to represent the individual skills of the learner in an objective way. Portfolios are used in the assessment to gain comprehensive insight into the achievements of the candidates. When creating portfolios, the candidates learn to assess themselves and their qualities. In the assessment process, a third party assesses the portfolios as a jury to increase validity and to ensure equality and fairness in the validation process. Validity, reliability and authenticity are increased by using a variety of methods. Through self-reflection, portfolios can help the candidate in the validation process to receive jobs or appropriate further education later on. Even if these methods are time-consuming for the candidate, they have the opportunity to present their skills in a flexible way. However, implicit knowledge can only be shown with difficulty using this method. A mediator can help to focus on the essential elements when creating a portfolio. 

The portfolio can include a curriculum vitae, reflections on informally acquired skills, working documents and learning diaries. The candidate learns through the process-oriented method of the portfolio that every learning is a life story. 

1.2. Lifelong-Learning-Document-Tool (LLDT): “Structured Portfolio”: Self-Evaluation/Identification Phase + Mentor

The LLDT offers candidates the chance to record and disseminate their acquired competences and skills.  

It can also be an assessment tool (Self-Evaluation). 

1.3. Observation in a Simulated Environment

The candidate is observed in a simulated situation. This method is used for skills that can be shown in the workspace. The advantage is that all factors are under control. The disadvantage is that it is less a real-life situation. (For example, it doesn’t take in account the stress caused by audience.) 

1.4. Observation in a Real-Life Environment/On Site

The candidate is observed in a real-life situation. This method is used for skills that can be shown on the workspace. The advantage is that this is the closest to reality. The disadvantage is that the testing set-up is not fully under control. (For example, you can’t foresee the content and technical needs of a play.) 

1.5. Post Box Exercise

This method is used for skills that result in a written or drawn result. The candidate gets an assignment on paper and has time to prepare the written result. The result is checked with a prepared checklist of sample solutions. Examples or results could be personnel planning, a light plot, an Email…, The advantage is a high certainty of competence, compared with assessing prior work. For more artistic skills, this can be combined with a role play or an interview. 

1.6. Role Play

This method is used to assess inter-human or artistic skills. The candidate is placed in a situation with an actor as counterpart. The actor steers the situation, based on a predefined scenario, passing specific realistic situations. Observation is done based on a checklist.  

1.7. Criterion Based Interview

Is based on an interviewing technique using principles of the STARR method: 

  • S: What was the situation? 
  • T: What was your task?  
  • A: What actions did you take, what did you do? 
  • R: What was the result, what happened? 
  • R: What did you learn (Reflection)? 

It gives the candidate the opportunity, guided by directional questions, to demonstrate his/her skills, based on a concrete situation that happened in the own professional life. By focussing on the measurable aspects of a task, and narrowing, but deepening the focus, this is a good method to get a second opinion where competences did not become visible in testing or portfolio (not good or bad). The method needs highly skilled assessors. It is useful as extra tool to assess skills that are not observed (in positive nor negative way). It can also be used for situations that can’t be simulated, like an accident, audience panic or fire. 

Theoretically the interview is based on past experience, however: it is also possible to use a hypothetical context. 

1.8.  Written Test (Multiple-Choice)

Is used to check knowledge but is only limited useful to test skills. Good tests are difficult to develop and there is always the possibility of “gambling”. This is only useful if knowledge can’t be tested by observing skills. The advantage is: it’s easy and fast and doesn’t require specialized assessors. 

There are two forms of Multiple-Choice tests: 

  • Multiple-Choice test consists of questions where only one answer can be correct. 
  • Multiple-Response tests consists of questions where several answers can be correct. 

1.9. Written Test (Open Answers)

Is used to check knowledge or situational interpretation. The disadvantage is that it checks more the skill to express yourself on paper than it checks the real ability to perform in real life. It proves you know how to act, but not that you are able to act. Answers are checked against a checklist but need interpretation of skilled assessors. 

1.10. Oral Test

Evidence must include the questions asked as well as a transcript of the learner’s exact responses. This could be written or an audio or video recording 

Tests can be effectively used to assess detailed knowledge competences. 

1.11. Pitch/Presentation/Gaming

Modern technology can be integrated into the assessment methods. It is important to define the competences being assessed: the use of the technology itself or a competence that can be assessed using a new technology. 

2. Forms of Evidence

2.1. Artefact/Product

Where competences and skills require candidates to produce an artefact or physical product, the artefact or product must be provided for the TeBeVAT-Mentor and TeBeVAT-Assessor.  

Learner evidence must include:  

  • Details of the tasks set for learners to complete, mapped against the assessment criteria of the units addressed, 
  • A learner declaration that all work produced is their own, 
  • Summative learner generated assessment evidence - teaching materials must not be included as evidence. 

2.2. Recorded Activity/Practical Ability

Evidence must be provided of the candidate individually and actively completing tasks that demonstrate achievement of the assessment criteria. Evidence may be assessed by direct observation of performance and must consist of at least two of the following:  

  • Annotated photographs  
  • Detailed witness statements  
  • Video (with narration or written log)  
  • Learner log/evaluation  
  • Peer observation report  

N.B.: Where photographs/videos are used, each individual learner must clearly be identified. 

2.3. Evidence of Assessment

It is essential that evidence of assessment is identified individually. Awarding organisations and centres offering these assessments must also satisfy the assessment and quality assurance requirements of the TeBeVAT-Process. 

2.4. Certificates and Qualifications

It is important that the three levels of quality assurance regarding certification quality: Input/Process/Output, are taken into consideration when trying to assess and validate certifications provided. Qualifications should be checked with cedefop’s (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) definition of certification which refers to ‘individuals achieving learning outcomes that ‘match’ specific standards and/or requirements’. Thus, learning outcomes-based standards should be a key element in the certification process. 

Learning outcomes are ‘statements on what a learner knows, understands and is able to do on completion of a learning process, which are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competence’. 

2.5. Witness Statement/Peer Evaluation

If accrediting prior learning the assessor would not necessarily be able to observe the candidate carrying out certain aspects of their job. If this happens, it might be appropriate for another person to comment on their performance by completing a statement called a “witness testimony”. Witness statements should be used only to support other forms of evidence such as a product. It should:  

  • Be provided by a person who is not related to the candidate and is in a position to make a valid comment about their performance, e.g. a supervisor, line manager, a client or customer 
  • Contain comments that relate specifically to the performance criteria 
  • Be authenticated by the inclusion of the witness’s signature, role, address, telephone number and the date. 

2.6. Contracts and Work Sheets

  • Proof needs to be of recent date. How long ago is this evidence delivered and what does this say about the mastering of the process now? 
  • Is the evidence verifiable?  

2.7. Requirements for Forms of Evidence

  • Authentic: it must be clear that the evidence was truly executed or accomplished by the candidate or is related to the candidate. The experiences must be gained from activities that were carried out independently, or in groups where the candidate's own substantive contributions have been significant for the results. 
  • Relevant: related to the competence being assessed. The experiences must have been gained in relevance to the occupational profile function. The candidate must indicate which tasks and activities he/she has executed and what results these activities have yielded. They must also indicate why they are relevant to the activities performed. 
  • Of a sufficient level: the evidence must reflect the competence level expected for the qualification or certificate 
  • Up to date: still have value in a current working environment 
  • Quantitative: the evidence must be of sufficient volume, supported by sufficient experience (time accomplishing a competence) 
  • Varied: making the breadth and scope of the experience concrete. Preferably the candidate presents evidence from different “angles” (not one-sided). 

3. Assessment: “Triangulation”

The scientific method triangulation should be used as often as possible during assessment. Triangulation means using more than one method to collect data on the same topic. It is a way of assuring and increasing the validity – measuring what you want to measure – of research through the use of a variety of methods to collect data on the same topic, which involves different types of samples as well as methods of data collection. 

For example, a common form of triangulation is using contrasting research methods such as observation and a (semi)structured interview, plus a self-assessment (which is a valid method if combined with others and when the bias of 'social desirable answers’ is considered. 

3.1. Procedures

All assessment methods must be integrated into assessment procedures. There should be an informative part of the procedures before the assessment to enable the candidate to be comfortable with the process. 

To ensure a path for equal opportunity candidates with special needs must be offered solutions to go through the assessment process that allow for adaption of the procedures and methods without influencing the validity of the assessment.

For example: a written test could be changed to an oral examination insofar that reading competences play no role in the competence assessed.