Testing strikes fear into the hearts of many!
In Focus Magazine asked Ruby Perkins from OLS to give us her insights into the attitudes towards assessment.
Testing can strike fear into the hearts of many. To be tested means there is an ability to fail. Once you place yourself in the hands of testers, you quickly discover if you are up to the mark and this is disconcerting for most.
On the other hand, in competency-based assessment, the whole focus is on the dynamics of the outcome. If a 'Not Yet Competent' is the outcome, the learning can be focused on the exact area that needs to be mastered. This positive approach allows the candidate to start working towards the competency immediately.
It's a question of attitude. Most people will still be disappointed with the 'Not Yet Competent' outcome, but you need to look at the assessment process. Where the candidate was asked if they felt ready to be assessed, and the whole process was collaborative with the assessor and the candidate, the outcome could only be seen as absolutely transparent and fair. This leaves no room for subjectivity and personal opinion and allows the individual being assessed to see where they may have gone wrong.
Lets face it, we all are capable of assessing ourselves to a high degree. We know if we have done a good job, it's just the degrees that may be hazy. If we are honest with ourselves, rarely will we be surprised by the outcome, no matter what it may be.
However, testing is often misread or misunderstood - I certainly have had experience where a person has felt they did well in an exam yet they failed. Not so with competency-based Assessment - without doubt, it is fair and equitable, and candidates can decide when they should be assessed. This allows assessors to make sure everything is in place, that there is enough time to practice the skills and brush up on relevant knowledge before the assessment takes place.
However, even with all these things in place, there are still times when an assessment process identifies a lack of competency in some area/s. This can cause concern for the candidate, as well as their direct supervisor or management. Should this happen, consultation with the assessor and/or trainer can result in the development of a learning program that will focus on the areas identified, and the candidate can quickly become competent if the plan is followed.