Assessment is a structured process whereby different types of evidence are collected using a variety of assessment methods. Judgments are made in order to take a decision on an individual’s performance based on national standards. The purpose of this document is to describe the activities required to conduct an Assessment for Certification.
This policy is concerned with the effectiveness of the organization’s arrangements for assessment related to the award of certificates and the establishment of an assessment system. An assessment system is a system of support for the assessment activities required by the organization’s assessors and the relevant quality assurance body.
It is Workers’ College policy to strive to ensure that learners achieve the outcomes of all NQF registered unit standards and qualifications that Workers’ College is accredited for, and to ensure that fair and equitable assessment and qualification procedures are implemented.
The Assessment Policy Statement will provide assessment services to all learners rendered by:
- Properly certified, registered assessors
- Properly certified, registered moderators
- All the assessments will be based on:
- Application of assessment principles of fairness, validity, reliability and practicability;
- Standards required in terms of registered SAQA, DOL and NQF learnerships, unit standards and qualifications;
- Maintenance of a ETQA approved quality management system;
- Moderation through internal moderation and external verifiers.
- The objective of all assessment processes is to consider the body of evidence presented by an assessment candidate in support of that person’s claim of competence in meeting the specific outcomes required for such competence.
The purpose of the assessment is to establish the competence of prospective candidates in meeting the required competencies as outlined in the specific outcomes of the defined standards of measure e.g. learner ships, unit standards or qualifications registered on the NQF.
Principles of Assessment
The following principles apply to the assessment process
Transparency: The standards should be accessible, easily understood and have real meaning to the users.
Validity of assessments is achieved through:
- assessors being fully aware of what is to be assessed as indicated by the unit standard, the specific outcomes and the assessment criteria;
- evidence collected from assessment activities and tasks that can be clearly related to the capability or performance outcomes specified in the learning programme or the unit standard;
- evidence demonstrating that performance outcomes have been met;
- evidence gathered in an integrated manner within the context of work to be executed.
- Reliability of consistent assessment of candidates within the same contextual standards is critical to comparison of credentials and it requires the setting of high quality standards within a well-documented process using unambiguous procedures.
Consistency of assessment outcomes are achieved through:
- simple, clear and well-documented assessment procedures;
- clear, unambiguous assessment criteria;
- well trained and consistently briefed assessors;
- use of multiple assessors or panels;
- use of multiple parallel forms of evidence to measure the same capabilities.
- Fairness and Flexibility: In order to ensure fairness of assessment, assessment practices should:
- Not disadvantage any individuals
- Be accessible to all eligible persons
- Be flexible in order to:
- Accommodate the scope of knowledge and skills encompassed in the assessment criteria
- The variance of contexts
- The range of needs and personal situations of potential candidates
Types Of Assessments
The following assessments are covered by this policy document:
Diagnostic assessment (needs analysis/assessment)
This assessment assists trainers and their learners determine their current competence levels.
This refers to assessment that takes place during the process of learning and teaching. Its purpose may be to:
- diagnose learner strengths and weaknesses,
- provide feedback to learners on their progress or lack thereof,
- assess the success of learning and teaching strategies employed thus far,
- inform all parties how the learning and teaching strategies can be improved upon,
- assist both the learner and assessor plan future learning,
- assist the learner and the assessor plan future learning,
- assist both the learner and the assessor to make decisions regarding the readiness of the learner to do the summative assessment.
This type of assessment is not intended to assess whether the learner has successfully achieved or not in terms of being awarded a credit, qualification or certificate. Formative assessment takes place on a continuous basis during the course of learning.
This assessment is for making judgment about the achievement. This is carried out at when a learner is ready to do assessment having gone through a learning programme. Summative assessment is carried out when the assessor and the learner agree that the learner is ready to be assessed so that credit for achievement can be given, recorded and reported. This may be a certificate or diploma in the case of a qualification or a formal recording of credits in the case of a unit standard.
Recognition Of Prior Learning Assessment (RPL)
RPL recognizes what you have learnt from other courses, from life experience, from work experience and from any training provided at work, and measures it against the course in which you are enrolled. RPL may also be known as:
Accreditation of prior learning
Credit for prior learning
Assessment of prior learning
Recognition of informal learning
Assessment of experiential learning
Assessment is founded on the concept of ‘evidence’.
Definition of evidence
Evidence can be defined as all information or facts collected from portfolios, supplemented by other performance measurements. This evidence is weighed up against the assessment criteria in the relevant unit standard or qualification and a judgment is then made as to whether the evidence presented meets the criteria. Where evidence is insufficient, guidance must be given to the candidate as to what must be done to bridge the gaps.
Forms of Evidence
Evidence may take the form of:
Direct evidence: This evidence is gained through direct observation of performance both in a normal and non-routine workplace situation and in the execution of specially structured tasks. Examples could include facilitator/observation, selected workplace examples, workplace simulations, video or audiotapes, end products or outcomes, probing and questioning, and others.
Indirect evidence: Indirect evidence is alternative evidence of performance and may be collected through simulations and projects and the examination of completed pieces of work, whether products or services. Examples include testimonials and affidavits, narratives on work processes and procedures, descriptions of materials, equipment and products, written answers, written tests and examinations, certificates, samples of previous work (portfolios), and others.
Supplementary Evidence: Supplementary evidence may be required to demonstrate underlying or embedded knowledge. It may also be needed to confirm that the learner can perform specific outcomes under a variety of circumstances. Supplementary evidence may take the form of third party reports from mentors, fellow candidates and clients regarding performance and competency.
Rules of Assessment Evidence
Evidence that is used in assessment must be:
Valid – The evidence must demonstrate the required performance or competency.
Authentic – The evidence presented must be produced by the candidate himself/herself
Currency – The evidence must demonstrate the competency of the candidate at the time of assessments
Sufficient – The evidence must be enough to demonstrate the competency of the candidate i.e.
it must cover all the specific outcomes and assessment criteria, it must cover the whole range of variables, it must cover all underpinning knowledge, skills, and attitude.
Evidence Gathering Instruments /Methods
The evidence must be gathered through instruments that allow learners to demonstrate, knowledge, Application of knowledge and understanding and reflection.
The assessor must select the most appropriate and effective and cost effective assessment methods or instruments.
Place Of Assessment
Assessment of candidates must be conducted in a conducive environment that reassures candidates and allows them to demonstrate their levels of competency to the best of their ability.
Annexure A of this policy outlines the different roles and responsibilities of Assessors, Moderators and RPL Assessors.
Access To Assessment
The assessment is available to all learners who qualify for assessment, irrespective of ethnicity, gender, age, language or any other factors. Assessment must accommodate needs of special needs learners.
Assessors must be adequately and properly qualified, and they must have demonstrated their competence on the level of, or above the Qualification or Unit standard they are delivering or assessing. All assessors must be registered with the relevant ETQA.
Assessment Record Keeping
The following records must be kept in respect of the assessment process
Relevant unit standards, qualification and or learning module and Learning programme
Outcome of each assessment including:
- Who was assessed
- What evidence was collected, where and how was it collected
- The method of assessment
- What units of measurements were achieved
- When the competence was confirmed
- When the qualification was granted
The learner records must be recorded properly and be kept confidential.
Assessors must provide constructive feedback to the learners after the evaluation of the evidence. The feedback should be confidential. The feedback may take the form of:
- Encouraging the candidates to assess their own performance
- Information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates
- Encouragement to unsuccessful candidates
- Information on further training and development
Assessment Appeals Policy
To provide a standard mechanism through which learners can resolve disputed assessments and attempt to resolve such disputes as early and speedily as possible,
This policy applies to regular assessment and RPL assessments
Learners are encouraged to evaluate themselves and participate in a joint evaluation process. If the trainer and learner cannot agree on a particular item, this is indicated with a question mark. On completion of the evaluation form, both parties sign and date the form. If the system were implemented properly, assessment problems would be exposed as part of the moderation process.
In the event of the Learner being dissatisfied with the Assessment decision the appeal procedure will be followed.
Every candidate being assessed has the right to appeal against the decisions, conduct or compliance of the assessor and must be assisted in doing so.
The following are relevant here:
All candidates shall be familiarized with the proper Appeals Procedure.
All appeals are to be sent to the Head of education and the moderator using the required documentation.
The moderator or head of department shall channel the appeal to one of two areas:
The moderating team for appeals against assessment decisions (stage 2)
Organization’s management for appeals against the conduct or compliance of the moderator (stage 3)
An appeal must be lodged within ten working days of feedback being given to the learner and without prejudice on the part of the learner.
An appeal will be resolved as speedily as possible but within the time frames prescribed in the procedure of this policy.
The moderator then evaluates the issue, reviews the assessment process as well as the procedure that was followed by the assessor and is authorized to comment on the assessment outcomes and the procedural correctness. A decision as how best to deal with the appeal will then be taken.
The relevant moderator shall remark the script if it was a written assessment complaint, or give the learner the same practical assessment if it was practical assessment complaint in the presence of another moderator or assessor.
All the persons involved in the appeals procedure shall check the results of the moderation.
If after re-evaluating the learner’s script it is found that there was a mistake on the part of the assessor or moderator, the learner will be allocated the appropriate outcome.
If the learner has performed far below the required competence standards, remedial policies will be invoked.
The appeal and the results of the appeal are recorded and stored electronically in the learner records.
If the learner is still dissatisfied with the moderator’s decision regarding the appeal, he/she may appeal to the director and quality assurance practitioner.
As a last step the learner approaches the ETQA.
In circumstances where Learners have to undergo re-assessment, the process will be as follows:
Re-assessment will as far as possible take place in the same situation or context as the original assessment, and under the same conditions.
The same method and assessment instruments must be used, but the task and materials should be changed.
Tasks and materials should be of the same level and complexity as the previous assessment, but must be appropriate for the outcomes specified.
The number of re-assessments must be restricted, and repeated unsuccessful attempts should be addressed by guidance to the learner on other possible and more suitable learning avenues.
Learners must be given feedback to concentrate on areas of weakness.
Continuous formative assessments should be performed to give the learner and assessor a guide as to readiness of the learner for summative assessment.
Any learner wishing to appeal an assessment (including an RPL assessment) should conduct such an appeal in terms of the Workers’ College policy and procedure manual using the relevant forms. Learners should contact the Head of Department: Education or Registrar to obtain such forms
The student and the Workers’ College should observe the stipulated time frames are adhered to in order to ensure that the learner’s concerns are dealt with expeditiously.
The policy serves to formulate a consistent approach to moderation from internal and external moderators.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the assessment and RPL policies.
Definition of moderation
SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) defines moderation as:
“The process which ensures that assessment of the outcomes described in National Qualifications Framework standards or qualifications is fair, valid and reliable”
Moderation is thus quality assurance. A moderator ensures that an assessor followed the procedures prescribed and arrives at a well-founded decision as to the competency of a learner.
Types of Moderation
Moderation may be internal where the assessments of assessors within the organization are moderated, or it may be external. The norm is that external moderation is generally undertaken by a SETA (Sectoral Education and Training Authority) for the purposes of verification or quality assurance in the case of Unit standards based programmes and qualifications. Programmes and qualifications that fall under the Council for Higher Education will always have external moderation as a matter of quality assurance.
In cases where there is misconduct of an assessor and/or moderator, this function can be performed by another provider or the ETQA. In cases where a learner has lodged an appeal and is still unhappy with the findings of the moderator and/or managing director, the appeal will then be directed to the relevant ETQA.
Main Purpose of Moderation
Primarily, the purpose of this policy is to assure consistent effective assessment instrument design, integration and application. It also serves as a document to inform learners about the process followed by Workers’ College, and to ensure that the process is consistent with the requirements laid down by the relevant ETQA
Further, the purpose can briefly be stated as:
To ensure that there is no gap between training provision and assessment in Workers’ College;
To assure quality throughout the process from programme design to assessment and eventually moderation;
To define consistent levels of competence for learners and to prevent inconsistencies;
To ultimately assure the maintenance of high levels of training in the environment wherein Workers’ College operates thereby ensuring commitment and execution of Workers’ College ’S social responsibility.
Purpose of Moderation in Quality Assurance
To assure quality, assessment results must be verified to ensure that they are valid and reliable. No candidate should be awarded a unit standard or qualification if s/he is not competent against the specified outcomes, and no candidate should be denied a unit standard or qualification if s/he is competent. The way assessors and assessment agencies interpret unit standards and qualifications must be consistent across the sector and the country, and it is the role of the moderator to ensure that this is the case.
Assuring quality means contributing to continuous improvements in the quality of assessments conducted. Quality is defined in terms of the fairness, validity, reliability and practicability of assessment policies, instruments, guides, processes, decisions and records. The role of the moderator is to provide on-going constructive feedback to assessors and assessment agencies so as to support improvements in quality. It is also the duty of the moderator to ensure that adequate assessment systems are in place, implemented and regularly updated and where there are deviations from these, to ensure that the necessary corrective action is taken.
Moderators should, as far as practically possible, be subject-matter experts especially in cases where the moderator involved in moderation has to exercise discretion regarding subject matter. Although moderators may provide useful input into assessment issues in areas where they are not subject-matter experts, they may be unable to judge whether acceptable assessment decisions have been made in areas in which they are not themselves competent. Where it is impracticable to have moderators who are subject-matter experts, moderators should establish partnerships with others who are competent to provide endorsement of decisions relating to the subject-matter of an assessment. This may include another competent moderator or assessor.
The moderator of an assessment shall be a different person from the person who conducted the assessment. Such a moderator shall also have no actual or perceived interest in the outcome of the assessment. If no such moderator answering to these qualifications is available at Workers’ College, the relevant ETQA shall be requested to appoint a moderator.
In relation to any “high-stakes” assessment e.g. where the declaration of competence impacts on the health and safety of persons, subject-matter competence of both assessors and moderators is mandatory.
Moderators must be familiar with and continuously refresh their understanding of:
Current unit standards and qualifications;
Relevant policies, legislation and regulations and
Quality assurance and reporting requirements.
Moderators must have the skills required to effectively perform all functions according to latest methods, including, but not limited to communication with the ETQA, providers, assessors, assessment agencies and candidates.
Moderator Registration and Code of Conduct
Moderators must have been trained and found competent against the relevant unit standards for both assessment and moderation, and be registered with the relevant ETQA in the case of SETA accredited unit standard based learning programmes They should also accept and sign the Moderator Code of Conduct of the ETQA, and fulfil the obligations thereof and the requirements of the ETQA. Moderators for the purpose of Higher education based programmes and qualifications must conform to the requirements of the Higher Education Quality Authority.
Moderation shall be measured according to indicators for the improvement of moderation. The indicators will be developed as moderators become involved with more and more moderations.
Workers’ College will develop and monitor standard operating procedures and tools for implementing moderation. These will be subject to at least annual, or as required more frequently, review for efficiency and effectiveness. See Annexures.
Standard Operating Procedure for Moderation
This standard operating procedure consists of four “phases”. Not all phases may be implemented in all instances. Depending on individual merits of moderations and functions of the moderator in specific instances, the following may apply:
Moderators must at all times be familiar with the full policy and procedure of the Workers’ College QMF that relates to moderation and assessment matters.