Competency Based Assessment

For a long time we have all been using competency based assessment to assess our VCE, VCAL and VET students. But have we been doing it as a conscience act or just going through the motions without actually putting thought into assessing if the is student “competent”?

At the end of 2011, our team was given the responsibility of ensuring that Traralgon College VET program was deemed competent through an external audit. For many of us, this was not our first audit of some kind of program. This was an interesting process to go though this time as we were directly able to compare and reflect back to as a competency based assessment.

So what really is Competency Based Assessment (or Competency Based Education). Lets have a look at this YouTube clip to start with:

There are a few specific elements we want to look at:

To be competent in <a task> the teacher must demonstrate the required skill and knowledge that a students must demonstrate to be deemed competent.

Develop authentic learning activities for each competency

Develop authentic assessment tasks that allow a student to demonstrate competency in an applied situation

So how does this look? Our discussions all started out quite simple. We had one great example that made it seem so easy, but ended up becoming a contentious issue of debate.

Competency Task: To be deemed competent, the student must sell a cup of coffee.

To be deemed Competent, the student must be able to:

  1. Take the order
  2. handle the money
  3. make the coffee
  4. deliver it to the customer

While this seems like such a simple task, it is also a very open task that has caused a lot of discussion from which we have realised that any competency task must be very specific in its requirements. For example, based upon the task above, hear are some of the questions we asked about the outcome:

  • was the correct type of coffee made?
  • was correct change given?
  • does the coffee actually taste good?
  • how long did the take the server to complete the process from start to finish?

Below we have attached some examples of competency based assessment tasks:

How could your KLD implement Competency Based Assessment for one Outcome?

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