Competency Assessment


Competency assessment is a process by which an advisor or teacher works with a student to collect evidence of competence, using the standards that define precisely those evidences.

The competency assessment is not a process of determining whether or not someone passes the course, it's more than passing an exam. During a semester a student may be required to take a series of tasks such as projects, written assessments, laboratories or research and it's the sum of all these elements that determine whether the student is competent or not.

There are two critical elements of competency assessment:

1- It is the degree of efficiency through which the student or participant executes a specific action that typically involves the manipulation of some tool or technology and the experience it demonstrates when using it.
2- It refers specifically to the ability that runs under specific conditions.

The evaluation process must then be considered as part of the learning process, so that the gaps between what the student currently knows and what he should do can be identified. These gaps then become learning opportunities to develop those skills and are not seen as student failures. Competency assessment is a collaborative process, negotiated between the teacher and the student and is not an event imposed by the teacher.

In the competency assessment, students should be given all the necessary opportunities to demonstrate the skill and knowledge in the competence being evaluated. In this case the word evaluate in Spanish doesn't always allow to clearly determine the nature of this exercise in a curricular model by competencies. Perhaps a more appropriate term could be to “adjust” the conditions, the teaching method and even the way in which the student executes the actions so that the professionalization of the competition can be achieved.

Benefits of the competency assessment model.

1- It allows students to develop the necessary skills and improve them through natural progress in a reasonable amount of time.
2- It is part of a constructive and cooperative approach to education or training that identifies needs between what is and what should be in the student.
3- Participants get certified for what they know how to do and not for the time they have spent in a classroom or what they know by heart.

In a curriculum or competency training model, the achievement indicators or standards are the measures against which the work of the participant is evaluated. Achievement indicators or standards are usually drafted broadly as processes; These same processes must then be shredded into procedures and in turn each procedure evaluated in the light of whether or not the student is competent in that particular aspect. For this, experts consider it useful to use checklists or rubrics that certify the capacities in different areas of the task.

Principles of competency assessment:

- Immediate: the evaluation by competences must be carried out in a short period after the teaching-learning process.

- Validity: all the components that are going to be evaluated must be aligned with the learning objective. Before being carried out there must be sufficient evidence to ensure that the candidate has sufficient practice to submit to it. No student should be evaluated in a context or conditions different from the one taught or asked to provide evidence that is not established in the achievement indicators or standards.

- Reliability: The evaluation itself or the process must be able to withstand the scrutiny. That is, other advisors or professors should be able to reach the same conclusion.

- Flexibility: There is no single method to evaluate by competencies. Evidence can be collected using different methods, at different times, and under a variety of conditions. Must be able to adapt to the needs of the situation and the candidate.

- Fair: The evaluation should not discriminate against individuals or groups. Different people and different situations need different evaluation methods and, where reasonable adjustments are necessary to meet individual requirements. Safe: any evaluation must comply with the necessary hygiene and safety requirements for both those who carry out the action and for those who evaluate.

In mathematics, where the result is necessarily good or bad, the student is or is not competent. Even so there is room for some variety; a certain percentage up or down even in mathematics can still be considered as an acceptable or unacceptable response in most cases; this taking into account that in the real world very few things happen naturally at 100% accuracy.

This also applies to examinations in a laboratory where it's not always possible to achieve 100% accuracy due to real-world and equipment limitations. Most laboratory equipment, for example, has tolerance rates within which work is considered acceptable. These tolerance indices are generally specified by the equipment manufacturer, hence if the candidate or student reaches that tolerance that in some extreme cases can be between 20 and 30% they should be considered competent.

Something very important to keep in mind is that competent doesn't mean expert. Competent means that the candidate has achieved sufficient skill and knowledge to execute the activity to a certain degree of quality that is acceptable for the standard or indicator of achievement against which it's being measured. In real life competition means reaching enough skill and knowledge to develop the activity or service to the extent that is acceptable to the industry or the customer.

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