December 9th, 2011
Moderators and Assessors 2011 Report
Intro – News for Assessors and Moderators
As we come to the close of the year it is timely to look back on what has been achieved by assessors and moderators operating under the “Competenz stamp” in 2011.
We have about 1200 registered assessors who are active across nearly 1500 companies throughout New Zealand. They support approximately 9000 learners, from many different backgrounds, with varying levels of ability and motivation.
Assessors are at the heart of work based training. They are frequently volunteers or supervisors who do assessment as an “add on” to their other responsibilities. If the work place is the classroom, the assessor is very often the teacher, the mentor and the coach. Their classroom may be the machine shop, the production line or the tearoom. Training and assessment is often slipped in between other work activities such as production and troubleshooting.
Assessors have to make sense of unit standards and guide learners through a sometimes complicated evidence gathering process. Assessing requires care, initiative and judgement. Assessors are the lifeblood of the ITO system.
Supporting the assessors are 126 moderators, most of who are from an industry background and are applying their technical knowledge to the task of making sure there is some consistency in assessment across New Zealand. Moderation is not always looked forward to by assessors. It can feel like being back at school and waiting for an exam mark. We want assessors to find moderation helpful. We ask our moderators to be positive in their feedback and not to be afraid to engage directly with the assessor to discuss evidence. In 2012 we will be looking for ways to facilitate the moderation experience so it is more productive for both assessors and moderators.
The QA Team
I would like to formally introduce the Competenz Quality Assurance team. Based in Auckland, our team are happy to help with any assessor or moderation queries you may have.
Matt Allfree – Compliance Manager
Corey Neal – Moderation Manager – Workplace
David Seth – Moderation Manager – Providers
Brian Lane – National Moderator – Schools
Iris Rae – Senior Administrator Forklifts and QA
Holly Claeys – Administrator
During 2011 Competenz introduced a peer moderation process for a number of its qualifications. These consist of groups of assessors and moderators meeting to discuss assessments and common issues. They have proved helpful for new assessors who are able to see new approaches to assessment and gain confidence in their judgement. We hope to expand this programme in 2012.
During 2011 Competenz reviewed its three AMAPs (now called a CMR for “Consent and Moderation Requirements”). These are the documents lodged with NZQA that lay out Competenz’ expectations for organisations assessing against its unit standards.
AMAPs 0111, 0013, 0054 will be progressively replaced with a single CMR (0013). As Standards are reviewed they will be transferred to CMR 0013. Until this has occurred, AMAPs 0111, 0013, 0054 will sit on the NZQA web site with mirrored content.
Competenz AMAP review is currently with NZQA for approval. We will let you know when the process is complete.
The Targeted Review of Qualifications
During 2011 NZQA reviewed its processes around the development of new qualifications. This is an attempt to drastically reduce the number of duplicated qualifications being used in New Zealand by ITOs and providers. Several of Competenz industries have been singled out for “Targeted Review” during 2011 and 2012. During 2011, baking has taken the lead as the first Competenz industry to be reviewed under the new NZQA rules. In 2012 manufacturing, refrigeration and air conditioning engineering will be up for review. The full list of proposed reviews can be found on the NZQA web site at: http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/studying-in-new-zealand/nzqf/reviews-of-qualifications/quals-review-schedule/
One of the biggest challenges to emerge from the new qualification environment will be to measure progress through different pathways to qualification completion if there is not the common measurement of Unit Standards. Competenz is keen to work with industry and providers to ensure unit standards continue to be a popular way of “populating” courses, as they do provide an excellent way of tracking learner progress towards their qualification.
Assessors and Moderators should keep an eye out for any reviews affecting their industry, as we want the voice of industry to be heard. Assessors and moderators know better than anyone the strengths and weaknesses of their industries’ qualifications. Competenz will be taking an active role facilitating reviews in its sectors, making sure that industry is given a strong say in the future of its qualifications. Have your say too!
If you are interested in changes affecting engineering related qualifications, please contact our Industry Leadership Manager Paul Town on: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in changes affecting manufacturing, food, beverage, rail, maritime and baking, please contact the Industry Leadership Manager for these industries Andrew Brownlee: email@example.com
Feedback from Moderators
It is always helpful to review the feedback from moderators as they have a good handle on current issues with assessment.
This year it was observed that many assessors are not using the latest versions of Assessment Guides. This may be because their learners are doing an older version of a qualification, but often an old guide being used is for a current unit. We use feedback from assessors to update assessment guides regularly and are always trying to make them better for assessors to use. Generally speaking newer guides are more “user friendly” and easier to moderate. Moderators and assessors are encouraged to make suggestions for improvements in the tools Competenz makes available.
If you think you might be using an older version of an Assessment Guide you can contact our customer support team for an updated guide. These are usually free of charge to assessors.
Note: Pre moderation of Assessment Guides - if you are not using Competenz Assessment Guides don’t forget to make sure your assessment guides are pre moderated by Competenz.
Another observation from moderators is the lack of context notes by the assessor. Often just a little bit more information about the learner or the setting for the assessment can give the moderator much more encouragement to verify your decision. It gives the moderator a fuller picture of what’s going on, and just that little bit more confidence in the authenticity of the assessment process. It can make the learner and their capability more real.
Make it clear if it was the assessor or the learner that filled in answers to questions. It is usually quite acceptable for an assessor to note down learner verbal replies, particularly in manufacturing where learners may have difficulty with writing or English. If they are having trouble answering the question in the way they are written in the Question Bank, invite the learner to take you to their work station and show you what they mean. Your confidence in the merits of the evidence you see should come through loud and clear to the moderator.
Competenz will be reviewing the moderation tools in 2012 to make feedback to assessors more helpful.
Feedback from assessors to moderators – “let’s talk”
There’s no doubt that sending your stuff off for moderation can be a bit taxing. We would like to make this less so!
Unlike some other SSBs Competenz encourages its Moderators to talk directly to Assessors if they need a bit of clarification in the evidence. The assessor may be able to give a little bit more information that is just enough to make the difference between “verified” and “not verified”. If this happens it is important that the conversation is noted and dated on the Moderation sheet to secure the integrity of the process.
Credit fees 2012
Competenz will be charging a fee of $15.00 a credit for credits registered outside a Training Agreement in 2012. This is to cover the costs of administration.
What is new in assessment?
There is no doubt that a lot of thought is going on in various SSBs around innovation in assessment. Competenz has been actively looking at improvements in evidence collecting processes, particularly the use of “inference” and integrated assessment as a means of streamlining evidence collection. The following links will give you useful information on current developments:
Ensuring consistency of qualification outcomes (January 2011):
The Targeted Review of Qualifications (NZQA):
Competenz will be running workshops for assessors and moderators in 2012. Keep an eye open for these dates. We will also make sure you are informed.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
Competenz Compliance Manager