It is vital to have the assessment methods in place prior to visiting a workplace. This will take some planning as there are a variety of different methods that can be used depending on the environment and the individual workplace.

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Observations

Observations allow the assessor to see a learner performing skills in a work or training environment. This is one of the widest used assessment methods for hands on industries like construction, engineering and the trade subjects e.g plumbing.

The assessor should allow the learner to make a mistake as opposed to interrupting them on a task. They should also keep a good distance to make the task seem as natural as possible. Once complete it's useful to have a detailed report of the outcomes - stating what has been achieved and how the learner has done it.

Work Products and Evidence

Other industries could be more office based but this does not mean that learners will not need to demonstrate their competency. Documents such as letters, reports and emails can be assessed against a criteria to ensure that standards are being met. This can be done with the learner, and could be combined with a professional discussion.

Some industries create products such as factories and joinery shops. In these instances product evidence can be gathered during the assessment process to maintain standards.

Case Study - Joe had recently made a bedside table in his role making furniture for an independant company. The company he works for sometimes use an assessor to ensure that the products are being made correctly and to the right standard. During his assessment Joe allowed the assessor to view the piece of furniture, and signed an authenticity statement to say that it was solely his work.

Asking Questions

Asking questions both verbally and in writing form a good way of assessing knowledge and help validate learning. The assessor may need to change questions when assessing two or more learners in the same workplace. Asking questions can be a skill in itself and its useful to remember the following points

  • Only use one question per sentence
  • Avoid technical jargon, which the learner may not understand
  • Rephrase your question if you feel the learner does not understand
  • Avoid questions that end with a yes or no answer

Professional Discussions With a Learner

Holding a discussion with a learner can be a useful assessment tool. The conversation itself should be based around the criteria that has been set, and it gives the learner an opportunity to tell the assessor how they have met that criteria.

Discussions also allow any gaps to be filled in that may of been missed with other assessment methods. This includes hypothetical situations that sometimes cannot be staged in a formal assessment (e.g the protocol for an emergency on an oil rig, which is unlikely to ever occur when the assessor is making a visit).