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Competency based assessment is a rigorous, ongoing process, which aims in testing and building the knowledge, skills and abilities of the learner. It is a continuous process, by which student’s knowledge and skills are constantly developed. It progresses an individual from being a novice to an expert, well enough to stay ahead of the curve in a competitive world. In competency based assessment, students get additional support even during the process of building knowledge and skills.
As we are now aware, competency based education holds promise for mixmising high quality teaching and learning for the growth of all students. It provides numerous opportunities to learners for master of the topics at hand and to benefit from the differentiated and remedial teaching during the process of mastery learning.
However, competency based education cannot fulfil its goals unless accompanied by high quality assessments and assessment systems.
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Competency based assessment is a process where a teacher works with a learner to collect evidence of competence, using the benchmarks provided by the learning outcomes as articulated in the competence statement in the curriculum. At the essence, it is not about passing or failing a candidate since the collected evidence is represents more than just setting a test. During a school term, a learner may be required to undertake a series of tasks for assessment purposes such as assignments, projects, tests, exams or labs. It is the sum of all these assessments that deems a learner to be competent (or not).
The assessment process should be considered to be part of the learning process identifying gaps as learning opportunities to develop skills, not failures. It is a collaborative process to be negotiated with the trainee and not a one-off event that is imposed. Therefore, the learner is given many opportunities to demonstrate skill using the mastery learning approach and the assessment process should allow the capturing and recording of these demonstrations.
In the webinar 2 resource park, we spoke about the constructive alignment of all components involved in the implementation of the competency-based learning process. As you are aware, competency-based education starts by identifying the learning outcomes for a given course before commencing the course. The next step is to develop assessment activities for the outcomes (objectives).