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Models for competency assessments

Learning units are composed towards sets of competencies which are behind the performance of a certain occupational task. They contain elements of theoretical knowledge in combination with planning skills, technical and social competencies. The assessment of such competency bundles can be carried out in one assignment covering all elements or in a combination of different types of evidence to be produced by the trainee. (adapted from Reglin/Schöpf 2012b)

Model 1 – Single complex assignment:
This technique aims at assessing all competency elements of a learning unit in one assignment. Its appeal lies in the fact that it provides the candidate with the opportunity to demonstrate the different competencies in their actual interrelationships. On the other hand, assignments capturing the whole range of a learning unit, would first have to be identified or designed especially for the purpose and they would probably be extremely time-consuming.

Model 2 – Complex task supplemented by compact tests: This model uses a final practical assignment for assessing the central competencies of a learning unit but not representing all of them. Several elements of knowledge and skills are assessed already during the course of the training by tests or observation of performance at the workplace. These interim assessments leave scope for a flexible design of the final assignment which captures the most characteristic features of a job task. The completeness of the assessment is thus observed, while its holistic nature is reduced, as some competencies are assessed isolated from the overall context.

Model 3 – Project assignments of increasing complexity, supplemented by compact tests:
In this model the emphasis is not on one final assignment. The assessment uses several project tasks of medium range during the course of the training. The complexity of these tasks is gradually increased while recently acquired competencies are being assessed along with competencies already tested at an earlier stage. These tasks are complemented by selective tests confined to single skills. The advantage of this model, apart from its flexibility is its formative character: The learning process is continuously inspected and trainees‘ progress is made transparent to them, giving them the chance to amend intermediate results. This kind of continuous assessment can be valuable for a quality control of the training process. A drawback is the comparatively high effort necessary for the design of projects, regular assessments and documentation.