compare the strengths and limitations of a range of assessment methods

Direct observation in the primary source of gathering evidence within NVQs as it is the most appropriate way of presenting naturally occurring evidence. You’re watching the candidate carry out his routine work but on the other hand the candidate may perform for you or become very nervous with you watching. Performance evidence demands consistent and repeated performance to the required standard.

Work products might be pre op checks, job descriptions, duty rosters, check lists, accident forms, policies and procedures, records of phone calls, records of correspondence communication book records.

Work products about clients or staff should not be photocopied and put in the portfolio. Assessors should view them and fill in the relevant sheet showing what was read, where its kept and for which PCs, it is relevant and attach it to an Evidence Record sheet.

The candidates contribution to the Work Product needs to be made clear. Putting in an organisational policy or procedure does not show evidence of the candidate’s skill or knowledge unless there is evidence to show. They understand the policy or procedure or they have applied it to their own area of work or they have trained their staff in it or they have used the policy or procedure.

Generally certificates only provide proof of attendance at a course and are not a test of knowledge or competence. Assessors may need to ask questions to test competence or knowledge. Some assessors now show proof of competence across defined situations and this provides good evidence. If candidates are keen to keep certificates in their portfolio don’t discourage them, these could be kept in the “Supporting Evidence” section at the back.

Check and fill in the Witness Status List at the front of the candidate’s portfolio with regards to who can be used as a witness

A witness should ideally hold the NVQ assessor award and be in a supervisory capacity to the candidate. Colleagues can give Witness statements but in a small environment issues of pressure and collusion can arise.

Assessors can use witnesses to confirm the content of a Candidate Report by writing a supporting statement at the end of the evidence record sheet. There are two types of witness – the expert witness and the non-expert witness.

An expert witness is someone given the role of regularly and systematically observing and reporting on candidates when they are performing tasks which produce evidence towards an NVQ and who is occupationally competent, with the necessary expertise in the area for which they are providing testimony. This information should be noted by the assessor.

Briefed by the QA to ensure that they understand the standards to which the evidence relates because the expert witness testimony is more rigorous and covers a wider range of the candidate’s performance, it usually has greater weight than the testimony of other witnesses. Non experts my also be used as witnesses, however, their evidence may be less reliable than that of the expert witness as they are unlikely to be familiar with the standards being assessed.

Assessors must judge the validity of all witness testimonies. NVQ units cannot be achieved by relying on witness testimony alone.

Achievement of an NVQ unit will always involve observation of the candidate by a qualified assessor taking account of the evidence provided by witness testimony.

This is where the candidate cannot provide evidence to cover PCs and where asking questions may be insufficient. Examples might be dealing with a health emergency or working with someone who challenges the service.

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