Representing defining and using ability competency and similar concepts
Qualification and assessment
An ability (including skill, competence, competency, etc.)
can often be assessed, and some assessments lead to qualifications,
which are often taken as evidence for abilities.
It may be useful to sketch out a personal view on the relationships between these concepts.
What is a qualification?
For the European Learner Mobility work, I suggested this definition for qualification:
status awarded by a provider to a learner,
meaningful within a system of education and within the society in which that system is embedded.
- It is always the result of an assessment
- (unassessed qualification is as meaningless as any you can buy on the web)
- It may follow as the result of a course, and course completion may be one of the requirements for the qualification.
- Normally, it is backed by a recognised awarding body, but the exact relationship to this body may vary. The body may:
- teach and assess;
- carry out the assessment;
- moderate the assessments;
- validate the assessment procedure.
What is an assessment?
- An assessment is an impersonal actionpattern that gives some result about a person and an ability.
- The result may be expressed (in part at least) as a "level".
- The overall result may be composed of results from the components.
- The composition can be any formula or algorithm.
- It may include sub-components which may also be composite (to any level).
- An assessment component may include:
- tests giving a result
- written tests
- practical tests (including e.g. OSCEs)
- viva examination
- coursework / assignments / dissertations / portfolios, all of which have
- a definition of the product to be produced
- some assessment procedure resulting in a result
- attested evidence from practice, with a result (often a simple tick)
- any other achievement, counted into the assessment process (e.g. APL)
- requirements for attendance
- Assessment may be carried out, and a result created, by:
The only absolute requirement for something to count as assessment
is that the person to be assessed must take part in the assessment
process in a way that the result depends on his or her performance.
- the person assessed (self-assessment)
- one or more peers
- one or more experts
- assessors appointed by an awarding body
- people from an interested group (e.g. clients)
- members of the public
- an automatic or computer system
- Ability, assessment and level
- The relationship between these is still very much an open question.
However, on deeper consideration,
the relationships of satisfaction and contribution
belong, not to ability definitions as such, but to the results of assessements,
which may be levels.
- Ability as substantive v ability heading as tag
- Some ability headings are not really assessable as such.
These may be functioning not as abilities proper,
but as categories or headings for types of ability.
The main drawback here is that there is no generally applicable or agreed typology for abilities.
Next: related work.