4zzz_jan_rnd_2011CMTO Training Manager Giordana Caputo has been fielding a range of questions from trainers around the completion of assessments.  Here she shares her experience on making sure trainees have every available opportunity to be marked competent...

Problem No. 1: Students can not attend sessions

CMTO Training sessions are designed so that some assessment of student competency can take place during face-to-face training sessions, either through verbal questioning, practical demonstrations, group work and quizzes.

This can pose a problem when trainees are unable to attend a particular session

FACTS:

The CMTO Student Handbook states:

"Attendance at scheduled classes is important in ensuring you gain the maximum benefits associated with your training and fulfil the attendance requirements of your course.

Students are responsible for notifying their trainer if they are unable to attend a training session for whatever reason."

ADVICE:

Generally in my experience I firstly stress the importance of attendance at particular sessions, ie, sessions where group work is required and where a practical demonstration is required (these requirements should be obvious from the session plans).

I then try and arrange it so these sessions are scheduled to suit the majority of trainees- this may mean running them at a different time or day than the usual timetable.

Where a student can not attend one of these sessions I provide them with a few alternatives, including  whether they might be able to attend part of the session where the group work or prac occurs, or completing the work online using the Moodle, or using a 'workplace supervisor' to sign off on a practical demonstration (this may be a station volunteer or worker who has some relevant experience).

I then see if I can arrange a catch up session 1-2 hours before or after the next session that they can attend to catch up and talk over any issues and sign off on assessments.  As a requirement for these I tell them they have to read through the resource booklet  and attempt the assessment before they come to the catch up session.

The other thing that is built into the timetable are the end of term Assessment sessions, there is approximately 6 hours at the end of each term which can be spread among trainees needing time to catch up or do face-to-face assessments.

Problem no. 2 Collecting Assessments

Trainees have a tendency to complete some assessment tasks in class, and then want to take them home to tidy them up and hand in later. Of course this can mean that the trainer never sees the assessment evidence again!

FACTS:

The CMTO  policy is that each student will be given every reasonable opportunity to complete their qualification.

So this means that the trainer must be completely on top of what each trainee needs to complete for every unit and make a reasonable effort to get the assessments completed.

ADVICE:
As well as giving trainees a deadline for workbooks, collect assessments as you go & be flexible in your approach:

- Track at each session what the student has completed for that particular unit using the online trainer report

- Collect any assessments AS they are finished and mark and give feedback at the earliest opportunity

- Collect and keep copies of Assessor checklists & observation checklists as you complete them

- Be flexible in the way assessments are delivered, in terms of using workplace supervisors & online tools to assess competency

- Communicate with the student about what is required to achieve competency and plan ways to achieve this within a given timeframe.


Problem No. 3-Nothing was handed in!

Some trainees will just not be able to make the commitment required to complete assessments for  the entire qualification, this doesn't mean you can't mark them as competent in some units.

FACTS

The CMTO Student Handbook states:
"Where a student has undertaken an assessment and it has been marked as NYC (Not Yet Competent), they can re-sit the test, or have a re-assessment. If they are deemed NYC for a second and/or third time, they are to re-enrol in that unit/ subject. Re-enrolment will include re-training and therefore a re-enrolment fee (if applicable) for the unit in question.

Competency-based training places emphasis on the workplace application of attained knowledge and skills - not on how long a student spent in training or the amount of knowledge acquired in a formal learning environment."

ADVICE:

Even if students do not hand in all their assessment evidence for an entire course,  they may be able to be marked competent for particular units, according to the evidence you as the trainer have collected along the way.

You may have conducted workplace observations, verbal questioning and seen evidence produced during a session so you can mark them according to the unit competencies.

So keep a record of these in your online trainer report,

- Collect any assessments AS they are finished and mark and give feedback at the earliest opportunity

- Collect and keep copies of Assessor checklists & observation checklists as you complete them

This is really important as it means they receive a statement of attainment which can then be used for Credit Transfer if they ever decide to finish the course.

Problem No. 3-We've run out of time!

The CMTO is only funded for a certain amount of trainer hours per course and many trainers already go above and beyond these hours to ensure their trainees have the best opportunity to finish.

That's the nature of community radio stations, lots of people working very hard towards a common goal.

FACT:

The Student and Trainer Handbooks also state:
"At the CMTO we understand the importance of adult learning principles in the delivery of effective training. We believe that all students should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and to understand that as learners, they have an active role to play in their training/learning and assessment process."

ADVICE:

I think a really important thing is to give the trainees a deadline for work to be submitted and assessment to be undertaken, if they don't meet the deadline then they need to be referred to the CMTO to be re-enrolled in another course.

I usually make the final deadline four weeks after the very last class, and I send regular messages to the trainees about getting their work in.

Then I do my final trainer report and refer any outstanding student assessments to the CMTO for follow up.

Ultimately the student does have a responsibility to provide their trainer with the evidence required to prove their competency,  if they can not do this, we can not assess them.

Share your tips and feedback about assessing students in the Trainer Forum