VET Assessment: A Student Perspective

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Smith, Larry and Clayton, Berwyn (2011) VET Assessment: A Student Perspective. In: 14th AVETRA Annual Conference: Research in VET: Janus - Reflecting back, projecting forward, 28th -29th April, Melbourne.


This paper provides insights into the perceptions and perspectives of vocational education students regarding the relevance and quality of the assessment processes they have experienced in the VET sector. It is based on a series of semi-structured interviews (Borg&Gall 1989) conducted over a two year period with 132 vocational learners. The focus of the interviews was on what the students were actually thinking and feeling about the assessment process as they experienced it. Purposive sampling was used, with the final sample generally representative of the Australian vocational education and training student population with respect to training provider, geographic location, gender, cultural background, age and industry sector. A thematic approach (Leedy 1997) was used to analyse the data, with the focus on the common ‘themes’ (sets of related issues, suggestions, perspectives) that emerged from an holistic analysis of the data. The reporting of the findings in the paper includes actual comments made by students. Key findings include: quality assessment processes are seen to be essential for giving industry credibility to the qualification; the nature and quality of the assessment process is closely linked to student self-perception as a learner; current assessment processes are frequently seen to focus on the quantity rather than the quality of the evidence collected; written tests and examinations are seen to significantly disadvantage learners with inadequate literacy skills, and generally are not believed to be a powerful way of validating the outcomes of learning; assessment standards and processes are seen to exhibit marked inconsistencies across providers for students undertaking the same programs of study or for adults seeking recognition of their prior learning; ungraded competency-based assessment processes are not perceived to provide a strong motivation to students to achieve excellence; and there are widespread concerns among students about the educational and industry-based credibility of some assessors.

Additional Information

Conference held on Thursday, 28 – Friday, 29 April 2011,
Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne, VIC

Item type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1301 Education Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > SEO Classification > 9301 Learner and Learning
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Work-Based Education Research Centre (WERC)
Keywords ResPubID23932, vocational education and training sector, secondary data analysis, adult learning theory, adult learner, self-perception, formal learning, assessment plan, competency-based assessment, RPL evidence, recognition of prior learning
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