The Differences in the Paradigms of Course Delivery
As we discover the various processes and assumptions underlying the rationale behind various academic policies and required procedures, it is apparent that the fundamental difference between Achievement and Competency paradigms are not understood. Achievement is not Competency with a different marking system. Policies and procedures should reflect this or we lose the benefits and fail to deliver what the market demands. What follows is an attempt to capture the essence of the delivery and assessment issues in each paradigm, and remark on some of the policies where they are not recognised appropriately and this impacts our ability to ...view middle of the document...
2. Minimum standards must be met. Higher aptitudes are not a typical employer consideration (“can they do this job?” and “can they fit in to our team?”, not “will they have a career in this company?”).
3. Students are already familiar with this approach (NCEA conditioning)
If you assert these assumptions, then the following are therefore critical operations we must do to achieve this:
1. Detailed course learning design, and assessment design is required. Accuracy, completeness are paramount.
2. Coverage of learning is critical.
3. Standards of learning, standards of achievement, and benchmarking around those are critical.
Any failure to deliver an assessment fairly is therefore critical. Review, challenge etc. processes moderate this. Any failure to deliver an associate learning experience is also critical. Assessments must be thorough across the entire range of skill elements (i.e. not sampled).
This is not education per se, but training. Standardised, modularised, able to be transferred and taught by anyone appropriately skilled. Staff skills are around a detail focus (for assessment), and a strong focus on practical skills, and creating student engagement.
The academic implications therefore demand tight controls on assessment, lots of moderation, a very detailed approach carefully planned in advance. Risk management considerations for this would encourage practices such as multiple assessment opportunities (resits and resubmits), farm-gate assessment, double-dipping assessments, and a variety of mechanism to assert pre-existing skills. There are particular risks around students game-playing assessments and minimal engagement, but as the system asserts a set minimal is OK, the issue is really about crossing the boundary from competent to not yet competent.
By implication academic practices such as scaling are a nonsense – either the student achieves a standard or they don’t. In many areas the assessments can be pre-released as the performance of them is not reliant on special knowledge, but an actual demonstration. The only assessment result adjustment needed is where the learning experience or assessment items fail to be implemented in an appropriate manner. However as the standards are usually externally predicated, what we usually do to compensate for these issues is usually to offer another opportunity.
The Achievement Paradigm
In considering the Achievement paradigm we are faced with the following high level assumptions:
1. The employers seek graduates who are dynamic, good communicators, independent learners, with a progressive attitude (observed in good grades representing cohort ranking, and right attitude). The ability to be a strong contributor, but also work well in teams (with other specialists) is essential.
2. Current skill sets that match or support current industry practices and tools are an advantage only (and a differentiator between polytechnics and universities). Some industry certifications are...