The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of section 26G of the Skills Development Act, of 1998 as a juristic person. It was listed as a public entity in Government Gazette No 33900 of 31 December 2010 effective from 1 April 2010 to establish the Sub-framework for Trades and Occupations. It is responsible for the development, maintenance and quality assurance of qualifications within its sub-framework.
External integrated summative assessment is an integral and critical component of the QCTO’s quality assurance system. External integrated summative assessment ensures consistency and credibility of the assessment of occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications. The external integrated summative assessment will be conducted by the relevant AQP, applying nationally standardised assessment instruments.
For learners to qualify for an external integrated summative assessment, they must provide proof of completion of all required modules. Foundational Learning Competence (FLC) is a pre- requisite for the external integrated summative assessment of all occupational qualifications and part qualifications at NQF levels 3 and 4.
2. Objectives and criteria for assessment
The objectives and criteria for External Integrated Summative Assessment are to:
· outline how the external integrated summative assessment will be conducted, by whom how and where i.e. the model to be used
· outline the requirements for the external integrated summative assessment for occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications and guide all assessment
· ensure that all assessment practices are aligned to legislation and national policy environment;
· ensure that assessment is understood as an integrated process within the learning experience; and
· outline the most appropriate way for the AQP to carry out its functions for the given context.
3. Legislative and regulatory framework
In terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998), the QCTO must design and develop occupational qualifications and standards and ensure the quality assurance thereof. A nationally standardised external summative assessment is an integral part of the quality assurance of occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the QCTO Policy on Delegation of Qualification
Assessment to Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs).
4. Audience and applicability
This policy applies to AQPs responsible for developing standardised assessment instruments in accordance with the external assessment specifications document and accredited assessment centres responsible for conducting external summative assessments. The policy is applicable to the assessment of occupational qualifications and part qualifications registered on the NQF.
5. Rationale for a flexible approach
The assessment strategy will vary according to a number of factors. Since the qualifications in the Occupational Qualifications Framework cover a variety of occupational contexts, levels of complexity, percentage of knowledge, practical skills and work experience as well as NQF levels, there can be no one model for external assessment which will suit all occupational qualifications. Part of the design process for each qualification focuses on determining the most efficient, effective, practical and economic way to conduct valid external assessment in the context of that particular qualification and this information is outlined in the Qualification Assessment Specifications document.
6. Underlying principles and values
The following principles and values must be taken into consideration during the development of the processes.
External Assessment systems and processes must:
6.1 be fair, reliable, valid, ethical and transparent
6.2 be consistent across time, place, role players and respond to a non-sectoral demand led model
6.3 use methodologies that are fit-for-purpose and reflect a consistent level of higher cognitive challenge
6.4 avoid tendencies of exclusivity
7. Qualification Assessment Specifications
The QCTO has introduced a compulsory external assessment as a prerequisite for certification for all occupational qualifications. The purpose of this is to establish and maintain a national standard for each occupational qualification. By ensuring the validity and reliability of the external summative assessment based on a national standard the QCTO aims to enhance the credibility of the certificates issued to qualifying learners for occupational qualifications.
Internal assessment is conducted by providers in line with the guidelines given in the curriculum for each curriculum component. Workplaces offering the work experience are provided with a work experience record which must be completed and signed off, as well as specifications regarding supporting evidence to be collected. The learner achievements resulting from internal assessment are recorded in statements of results. Candidates become eligible for external assessment when they have all the statements of results as specified in the assessment specifications.
Because the external assessment strategy needs to be fit for purpose, a Qualification Assessment Specifications document spelling out the requirements for external assessment is developed for each occupational qualification. Assessment instruments will be developed in accordance with the assessment strategy for each occupational qualification. The actual assessment is thus standardised nationally for all candidates for any single occupational qualification.
When an organisation is appointed as an Assessment Quality Partner by the QCTO for a specified occupational qualification, its first task is to participate in the development of the Qualification Assessment Specifications for the qualification in question. The Qualification Assessment Specifications are developed during the qualification development process and it is expected that a minimum of 50% of the working group members should be experts in that particular occupational qualification.
8. Criteria for the development of the external assessment specifications document
8.1 The external assessment strategy must be included.
8.2 Key occupational outcomes must be described.
8.3 The point(s) at which the occupational qualification is to be assessed must be indicated.
8.4 Critical identified elements of ‘external assessment’ to be externally moderated (if any)
must be indicated.
8.5 Eligibility requirements for candidates for external assessment must be specified.
8.6 Exemplars of external assessment instruments must be included.
8.7 The language(s) of assessment must be included.
8.8 Minimum requirements (qualifications/experience) for the assessment specialists must be specified.
9. Criteria for the development of external assessment instruments
9.1 The guidelines on the content to be assessed should ensure consistency and quality across time, place, role players and occupations.
9.2 Assessment instruments should be developed to ensure the validity, consistency, quality and credibility of the assessments.
9.3 Assessment instruments should be based on the outcomes of the occupational qualification or part qualification and assessment criteria stated in the assessment
9.4 Assessment instruments should be developed by subject matter experts in a particular occupational qualification or part qualification.
10. Assessment techniques
A range of assessment techniques to ensure that assessment is educationally sound, appropriate to the discipline or field of study, all outcomes are assessed and the criteria of validity, reliability, authenticity and feasibility are met will be spelled out in the curriculum component of the occupational qualification, trade or part qualification.
11. Responsibilities for the implementation of the external integrated summative assessment policy
11.1. Roles and responsibilities of the QCTO
The QCTO must
11.1.1. Appoint an AQP for each occupational qualification or part qualification.
11.1.2. Publish assessment specifications document, developed as part of the qualifications development process.
11.1.3. Monitor and evaluate AQPs performance in managing the external integrated summative assessments and where necessary undertake audits to determine the quality performance of AQPs.
11.1.4. Ensure that national standards are met through monitoring and evaluation of the
execution of functions by the AQP.
11.1.5. Evaluate the assessment and moderation processes.
11.1.6. Maintain a database of accredited SDPs and assessment centres/sites.
11.1.7. Monitor adherence to the QCTOs Code of Conduct for AQPs.
11.2. Roles and responsibilities of the AQP
The AQP will:
11.2.1. Ensure that it receives learner enrolment data from accredited Skills
Development Providers (SDPs) on time for planning purposes.
11.2.2. Liaise with the accredited assessment centres and approved sites on assessment instruments to be administered for a particular session.
11.2.3. Ensure that complete assessment instruments and related documentation are forwarded to the accredited assessment centres and approved sites in a secure
manner agreed upon.
11.2.4. Keep a record of assessment specialists that assess and moderate the external assessments involving practical tasks which are conducted at decentralised
assessment centres that simulate working conditions or approved workplace sites.
11.2.5. Ensure that learner results are credible and that the assessment process was fair, valid, reliable and unbiased.
11.3. Roles and responsibilities of assessment centres
Accredited assessment centres are addressed in a separate policy as they must meet a number of criteria. The accredited assessment centres and their approved sites will ensure that:
11.3.1. Assessment instruments should be developed to ensure the validity, consistency, quality and credibility of the assessments.
11.3.2. There are sufficient invigilators during assessments and they receive appropriate training.
11.3.3. There are no fraudulent activities during the assessment.
11.3.4. The safe storage of assessment instruments and related documentation is adhered to.
11.3.5. Assessment results are delivered to the relevant AQP within the stipulated time and in a manner agreed upon.
11.3.6. Assessment materials are marked and results are captured accordingly.
11.4. Roles and responsibilities of systems auditors, invigilators and administrators
These key role-players need not necessarily be subject matter experts or expert practitioners since they focus on compliance. They check:
11.4.1.That all relevant assessment policies and procedures are implemented correctly
11.4.2.The secure handling of the assessment instruments and
11.4.3.The procedures for checking the identity of candidates and
11.4.4.The authenticity of the assessment processes.
11.5. Roles and responsibilities of the skills development providers
The skills development providers will:
11.5.1. Conduct internal assessment in line with the guidelines given in the curriculum for each curriculum component.
11.5.2. Record the learner achievements resulting from internal assessment in statements of results.
11.5.3. Enrol candidates with assessment centres when they become eligible for external assessment.
11.5.4. Coordinate the provision and assessment of the knowledge and practical skills
curriculum components of an occupational qualification based on the recommendations from the AQP.
11.5.5. Liaise with workplaces to assist candidates to have access to work experience.
11.6. Roles and responsibilities of the learners
The learners must:
11.6.1. Take responsibility for their learning and assessment by being active participants;
11.6.2. Participate in assessment processes in an honest and disciplined manner;
11.6.3. Monitor their learning towards readiness to conduct an external summative assessment and inform the provider when ready for external assessment;
11.6.4. Know the appeals procedure of the AQP so that they can follow it should there
be a need to do so.
12. Complaints and Appeals
12.1. Complaints about the assessment and assessment process by learners should be lodged at the accredited assessment centre or approved site.
12.2. Appeals on the assessment and assessment process by learners should be lodged with the relevant AQP, in which the decision of the AQP appeals committee shall be final.
13. Coordination of Component Provision
The QCTO will ensure, for occupational qualifications, that a single agent is responsible to assist learners to navigate through all three learning components and have access to the external summative assessment.
14. Quality assurance and monitoring of policy implementation
14.1. The effectiveness of the policy on the external integrated summative assessment shall be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis against the set quality assurance standards and associated performance indicators to identify and implement appropriate amendments aimed at improving the effectiveness, efficiency, economy and impact of the said policy and procedures.
14.2. Best practices in the occupational space for policy implementation will be identified and best practice models will be used to benchmark the practice amongst AQPs.
14.3. On appointment the Assessment Quality Partner signs a Service Level Agreement with the QCTO. This provides a schedule for implementation of the QCTO model for external assessment, giving deadlines for each requirement during the first year of
appointment. This schedule provides the basis for the QCTO to monitor, evaluate
and review the initial activities of the AQP.
14.4. In addition, the QCTO has a standardised data reporting template which must be completed and submitted annually. This provides specified quantitative data to the QCTO.
14.5. Each year after the first year of appointment the AQP must also complete and submit
a qualitative report, which serves the dual purpose of a self-evaluation, assisting in strategic planning for the coming year, and of providing the QCTO with the basis for continued monitoring, evaluation and review.