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Assessment Certification Examination (ACE)
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)

HSC assessment of VET courses: competency-based assessment

ACE 8094

Last Updated: 25 July 2018

In a competency-based course, assessment of competencies is standards-referenced. This means that a participant’s performance is judged against a prescribed standard contained in each unit of competency, not against the performance of other participants.

The purpose of assessment is to judge competence on the basis of the performance criteria set out under each element of competency. A participant is judged either ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent’. This judgement is made on the basis of a range of evidence, which may be in a variety of forms.

Competency-based assessment focuses on the requirements of the workplace. Competence incorporates all aspects of work performance, including problem-solving and the capacity to apply knowledge and skills in both familiar and new situations. Assessment of competence involves the assessment of skills and knowledge combined.

It is not necessary, nor is it desirable, for individual performance criteria to be demonstrated separately for assessment purposes. Rather, assessors should adopt an integrated or holistic approach to assessment. This means that a number of elements of competency or even several units of competency are assessed together. This method of assessment is strongly recommended because the concept of competence involves the integration of a wide range of skills, knowledge and attitudes.

The evidence guide in a unit of competency identifies the specific skills and knowledge required to demonstrate achievement of the unit of competency.