Norman Evans writes about the diversity of evidence and assessment methods in RPL, both of which are considered and chosen via the professionals’ (facilitator and assessor/s) judgements.
‘As with all academic assessments the method of assessment needs to be appropriate for what is being assessed…Whatever manner of assessment is used, it must be such that the judgement made can be considered by external examiners and boards of examiners alongside and with the same degree of confidence as other more traditionally assessed performances such as formal examination results.’ (Evans, N. P.81)However, the discipline within which the candidate wishes to be assessed will also determine what form the evidence comes in and what assessment method is used;
‘…the nature of the discipline heavily influences the most appropriate approach to indentification of prior learning. These variations between the disciplines also can produce different approaches to assessment.’ (Evans, N. P.83)
To make an informed professional judgement of a candidate’s skills, the context for the assessment may be ‘work based’. Assessors and facilitators may visit the candidate’s place of employment. (This is a practice run through Otago Polytechnic’s CAPABLE department – ‘Work Based learning’)
As well as the reasons behind a candidate engaging in RPL and/or what qualification the candidate is hoping to earn, it is a facilitator or assessor’s subjective beliefs, unique perspectives and experience that determines what might be considered evidence in a prior learning assessment situation.
This is because learning in the 21st century takes place in mixed forms – any time, any place. (Carpenter, H)
The places where RPL is assessed and the evidence material for RPL could be as diverse as snowflakes. However the facilitator and assessor must be sensitive enough, or similar in experience to the candidate enough to appreciate the learning. I see this as a major hurdle for RPL.
A network of experts available for consultation would be ideal. However consultation would need to happen within the time-frame of the candidate’s RPL process. (Another hurdle)
Carpenter, H. One Assessor’s Perspective. CAPABLE NZ website. www.capablenz.co.nz/about-us/what-our-assessors-say/dr-heather-carpenter.html
Evans, N. Experiential Learning – Assessment and Accreditation. P. 81, 83. Routledge, London. 1992.
Module 5 - Process and tools for assessment.
- Personal report or narrative by the candidate
- Direct evidence, and
- Indirect evidence
- Understanding the standards
- Defining the nature of acceptable evidence
- Constructing the portfolio
- Preparing for assessment.
1 -Pros and Cons – Advantages and Disadvantages of RPL (recognition of prior learning) in a tertiary setting.