Ministry of Education, Guyana

Caribbean Association Of National Training Agencies (CANTA) - Quality Assurance Criteria And Guidelines for the Caribbean Vocational Qualification March 2009

Caribbean Association Of National Training Agencies (CANTA)
Quality Assurance Criteria And Guidelines for the Caribbean Vocational Qualification
March 2009


Introduction

The proposal for the free movement of certified skilled workers as one of the protocols of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and mandate from the CARICOM Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) has prompted the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA) to develop a mechanism for the establishment of a regional certification scheme to award the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ).

It is assumed that all countries:

  • Subscribe to the provision of standards-driven, competence-based training, assessment and certification systems as documented in the ‘CARICOM Process for Workforce Training, Assessment and Certification’ and
  • Adhere to the Regional Qualifications Framework with the five levels of certification.

The Regional Qualifications Framework is built on the philosophy of competence-based training, assessment and certification methodologies which lead to national and regional qualifications based on quality assurance mechanisms which govern the award of certificates and diplomas at various levels of competence.

Quality Assurance

It is important therefore that the quality assurance system implemented be of a consistently high standard, transparent and which can be subjected to repeated rigorous audit. As such, the principles of quality assurance involved in implementing the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) are applied throughout the entire process of training, assessment and certification. The areas under consideration are:

 

  • The development of training outcomes that reflect workplace requirements (occupational standards)
  • Training delivery
  • Assessment
  • Certification

The adherence to best practice by the Awarding Body is central to the quality assurance process.

  1. The development and validation of learning/training outcomes which match local, regional and international workplace requirements (occupational standards)

Occupational standards are statements about the knowledge, skills and attributes that individuals need to perform in the workplace. They are defined in terms of learning/training outcomes and form the basis for ensuring that training and assessment meet the needs of industry. They are defined and developed by practitioners from industry and therefore come endorsed from industry itself. These industry practitioners use international standards databases as the benchmark for developing local standards. These standards form the basis for National and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications.

Quality assurance requirements

National Training Agencies are required to adhere to the following guidelines when developing occupational standards and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications:

  • Criteria for Evaluating the Overall Format and Content of Occupational Standards for the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) – October 2008.
  • NVQ Design Criteria –September 2007

b. Training Delivery/ Approval of Assessment Centres

The second major area of quality assurance is in the delivery of training. This can be work-based, institutional –based, distance or a mix of training modalities. In each case, standards are defined for the delivery of training and assessment and providers are required to be approved: Approval Criteria cover:

  • Management of Information (record management, security and storage)
  • Staff resources
  • Physical resources
  • Learning resources
  • Statutory compliance
  • Internal verification procedures
  • Assessors

All assessment centres must satisfy the minimum requirements for competence-based training, assessment and certification. Awarding Bodies are responsible for approving centres to deliver CVQs.


Quality assurance requirements

National Training Agencies which have been authorised to award CVQs are required to specify and evaluate organizations against approval criteria for the areas listed above. The NTA’s Centre Approval Criteria must be submitted to the Quality Assurance Committee for endorsement.

c. Assessment
Assessment within the framework is defined as the process if collecting evidence and making judgements about whether or not competence has been achieved when measured against the occupational standards. The assessment system promotes authentic assessment and ensures a valid, reliable, and fair process. Assessment instruments are validated and assessors who conduct assessments are trained and certified in competence-based assessment methodology.

In order to ensure there is reliability and consistency in assessor judgements, internal and external verification (audits) are done periodically. The verification report and results are documented as part of the quality assurance strategy.

In the context of the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ), Internal Verification of the assessment of candidates is a quality assurance process carried out by a centre that is approved by an awarding body to offer one or more CVQs. The purpose of Internal Verification (IV) is to ensure the quality and consistency of assessment of candidates for CVQ awards within an approved centre and any of its satellites.

External Verification can be defined as a quality assurance process undertaken by the Awarding Body to ensure that an approved Centre and its satellites maintain the quality standards established by the Awarding Body.


Quality assurance requirements
In order to be registered as a CVQ Assessor and allowed to operate, persons must be trained to the standards for assessment, with the use of simulated activities to develop skills. They must however, be working towards certification (i.e. a statement of competence/unit recognition) within 6 months of the training. Evidence: training course mapped to the following units:

  • Plan assessment
  • Conduct assessment
  • Review assessment
  • Develop assessment tools.

CVQ Awarding Bodies and assessment centres are required to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Assessment Guidelines for the CVQ
  • Internal Verification Guidelines for the CVQ
  • External Verification Guidelines for the CVQ

The following monitoring arrangements for the delivery of CVQs are stipulated. CANTA through National Training Agencies should ensure that:

  1. Assessments are conducted by trained assessors. Evidence: Assessors are registered, training programme content.
  2. Assessments are conducted within approved centres. Evidence: List of approved centres.
  3. Verification of assessments is regularly conducted with the involvement of occupational experts. Evidence: List of verifiers, verification reports.
  4. Moderation of assessment results is conducted to maintain consistency. Evidence: moderation meeting attendance register, moderation reports.

d. Certification

Candidates are issued a Caribbean Vocational Qualification from the local awarding body, where applicable, on the basis of having met the requirements for certification. This is done on the basis that the training/assessment centre:

  1. subscribes to the regional qualifications framework
  2. has adhered to the standards-driven, competence-based approach to training and assessment and
  3. is subject to the quality assurance principles under the auspices of the local national training agency, focal point or accreditation body.

e. Awarding Body Best Practice

The quality assurance process for the CVQ is implemented and monitored by local national training agency or focal point. There are hallmarks of best practice in the delivery of N/CVQs with respect to:

Leadership and Management

  1. An effective risk management strategy is in place
  2. Clear lines of governance and accountability are in place
  3. An organisational structure is in place to deliver the business objectives

Awarding and Assessment

Provide an assessment and awarding service that is fit for purpose

Customer Service

Demonstrate a commitment to meeting and exceeding customer expectations

Design and Development

Demonstrate a robust system for the design, development and ongoing review of qualifications which meet the needs of users

Diversity

Demonstrate a strategy for promoting diversity and inclusion

Continuous Improvement

Demonstrate a culture of continuous improvement

Quality assurance requirements

Awarding bodies for the CVQ are required to demonstrate the Hallmarks of Best Practice for the Delivery of NVQs –2007

Conclusion

The quality assurance strategies set out above provide a framework for the delivery of a credible qualification which certifies the attainment of world-class standards. These strategies should be implemented consistently and will be added to, reviewed and updated in order to ensure that the desired quality product is delivered – a world-class workforce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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