As our intention is to create a European network for international cooperation to share best practices in the field of competence assessment in a competence-based model, we want to previously fix some concepts that will be useful in the future and will helps us to manage the network, focusing on its basic objectives and struggling to spread the initiatives to other European institutions.
So, we consider that a declaration of the initial principles that will rule the whole network activity should be the starting point of the experience.
Consequently we should express which are to our mind the main objectives of the network and agree on the most relevant intentions of its partnership.
At this point, we should also clarify which the initial members of the networks will be, and which the perspectives for increasing its membership are, as it will be a good indicator of the success of our proposal.
Once the objectives are clear for all it will be the time to write the list of activities which are going to be the special focus of our attention, advancing a calendar of managing the everyday tasks of the network according to a previously designed operational strategy.
Finally, a strategy for monitoring an evaluating the outcomes of the network is obviously necessary, as well as to determine the strategies for monitoring and evaluating the competences of our competence-based model which will be the core of the network.
There is a need to provide VET learners with specific vocational competences and broader key competences, including transversal competences. These competences should enable students to manage their careers and play an active role in society which will positively influence the promotion of equity, social cohesion and active citizenship.
Competence, according to Cedefop, is the ability to apply learning outcomes adequately in a defined context (education, work, personal or professional development). Competence is not limited to cognitive elements; it also encompasses functional aspects (involving technical skills) as well as interpersonal attributes (social or organisational skills) and ethical values.
The European Parliament and the Council adopted the European Framework of Key Competences in 2006. This framework defined eight key competences:
- Communication in the mother tongue
- Communication in a foreign language
- Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology
- Digital competence
- Learning to learn
- Social and civic competence
- Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
- Cultural awareness and expression.
It is stressed that:
- All these competences should be regarded as equally important, since each can contribute to a successful life in the knowledge society
- To some extent, they overlap and interlock
- Many themes should apply throughout this framework as they play a role in these key competences:
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and initiative
- Problem solving
- Risk assessment
- Decision taking
- Constructive management of emotions.
The integration of this type of competences to technical competence brings VET institutions to new and more flexible teaching and organizational situations that, at the same time, demands new learning scenarios. Learners under this model are more committed, involved and willing to work.
The combination of technical and transversal competences is referred as professional competences.
The implementation of professional competences to educational systems is in constant development and brings important benefits. However, these benefits are accompanied by the difficult of the process of assessment by trainers.
We believe that the assessment of professional or transversal competences is the core issue to be addressed in a competence-based training model.
Based on our own experience, we have concluded that the assessment of professional or transversal competences is the core issue to be addressed in a competence-based training model.
We believe that counting with good systems of assessment is the best way to accelerate the implementation of active learning methodologies to facilitate the acquisition of technical and transversal competences:
- Changing the competence assessment will change the way of teaching, planning and organization of learning.
- Teachers will adapt learning methodologies according to the form of assessment that will be applied to the student.
- To determine the current situation in the participant countries concerning competence assessment practices and tools.
- To define best practices.
- To design implementation plans.
- To implement assessment practices and tools in VET organizations.
- To develop new proposals and recommendations about methodologies and tools for competence assessment for policy makers and training agents.
- To share best practices cases in the field of competence assessment in a competence-based training model.
Initially the network will be composed by the following partners:
- Aalborg University
- Libera Unibersita di Bolzano
- Northern Regional College
- EUC SYD
- Mondragon Goi Eskola Politeknikoa
- Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovacao
These are the same partners of the project, and one of the first commitments will be to gain new partners for the network among the institutions which are fond of this training model and meet the requirements to join it. These conditions will be basically to have in force some kind of initiatives aimed to foster the competence-based training model and specifically the competence assessment.
- To launch projects at every partners’ organization to implement new learning environment.
- To establish a connexion among the different initiatives (see operational strategies) in our respective countries.
- To organize internal seminars with expert on new methodologies to sensitize and train VET teacher on the relevance of new methodologies and on the specific techniques that we want to promote.
- To establish calendars for the implementation of these new initiatives.
- To monitor the implementation at the VET schools
- To elaborate documentation and presentations on the topics of interest.
- To disseminate at local, regional, national and international level the approach and results of best practices in the field of competence assessment in a competence-based model.
During the project lifetime, network partners will meet regularly, 5 times, and a calendar for future encounters will be already agreed before the final Conference.
Partners will establish a dynamic to promote competence based learning in their organizations, mainly it will consist of creating learning communities participated by VET teachers who will be trained on new techniques to be later implemented in their VET centres.
Partners will regularly share materials and information on these initiatives in order to elaborate a coherent methodology which will be easier to transfer and communicate to potential user and partners of the network.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION STRATEGY
Monitoring and evaluation strategy of this experience will be agreed at the end of the project, once the partners have piloted the expected activities of CompAssess project.
The professional competences
The SET tool can be an initial proposal for evaluating the professional competences of students involved in these initiatives.