Assessment of vocational training, Australian style

An interesting principle we should adopt?

Discovered via a comment (No. 9) on Matthew Taylor’s fascinating open letter to Michael Gove about where he’s trying to take education in England.

In Australia’s vocational training system, they have a principle that you can’t use as an assessment tool anything that is not required to do the job for which you are being trained. So, when assessing a welder, you can’t ask them to compose an essay about welding as part of the assessment: the job does not require that degree of literacy. You can ask them to complete a safety form, as that is a requirement of the job. This principle makes traditional teachers uncomfortable at first, but what you soon learn is that it is no less rigourous to ask them to be able to perform different types of welds using different materials under exam conditions. And in the end, would you want the guy building the train you ride to work to have been assessed that way, or to have written an essay about it?

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