Assessment and Recognition

consider how learner achievement will be measured, from the outset, and with what ultimate goal

In this section of the WBL Toolkit, different tools and products are provided with a view to:

  • exemplifying mechanisms for the formative and summative assessment of work-based learning;
  • exemplifying processes tied to the formal recognition of work-based learning, allowing for the accumulation and portability of achieved learning outcomes.

Assessment and recognition is an important and integral part of the learning process with activities ranging from the relatively simple certification of learners (often attendance based) through to more complex mechanisms that centre on measuring progress and achievement against a series of pre-determined learning outcomes. Each of these processes has its place and each contributes to the ultimate goal of valuing (formal and non-formal) learning.

Assessment is often referred to as a process of gathering data. Once a starting point or baseline has been established alongside clear learning goals or targets, there are two assessment stages worthy of note:

  • formative assessment is often considered during the learning period, with a focus on confirming progress and initiating dialogue with the learner; in some cases, formative assessment results are recorded and used to evidence achievement as part of a final qualification or award; formative assessment tools can include learner observation, written tests, presentations, interviews and/or self-assessment;
  • summative assessment often takes place after a period of learning has been completed, with a focus on eventual learning (or learning outcomes) achievement; summative assessment tools can include examinations, projects, portfolios and/or presentations.

Recognition can be considered in a similar manner, with those seeking formative recognition often content to have some form of acknowledgement that a learning process has been successfully undertaken, using this for personal or career development purposes (without any form of formal certification or award); on the contrary, those seeking summative recognition are often looking to have achieved learning (or learning outcomes) formally recognised, usually as part of a qualification or programme of learning. To enable summative recognition, it is important to fully document all learning assessment activities and results.

In work-based learning circles, assessment and recognition can involve both internal and external actors, including mentors, tutors, trainers, assessors and those ultimately responsible for learning recognition.


Further Reading

 European Guidelines for Validating Non-formal and Informal Learning (Cedefop, 2009)

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Case Examples

Comparative Report: Learners’ View on Work-Based Learning - Chapter 2 (WBLQUAL Consortium, 2012)

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