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Is it fair to assess learner Skills Development Facilitators against something that isn’t in the Unit Standard?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax) 4 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #3453

    sylvia hammond

    This discussion posted by Celeste as part of another discussion on the QCTO is so important  that I’ve copied it out into a separate discussion – please read to the bottom and then respond as normally.

    Good day Lynel.

    I am so excited by the confirmation that I that I am not mad. All of the questions you posed are extremely valid and they all share my concerns. I have noted that you still have not received a response, but I am hoping that someone here will be able to help me find my way. Last week I sent off the following e-mail to Maswati Tshabalala (the head of the ETDP SETA QCTO).

    “I would really appreciate your guidance in the assessment standards for the common Skills Development Facilitation Unit Standards. I have a difference in opinion with assessor’s and moderator’s in this regard and we feel that the only way to resolve this is by going to the head of the ETQA. As a qualified and experienced assessor, moderator and learning programme designer, I am always cautious when providing feedback to learners where I am not convinced that the assessment is fair (in terms of the SO’s, AC’s and EEK).

     I understand that the very diverse roles and responsibilities of the SDF is extremely important to any organisation, and that if this function is not fulfilled by a competent person, the organisation will suffer. To get competent SDFs, we send them on training courses that typically cover US’s 15221, 15217, 15218, 15232 and 15228 (perhaps one or two more). My question though is in the interpretation of the SO’s, AC’s and EEK of the specific US’s listed above.

    1)    Which SO & AC requires the aspirant SDF to decode and record correct OFO codes relative to a job profile? I appreciate the importance of these codes when it comes to claiming back levies and contributing to updating the NSSL, but where are we expected to assess SDF’s on this requirement?   

    2)    Which SO & AC requires the aspirant SDF to develop / include strategic goals to support the organisations’ vision and mission? What if an organisation has an adequate V&M but it doesn’t necessarily have biannual or annual reviews of their strategic goals, they have it but it isn’t communicated down the line, or the performance management system is just something on paper? In assessing the aspirant SDF, does the omission of this justify a judgement of NYC?

    3)    Which SO & AC requires the aspirant SDF to develop / include an organogram of the organisation showing OFO codes against each position and indicating which positions are deemed as scarce and critical in accordance with the Sector Skills Plan of the SETA within which the organisation falls?

    4)    US 15228 SO3 AC2 states: “The quality team is assisted to sufficiently identify and define the key processes in the organisation that critically influence quality related to the skills development interventions identified in the organisation’s skills development plan” and the Range Statement lists a plethora of processes. I have come to realise that organised businesses that do not currently function as a recognised training / skills development organisation do not contain many of these processes. In particular

    • procuring, managing and maintaining financial, administrative and physical resources for skills development interventions
    • selecting, appraising, developing and registering trainers, assessors and other key skills development personnel
    • contracting providers
    • establishing and maintaining systems for learner entry, guidance and support services
    • establishing and maintaining a system to manage information related to skills development interventions (including learner enrollment and achievements, registration of assessors, impact on organisational objectives)
    • managing off-site practical/work-site components where applicable
    • methods and processes of assessment, including recognition of previous learning
    • designing curricula for skills development interventions
    • developing and/or procuring materials for skills development interventions
    • delivering skills development interventions
    • monitoring, evaluating and improving skills development interventions
    • evaluating and improving the quality management system
    • reporting on skills development interventions

     Is it fair of us to then require that the aspirant SDF design processes in a QMS format for assessment processes, especially if in the same facilitation group there are SDF’s who represent learning organisations or SDP’s whose QMS’s probably contain / addresses all these issues otherwise they wouldn’t be accredited by the SETA in the first place?

    One could then argue that this requirement serves to lock out the emerging SDF who is operating in the “wrong” business environment and serves as gatekeeper to protect those in the “right” environment.

     Again, I KNOW it is important for the SDF to be competent in all these aspects, but are these points something (s)he can be deemed NYC in by omission?”

    Given that the OFO codes are a relatively new thing, the US’s and Qualifications have all just been re-registered without amendments, BUT the WSP, EEP, SDL Claims, etc. all hinge on the allocation of the correct codes, how can we assess learners against something that isn’t in the US?

    I would really appreciate your help in this matter.

    Hi Celeste,

    thank you for your message.  I have not received the outcome as yet and are awaiting in anticipation to receive and share with you.  I have not forgotten, I promise you.  I wish I could assist you in your request for information, but at this stage we are awaiting pending questions that we have presented.  The only thing that I can give guidance on – regarding assessing someone on something that is not included within the Unit Standards is as follows:  All outcomes of the Unit Standard must be addressed.

    The importance of the said Unit standard is the purpose and People credited with this Unit Standard are able to assist an organisation in:

    • the identification and interpretation of quality assurance requirements for skills development practices
    • the design of a quality management system for skills development practices
    • the development of effectiveness indicators for skills development practices
    • the implementation and improvement of a quality management system for skills development practices. 

    This unit standard does not include OFO, decoding and allocation of OFO codes.  To my knowledge the said unit standard is written and aligned to the old framework and have not expired.  Why will you assess a learner on OFO codes within this unit standard then?  I am battling to see where this link comes in …….. it has been a long day.

    Hi Lynel

    Thank you for your reply.

    Your question “Why will you assess a learner on OFO codes..” is exactly where my argument with the assessor comes in. She is a qualified SDF and revamped the assessment to place emphasis on “delivering competent SDFs who will get the maximum return for their organisation”

    It is because of the 4 points mentioned above where ALL our learners are declared NYC – and I believe it is unfair.

    I then take it that you and I are on the same page, but I would really like to get more opinions from this community so that I can go into my meeting well prepared.

    Hi Celeste,

    This is a concern.  Learners are found competent when they have met all the outcomes of the Unit Standard.  No Assessor or Moderator may add additional criteria or outcomes as they please to a registered Unit Standard unless they have higher powers and authority to override SAQA or the ETDP SETA?.  If the qualified SDF and qualified Assessor has “revamped” the Assessment instrument and have changed the outcomes, then maybe you should as the ETDP SETA to sign this of noting the concerns of requirements added which does not fall under the Unit Standard at all. 

    If the Assessment Instrument has been changed to meet different outcomes than the assessment instruments signed off by the ETDP Seta which was part of the programme approval requirements initially, then you might face rejected credits when Verified by the ETDP Seta.  You need to make absolutely sure of what instruments have been signed off.  The Assessor must also ensure that he/she does not go against the code of conduct as a registered assessor with the ETDP SETA and must carefully go through the principles of assessment.  Is your SDF specialist qualified to assess OFO codes?  I think not, but I am open to discussions and to be given factual information to show that I am incorrect!

    The ETDP SETA’s Assessment and Moderation Policy stipulates: 

    Summative assessment must be conducted by an assessor registered with the ETDP SETA. Its purpose is to confirm that learners or RPL candidates have met all the requirements to be awarded a unit standard or qualification. Summative assessment should be made up of evidence collected through a variety of assessment methods and through activities that are part of current or previous work or life experience. The assessor‟s job is to evaluate the evidence presented against the requirements of a standard or qualification in order to decide whether or not credits or a qualification may be awarded.

    ETDQA registered assessors must:

    a) abide by the ETDQA‟s Code of conduct for assessors‟;

    b) plan and conduct assessment as outlined in the Unit Standard entitled “Level 5, ID 115753;

    c) assess learners against the relevant unit standard(s) and/or qualification(s);

    d) be guided by the provider’s assessment plan, guide, tools and reporting format;

    e) assess in a fair and transparent manner, avoiding bias and addressing barriers to learning;

    f) judge evidence observing the rules of evidence;

    g) give constructive feedback to learners; and

    h) give feedback to moderators on the unit standard(s) and/or qualification(s), as well as any difficulties pertaining to the conditions at the assessment venue or other factors possibly undermining the validity of the assessment results.

    I am open for debate.  As a registered Assessor and Moderator by various SETAs, I would be very careful of going against the stipulated standards, code of conduct, principles of assessment not to mention ensuring that learners are deemed NYC so that I can make an extra buck for remarking!  I am not saying that your Assessor is doing this, but I have come across individuals that makes a living out of it – I do not support those.  I am happy to be a whistle blower or to report them should they disadvantage any learner.

    Hi Celeste,

    This is grounds for “appeal” against the assessment”. addition may be made to a training course but only for valid reasons is there is a specific need. However, and this needs to be stressed, the assessment must be related to the SO”s and AC”S and competency declared based on these requirements. anything assessed outside of the SO’s and AC’s is unfair to the learner and constitutes grounds for appeal.  

    Hi Des! 

    I second that!

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  • #3468

    While I generally agree with the sentiments expressed here, I also want to point out that most unit standards are horribly out of date and are inflexible. If a training provider has included information, material, etc that is not specifically mentioned in the unit standard, because they are keeping abreast with developments in the field, then testing that material, in my opinion, would be legitimate. Hope I’m not opening a can of worms here. 

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  • #3467

    Sylvia thanks for reposting this.

    Lynel and Des, I second every point you have made. Even though I still haven’t received any word from the ETQA head, I am very happy with the feedback I have received thus far from you. (I was never under the impression that this is acceptable and definite grounds for appeal). 

    Des I hear you when you say that on can augment the training with what you believe is relevant facts or concepts, given that often the US is written very generically (or even poorly sometimes). It is for that reason that the facilitator, assessor and moderator MUST be subject matter experts in the specific field. As a Learning Programme Designer and Developer being a SME is advised but interpretation of the US is paramount. 

    I still have one problem though with specific reference to the range statement in the QMS US. Given that these P’s&P’s are specified, does it mean that ALL SDF’s MUST have these policies and procedures?

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  • #3466

    sylvia hammond

    At a meeting last week if I understood it correctly, it was suggested that all dates on qualifications were going to be extended – does anyone have knowledge of this?

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  • #3465

    Janelle Gravett

    As you have correctly mentioned above, assessment is against the unit standards and the specific outcomes and assessment criteria in those unit standards.  Therefore once the learner has been assessed against these outcomes a judgement of C or NYC is made.  The qualification/skill programme certificate is issued by ETDP SETA based on the unit standard/qualification outcomes only.  If these are met totally then the learner is competent.

    A provider may add in additional information to keep abreast of changes in legislation ect, but this will NOT form part of the qualification/unit standard assessment for the SETA requirements.  Unless the provider has been reaccredited and the new information is included in that accreditation process.  But is still comes back to the requirements of the SOs and ACs of the unit standards and qualifications!

    Hope this helps!

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  • #3464

    Janelle Gravett

    HI – the way I understand the SO and AC is that the range” includes but is not limited to…”.  so an SDF would need to ensure that those mentioned are at least identifiable in the QMS.   If the QMS is already developed, this process can be done via the evaluation process and review of P & P

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  • #3463

    Sylvia: This is a burning question and needs to be answered urgently and officially.

    The QCTO is possible the worst government institution I have ever dealt with in terms of efficiency and responsiveness. Wish someone would give them a very loud wake-up call.

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  • #3462

    Tebogo Boroto

    Good day

    All of you have raised vital points. No facilitator is stopped from giving hand-outs that will help learners to keep abreast of events in their respective fields, however that will be for enrichment and enlightment. No one has the power to go against a given standard however strongly they feel against it, be it because it is outdated or insufficient. That is why we need to be constructive and not destructive whenever we see a wrong prevailing in our society.

    Let us build this lifelong learning so that when we are benchmarked against the developed countries, we are up there with the best of the best.

    Each and every practising SDF will have to know about their specific OFOs in their line of work yet they have not been included in the current curriculum. From where I am sitting, it is going to create a headache for SDF learners simply because there are so many OFOs and in class we are talking generic and not specifics. Even practising SDFs are still battling with their specific OFOs when submission time for WSPs & ATRs arrive.

    When a facilitator uses VACS analysis, do you check currency in terms of what is prevailing in the world of work or currency in the sense that the learner has collected evidence that has not exceeded a specified time? Which is your reference point in being current?

    For sufficiency, how do you measure that? Is it according to what you have handed out or is it based on the guideline set out in the SOs, ACs and CCFOs?

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  • #3461

    True Janelle, but then one would argue that the P&P of the organisation is based on the type of organisation. If the aspirant SDF is employed by an organisation whose core business in skills development of employees of other organisations then they wouldn’t be expected to have ALL these P&P. 

    Therefore it is wrong for the US to be written in the manner that it has been. Thoughts?

    Obviously writing to the ETQA is like whistling in the wind.

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  • #3460

    Tebogo you are spot-on! Handouts and discussions on these are permissible. The fact that OFO codes are always a work in progress means that the SDF is always playing catch-up.

    In answer to your questions: “When a facilitator uses VACS analysis, do you check currency in terms of what is prevailing in the world of work or currency in the sense that the learner has collected evidence that has not exceeded a specified time?” the answer is obviously that the evidence presented isn’t older than 3-6 months (depending on the nature of the US. Learners should be warned however that if they are going to submit work older than 3 months that was done prior to them attending the course, it is their responsibility to ensure that all the evidence is presented in such a way that correlates with the SC’s and SO’s of the US). 

    For sufficiency is according to the guideline set out in the SOs, ACs and CCFOs. The rest was for information purposes only.

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  • #3459

    Sylvia I don’t think they know themselves. My impression of the QCTO roadshow I attended was that a lot of emphasis is being placed on the standardisation of the hard skills / trades at the expense of of the occupational stuff. Arguably this focus on the trade qualifications is long overdue an in keeping with “the decade of skills development), but they are going to drop the ball on occupations. They couldn’t answer any of my questions (which were what Lynel posed ito assessor & moderator accreditation, qualification validity, the TVET college focus at the expense of the private providers – regardless of the superiority of the private SDP product.

    We all know that Services, FASSET, INSETA, W&R, ETDP, etc. all have their own rules, regulations and cultures, but they all essentially fall under the “Occupations” category. The trades have NAMB (National Artisans Moderating Body) – which makes sense, but then where is the single body that will operate within the occupational environment?

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  • #3458

    Janelle Gravett

    HI Celeste – yes I agree with you in that the US needs review.  This may be an area to discuss with Gill Connellan who is the Chairperson of the Assoc of Skills Deveolpment SA (ASDSA).  I know that they are looking at the QCTO curriculum development of an occupational qualification for SDFs and this could be an area of inclusion or EXclusion(!) in the development process.

    However, it still does not resolve your problem in the immediate future!  I agree that there is no point in writing to the ETQA!  Maybe a meeting with the EDTP ETQA Manager, Herman Lekota (011 372-3340), may assist?

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  • #3457

    Thank you Janelle! I’ll give him a call and post his response here.

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  • #3456

    Gill Connellan

    A number of relevant points have been made and this is a very useful discussion in the context of the current state of unit standards and qualifications.  The lack of firm implementation of the occupational certificates that will emanate as a result of the QCTO has created a great deal of confusion and frustration around this issue.

    In reality, the role of the SDF is far more than the current 7 (somewhat outdated) unit standards suggest and cover.  However, in assessing unit standards, it is only possible to assess what the unit standard asks for.  However, it should be remembered that unit standards are the minimum standards that are required for competence and if the training provider covered the OFO codes in the training programme and conducted formative and summative assessment of the OFO codes if they were placed in context of work covered by the unit standard, then it may be possible to assess the OFO codes in relation to that specific training programme.

    A far bigger question is that the current unit standards are far and away unsuited to many people who practice as SDFs in its various forms.    The ASDSA is a registered professional body with SAQA ( 866).  

    ASDSA – Association for Skills Development in South Africa 
    866  ASDSA – Associati on for Skills Development in South Africa 
    Recognised  Non-Statutory 
    SAQA 12100/13  2013-07-17  2018-07-17 

    Designation ID Designation Title
    493 SD.Tech – Skills Development Technician
    494 SD.Pr – Skills Development Practitioner

    As you can see, we have two designations registered.  These two profiles have a degree of overlap, but also are profoundly different from each other in the level and complexity of process required to be found competent.  

    The issue of currency will be largely determined by Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points that are attained by certified skills development facilitators.
    Please contact me if you need further information and if you want me to send you the occupational profile for either of both of our professional designations.

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  • #3455

    sylvia hammond

    Ah Jacqui on a lighter note, I’m not sure that you’re correct there.  I can quote a certain SETA – that will be nameless – I have lost count of how many times I have phoned – long-distance note – at least 14 or 15 times – and when I occasionally get someone other than the receptionist to talk to and I explain what I’m looking for – they don’t send it!  And nobody – including the CEO – returns calls when I leave a message!

    You know I’m a glass half full person but really maybe we should run “the worst service I’ve had this week” competition.   

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  • #3454

    Good morning Gill

    Thank you so much for your input. I have also long held the opinion that the SDF practitioner is supported by other personnel. (To that end I proposed two separate learning programmes to my previous employer).

    I have absolutely no problem with including very important such as the OFO codes in the material, and even assessing it formatively (which is what I have done). I just want to avoid appeals from learners based on the validity of the assessment.

    I think that it is important to realise that being deemed competent in these US’s does not in any way make anyone a competent SDF, and that there is a process to be followed when one does want to be recognised and registered as a SDF.

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