Competent / Not yet competent: What does this mean in a manual handling training program?

Year: 2003

Author: Nicholson, Kathryn, Gillis, Shelley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Competency based training underpins vocational education and training in Australia. With the release of the Health Industry Training Package in 2002 the nebulous requirement to 'work in a safe manner' and been replaced by a number of units of competence against which students are required to be assessed. This paper explores the appropriateness of using a standards referencing framework to define levels of competence in manual handling training. This framework is a form of criterion referencing where levels of performance are defined along a continuum of increasing competence (e.g. novice to expert) and used for interpretive purposes to infer a competency decision. The paper compares the Australian Qualification Framework levels with the standard referenced framework for a construct of competency. It develops an assessment and reporting procedure to show how task components are identified, specified and scored. The procedure allows assessment designers to simultaneously satisfy the demands of the training package for a competency decision but also allows the assessor (and the assessee) to recognise quality in the performance. The implications of this approach in relation to the principles of assessment and the integration of this preliminary work into a larger research project are discussed.