Ann Gravells answers your questions about the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement Course (A1). Looking at the differences between workplace & vocational assessments, what TAQA stands for and the benefits of constructive feedback.


Tom - Hi Ann, today we will be asking you some questions about assessing in particular the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA). Some of our learners find it difficult to distinguish between workplace and vocational assessments, can you offer some guidance on the difference of each for our learners?

Ann - Workplace is just that, it is carried out within the workplace or ‘on the job’. An assessor will be assessing a trainee or apprentice carrying out skills whereas the other type of assessment (vocational) is more regarding knowledge and takes place away from the work place.

They are related but think of the practical ones as the skills inside of the workplace. Vocational is essentially the knowledge outside of the work place, a typical vocational assessment could be a test which might take place in a college or the organisation but within a different room.

Tom - What is the difference between CAVA and TAQA?

Ann - CAVA stands for Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement whereas TAQA is not a qualification, it stands for Training Assessments and Quality Assurance and it is just the title to group together all of the training, assessments and quality assurance qualifications. If someone is saying that they are going to get their TAQA, it could mean that they are attending training on assessments, quality assurance or one of the other ones.  CAVA is the qualification, whereas TAQA is the group of qualifications.

Tom - A big part of the CAVA qualification is the ability to give accurate and constructive feedback to candidates and learners that you are assessing. Can you provide a few tips on how to give effective feedback?

Ann - It does take practice to be able to give feedback effectively, quite often people focus on the negatives where I always think it is important to focus on something positive at the start and also to ask your learners how they feel they have done and they might tell you the mistakes they have made rather you having to tell them.

Also, don’t get too tired up too much administration and record keeping, I have known some assessors not to tell the learner their result as they have been too busy with filling in paper work. It is a two-way conversation, I think communication is key, ask your learner ‘How could I do this better?’ or ‘How could I improve?’ encourage your learner to ask questions and keep a dialogue going.

Tom -  On our CAVA qualification we focus very heavily on the planning stage of assessments, which is important for assessments to run smoothly and the person being assessed is fully up to speed with exactly what is going on. What advice would you give to candidate assessors on our courses to ensure they have got their planning of assessments correct?

Ann - Planning is very important, so that both the assessor and the trainee know exactly what they are going to do and when. It starts with the initial assessment- finding out what the learner knows and can or can’t do yet. This is where record keeping does make a difference, I use the who, why, when, where, how and what approach and if you can answer those between yourself and your learner you can draw up an agreement on what is going to happen and when and everyone knows what is going to take place.

Tom - What other sources of information would you recommend for our trainee assessors that could help them within their role?

Ann - I would recommend my website which contains lots of information on assessing learning, there are links to other assessing text books and videos. A general internet search does often bring up a lot of information on assessing however I would be cautious on whether the content is relevant to your own assessing field.