Observations form a good way of assessing learners on vocational based activities. However one thing that can be missing is the demonstration of knowledge in the absence of any verbal or written communication. One useful tool for an assessor is to back up the observation with a series of verbal questions.
This is video four in a series of six, which are designed to show people how to create their own vocational assessment. Follow each video in the series. Then plan, deliver and document your own vocational assessment.

Verbal Questions

The video shows the candidate assessor (Bill) asking a series of questions to his learner (Tom). The questions asked generally relate to the maths, science and ethics of given CPR to a casualty. This is important because these are things that Bill would struggle to assess Tom on just by watching him. 
Tom demonstrates a good understanding of the subject area in the response to Bill’s questions. The responses are recorded and at no point does Bill give a decision on a question. This is saved for the feedback phase of a vocational assessment.
Helpful hint - keep the questions to the point, and make sure they do not cover any new ground. The learner can only be asked questions about what they have learnt on the course 


In the previous installment Bill carries out an observation on a practical based CPR activity. It is worth noting that Bill does not interrupt Tom to ask any questions. This is important because asking questions at this point would make the practical activity extremely challenging for the learner.
This applies to a lot of skill based vocational activities and also working environments where it could be intrusive or inappropriate to start asking questions. Imagine firing questions at someone when they are mid flow during a presentation. Generally it just does not work, and instead time is made at the end for questions.

Moving On

The observation is now complete. Tom has demonstrated his knowledge through the verbal questions given to him and is ready to move on. In the next installment Bill will make a decision against the criteria, and provide feedback to Tom.
Remember to keep watching each installment too create your very own vocational assessment.

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