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European developments in designing and delivering outcome-oriented curricula in VET: trends and challenges preliminary results based on presentations at the 3rd International Workshop on Curriculum Innovation and Reform: "Changing Assessment to improve learning outcomes ” – April 2012.

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zoica vl du deputy director nctvet 21 22 june 2 012

European developments in designing and delivering outcome-oriented curricula in VET: trends and challengespreliminary results based on presentations at the 3rd International Workshop on Curriculum Innovation and Reform: "Changing Assessmentto improve learning outcomes”– April 2012

Zoica Vlăduț, Deputy Director NCTVET

21 – 22 June 2012

European developments in designing and deliveringoutcome-oriented curricula in VET: trends andchallenges
  • 32 countries
  • Study elaborated by the Universityof Warwick (England)
  • A key issue- the terminology used by different countries
  • Trend-all EU countries use ”learning outcomes”

Main aspects:

  • Policy in relation to outcomes-orientated curricula: rationale, progress
  • Design process and stakeholder contribution
  • Formulation of knowledge, skills and competences in written curricula – other components of written curricula
  • Taught curricula – teaching and learning styles,environments, good practice
theoretical model of the outcomes orientated approach articulating labour market and ivet
Theoretical model of the outcomes-orientated approach: articulating labour market and IVET

General Educational ObjectivesResearch and consultationLabour market

Occupational standards

Qualification standards

Educational standards Assessment


Training programmeCertification

Teaching and learning in IVET

designing curriculum
Designing curriculum

IMPORTANT who elaborates each document and if it is a systematic development and updating process

outcomes orientated curricula at policy level rationales
Outcomes-orientated curricula at policy level: rationales



NQFs andcredit transfersystems (EQF &ECVET)

Validation systems





Providerautonomy Inclusion



Curriculum design

  • Start with ‘occupational competences’ and translate them iteratively into ‘learning outcomes’ that make sense for the purposes of teaching, assessing and recognising learning
  • Incorporate other learning outcomes, e.g. drawn from subjects, statements of generic skills and other educational goals
  • Engage various stakeholders and structure and co-ordinate their engagement in the design process
representation in the design process
Representation in the design process
  • working groups – specialised, general, permanent
  • consultation – procedures, how extensive?
  • governance – government, sector, shared (e.g. tripartite)
  • value-added by representation
  • responsiveness of outcomes-orientated curricula
  • role of experts - fluency in ‘learning outcomes’ (talking and drafting)

Issues: employer engagement, cost, time, sustainability, conflicts of interest

formulating learning outcomes
Formulating learning outcomes
  • Influences the way of teaching and evaluation
  • Grouping the learning outcomes is important
  • Number and specificity of learning outcomes determines curriculum granularity
    • High: less 10 h/ LO
    • Medium: 10h<LO<20h
    • Low: more then 20h/LO
key competences generic skills
Key competences – generic skills
  • Separate in curriculum and separately taught and assessed through ‘subjects’, e.g. Sweden, Czech Republic
  • Separate in curriculum but can be jointly taught and assessed, e.g. Finland
  • Combined with vocational outcomes within units or in particular learning outcomes in curriculum, e.g. Germany/The Netherlands
  • Mixed approach to key competences in one curriculum, e.g. France
taught curriculum learner centred approaches
Taught curriculum: Learner- centred approaches
  • Project-based learning, group learning, open learning, authentic learning, work simulation, workbased learning, experiential learning are favoured by many teachers and learners
  • Supported by:
    • pedagogical guidance
    • new teaching and learning resources
    • professional development for teachers
    • collaboration with employers
    • use of IT
  • Constrained by: time, equipment, rooms, lack of work placements, old textbooks
  • Development of innovative pedagogies
      • diverse approaches
      • changing teacher practices – networks…
      • formative assessment – learner perception of outcomes?
      • work-based and collaboration with employers
  • Curricula and the autonomy of teachers and schools
      • How does this autonomy work best?
      • How are quality and validity assured?
  • Inclusivity
      • EU inclusion goals
      • Pedagogy, careers, recruitment and learning support
assessing learning outcomes in vet in europe policies practices and prospects interim stage
Assessing Learning Outcomes in VET in Europe: Policies, Practices, and Prospects(interim stage)

Focus on summative assessment

Trend – make evaluation more independent of the learning place (EQF)

Mutual trust is the key

Study goal- comparative analysis of the assessment methodologies- how much they focus on LO, what are the strengths, weaknesses, if LO influence assessment

assessment methods
Assessment methods
  • A lot of various assessment approaches are discussed within the scientific debate, but mostly not (yet?) applied in practice:
    • Psychometric methods to measure competence
    • Computer-based simulations
  • Predominantly applied in practise:
    • (standardised) knowledge tests,
    • Performance-based assessment:

- via observation of the fulfillment of (small) tasks on the job and demonstrations

- via assessment of professional projects, oral presentations

  • An upcoming method is assessment via portfolios, mainly related, mai ales ref. la competențe cheie (Slovenia)
assessors 1
Assessors (1)

The identified groups of assessors are:


Company trainers


Chamber representatives

Representatives of social partners

Verifiers and witnesses

Representatives of local bodies

Having a look at the actual expertise of individuals representing these groups, it has turned out that they mainly can be assigned to two groups: Teachers and people with professional work experience in the relevant field.


Assessors (2)

It could appear that a stronger representation of the

external side already delivers a guarantee for a better

orientation to the needs of professional practice, but

this is not necessarily the case: It is important not

only to consider who assesses, but how and what

she/he assesses and in which context. Thus, balance

between external and internal assessment is not a

quantitative, but a conceptual requirement.


Findings: The scope of assessment (1)

  • Relationship to quality criteria
    • Most important quality criteria seem to be reliability and
  • validity.
    • The more assessment is related to a holistic concept of professional work, it has to deal with the fulfillment of tasks that include the ability to deal with unforeseeable and therefore not reproducible situations; this contradicts the principle of reliability, which is certainly better achieved by providing standardized tasks for assessment: The smaller the tasks are, the better they can be standardised and assessed, but beyond a wider professional context their authenticity is reduced, and this is against the principle of validity. Countries take/consider measures to address this.

Findings: Innovation

Innovation can be observed with regard to the establishment of assessment cultures, combining elements of assessment (responsible assessors, assessment in authentic contexts etc.), including approaches developed beyond the national

context at hand as new assessment methods; balancing teachers’ assessment and external assessment, organising assessment in progressive and more flexible ways, strengthening importance of formative assessment within

broader assessment frameworks in the national context.

  • How can be established a quality culture of the assessment which combines different elements (assessors, institutional responsibilities, methods ?
  • What to do to eliminate the gap between scientific debate, educational reforms and practice in the field?
  • How can be developed the relation between curriculum and assessment to support innovation?
  • What to do to support the independence of the assessment institutions (how to ensure trust) ?
other considerations
Other considerations

Evaluation does not meant to exclude students with bad results (means equity, quality, inclusion, cohesion, correctness)

Evaluation must inform curriculum

Evaluation in small steps or holistic evaluation

Role and teachers performance – they must understand the students diversity

Evaluation focusses on the possibility to use LO in new contexts

Evaluation focussed on what can be measuread - usually complex competencies cannot be evaluated

Evaluation can reduce creativity and critical analysis