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The Vanuatu Qualifications Authority (VQA) Assessment officer, Ms Estelle Vutinadamu, organised and facilitated a series of assessment and moderation workshops.

These workshops were designed for post-school education and training (PSET) providers in Vanuatu who are currently registered with VQA and are offering accredited courses regarding two existing policies of the VQA, mentioned below, that have been reviewed and approved by the VQA Board in its last meeting if 2018.

The approved reviewed policies are: PSET Assessment Policy and the Assessment Moderation for PSET Policy. These two documents are effective for implementation as of 1st January 2019 for all registered providers that deliver accredited courses.

In order to have a successful implementation of these policies, the VQA Assessment Officer had to conduct workshops with each of these registered providers to explain them the changes accommodated by the new policies and also to ensure a common understanding between the roles of each party in implementing these documents.

These series of workshop were delivered in two days during the whole month of February and half of March 2019, with the focus on the design of a quality competency–based assessment for the day 1 and a rigorous internal assessment moderation on the 2nd day.

The objectives of the competency-based assessment module of the workshop were to ensure that at the end of the session, participants should be able to explain the characteristics of competency-based assessment; design an assessment matrix and a quality assessment; develop a marking schedule, and explain a “competent” mark.

The objectives of the assessment moderation module was to ensure that participants would be able to explain the importance of designing and conducting quality assessments; explain the system of quality assurance of assessment used in Vanuatu PSET system; conduct internal pre- and post-moderation according to the system’s requirement; explain how and why to write an internal moderation report and to apply for approval of learners grades; and explain the requirements they must meet to participate in external moderation.

The participants of the workshops were trainers, moderators, and administration staff involved in assessment and moderation. They come from the registered providers who are currently offering accredited courses in semester 1 of 2019 including: Saint Michel Technical Department, Torgil Provincial Institute of Vocational and Training, Edwards Institute of Technology (Santo & Vila Centre), Lorovuilko RTC, Matahi RTC, Greenhill RTC, Lume RTC, Onesua Presbyterian Technical College and Pektel RTC. The Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT) Hospitality Tourism Leisure Training Centre, Vanuatu Agriculture College (VAC) and Pacific Vocational Training Centre (PVTC) had their training in November 2018.

The VQA assessment officer explained that there were difficulties encountered during these workshops. “Most of the institutions with which I worked during the workshops have neither used any units of competency, nor seen any. A majority of trainers have never developed an assessment matrix before; or when designing assessment, instructions were very hard to write for trainers as they kept on assuming that learners know what they would be asked to do.”

Though, assessment moderation is a new process for most of the participants, the VQA assessment officer found a way to help them understand it better: each participant was asked to bring along the assessments they conducted previously in their respective institution. The participants worked with those assessments to practice pre- and post- moderation.

As a result, the participants have a clear perception of pre- and post- moderation, and of the forms that have to be completed for moderation.

“I was not very clear on assessment moderation up until Estelle organised this workshop and explained thoroughly what it really means and how we should have dealt with it. I am very thankful to VQA for organising this workshop. Now I really understand the terms assessment moderation and its processes” says one of the participant.