Keys to assessing GNVQs

3rd March 1995 at 00:00
The NVQ and GNVQ Assessor Handbook, By Ros Ollin and Jenny Tucker, 0 7494 1356 5. #163;16.95, Getting to Grips with GNVQs, By Geoff Hayward, 0 7494 1421 9, #163;16.95, Kogan Page. The NVQ and GNVQ Assessor Handbook by Ros Ollin and Jenny Tucker is a practical guide to the D units which have to be achieved by all those working with NVQs and GNVQs and involved in assessment as specified by the National Council for Vocational QualificationsAwarding Body Common Accord.

It is a useful reference for those just embarking on the "D" units and has features which will prove very helpful to those who are familiar with the "old" TDLB standards and are now moving on to the revised standards, such as the at-a-glance comparison between the old and the new.

The book is divided into sections. The first deals with the general aspects of NVQ and GNVQ assessment. The second section comprises step-by-step guides to the achievement of the D units. Each unit is covered in detail and there are hints and ideas for evidence and how to obtain it. Each performance criterion is explained and key points are identified. The third section deals with types of evidence, presentation of portfolio and action and assessment planning and there is practical help with suggestions for evidence and sample forms which could be used to plan and record assessments.

It is interesting that the authors state that the adviser could well be the person who later carries out the formal assessment, as there is often a difference of opinion about this. It is also good to see them suggesting that the action and assessment plan can be combined. The final section draws everything together and outlines the development aspects of the D units.

There are case studies and a full glossary of terms, with suggestions for further reading. Subsections are clearly titled. If I have a criticism, it is that the book is orientated to the college rather than the workplace and, search though I did, I could not find the sample witness testimony as promised in Chapter 10.

Getting to Grips with GNVQs by Geoff Hayward is easy to read and attempts to explain in straightforward language what GNVQs are and what skills the GNVQ teacher requires. The introduction explains how GNVQs have evolved and puts the development of those qualifications into the context necessary for the new deliverer. The overview of GNVQs makes the vital point that each unit is an assessment framework and not a teaching syllabus, a unit of assessment not a unit of learning.

The book is organised into three themes: GNVQ Basics, Core Skills and Managing Student Learning. Each themed section is divided into chapters which are peppered with quotes the author has collected through speaking to GNVQ deliverers. Sharing and developing the experience of practitioners is constructive and beneficial to readers. Chapters are further divided into sections and each of these has a "key idea". These highlight such aspects as the importance of team work, regular meetings, careful planning,induction, involving the students' awareness and development of core skills.

The chapter on assessing stresses the changing role of the teacher and the need to adapt to new methods of assessment. It is gratifying to see that the author confirms the achievement of TDLB Unit D33 as being the most appropriate for GNVQ assessors and also advises that the Internal Verifier role be undertaken by someone outside the course team.

The core skills section covers a range of thoughts and ideas. What comes across is the importance of integrating the skills into the vocational units and of including a core skills specialist in the team. It emphasises the need for good planning and understanding by all members of the team so that there can be opportunities for transfer between contexts.

This book owes much to the Centre Guides issued by the awarding bodies and much information is duplicated. A comprehensive glossary of terms is missing. Aspects of the qualification are under review, but it is a valuable reference for teachers becoming involved in GNVQ teaching Wendy Nash is NVQAPL Coordinator (External) at Croydon College.

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