18 October 2012
Over the last year governments have changed the names and role of their vocational and higher education regulators from assuring quality to maintaining standards. This minor change in terminology is meant to indicate a major change in role. Quality is relative to goals which may be different and is somewhat subjective; standards are meant to be met by everyone and should be more objective. This should result in much better regulation of vocational education. However, there are at least 2 problems with current thinking about vocational education standards reflected in the Australian National Skills Standards Council’s consultation paper for its review of standards for regulating vocational education and training, writes Gavin Moodie (RMIT), on The Invest in Quality, Invest in TAFE blogsite:
An excessive reliance on outcomes
There would be several advantages if it were possible to maintain standards by monitoring just outcomes. But unfortunately no one anywhere in the world has been able to maintain standards by monitoring only outcomes. This is not due to teachers’ conservatism or disinclination to consider ideas originating from outside the profession: it is because the techniques for assessing outcomes aren’t yet good enough.
So standards are maintained by monitoring inputs, processes and outcomes.
An excessive reliance on employers.
Even if we were concerned only about the quality of vocational education inasmuch as it prepares graduates for employment, concentrating on employers’ views would not achieve the aim of assuring standards in vocational education, for four reasons, not the least of which is employers are several stages removed from the central issue: the quality of vocational education and the standards of students’ attainment.
Go HERE to read the full article.