[LINK] Australian E-portfolio Plan

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Fri Jul 3 10:31:06 AEST 2009

At 10:04 AM 3/07/2009, Markus Buchhorn wrote:
>Standards are good (crucial!), but you shouldn't stretch some 
>standards beyond where they're meant to go. Allowing 
>interoperability where appropriate though of course is good, and 
>that is what we should be encouraging.

I'll add to this. A friend asked me yesterday why VET courses had 
shifted to a pass/no pass structure and the course I'm involved in 
[post grad] uses the traditional: fail, pass, credit, distinction, 
high distinction. I think there are two different systems of 
evaluation here. Competency based assessment, as in skills, works to 
a degree in skills based vocational training but less well in more 
complex situations where there are qualitative variations as in 
management, analysis and higher level problem-solving and creative 
domains. Tick a box doesn't work as well when there are nuances or 
ranges. You can't argue with a pounded nail. It's either in or out. 
The house either stands or it creaks and cracks. The program either 
works or it doesn't [software]. But when it comes to creating a plan 
for a new IT division or project, there are far too many variables.

I would argue as well that even some VET portfolios and assessments 
are too black/white in some aspects of their representation. There 
are whole ranges of abilities that can't be asserted as 100% 
attained. Context is important, for example. In a way, I think it may 
be misleading for some VET students to be told they have 100% 
attainment of their skills. It's like putting a cap on their learning 
rather than saying they should keep improving.

Maybe I have that wrong, but as someone who has come through the 
gradations to competency and back to gradations again, I think there 
is value in maintaining some flexibility in this. Absolutes in 
anything are usually wrong thinking.

And now that we are completely off the link topic set, I'll stop. :-)


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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