Validation, that is…
Validation is a process, in the course of which it is assessed whether you meet the requirements of the learning outcomes indicated in the description of the qualification, that is the requirements in terms of what you need to know and be ale to do in order to be awarded the qualification. In the course of validation, you need to prove to the experts that you have the necessary knowledge and skills needed for the awarding of the certificate. How you have gained your competences is not relevant from the perspective of the the validation process, what matters is that you have them and you can prove it. Validation enables the assessment of competences gained through school education, courses and training as well as those acquired individually, e.g. programming skills gained through developing your hobby. A certificate confirming qualifications in a given profession increases your chances of getting hired by a company seeking qualified personnel.
In most cases, the validation process consists of the following three stages:
- Identification – in the course of which initial knowledge and skills of the candidate aspiring after the qualification are identified. At this stage, the Awarding Body may offer the support of a validation counsellor, who can help determine the potential of the person undergoing validation.
- Documentation – consisting in collecting evidence to corroborate skills and knowledge, e.g. documents or photographs. Also at this stage, the candidate may be supported by a counsellor.
The identification and documentation stages are to help in preparing a plan for future development and learning and consequently in attaining the given qualification.
- At the assessment stage, i.e. the final stage of the validation process, an assessor or a group of assessors determine, whether all the requirements for the confirmation of the qualification have been satisfied. A final decision on the awarding of the certificate is made at this stage.
Details of the validation process depend on a particular market qualification. Some requirements are included in the qualification description and can be found in the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR). Yet, details of the course of the validation process are planned by the Awarding Body performing the validation and are published on its website.
Flexibility of the process
Assessment of one’s skills is often associated with typical school-like methods. In fact, traditionally recognised methods, such as a written test, an oral production or a “practical section”, are becoming less popular. Conventional knowledge testing methods are being replaced with more innovative ones. The goal is to adjust the methods to the needs of adults more easily. Since adults with professional experience are the largest group among those undergoing validation, the assessment may take the form of a simulation conducted at the candidate’s workplace and focuses on practical knowledge. An example of such a process is an observation in real-life conditions.
The Catalogue of Validation Methods
All sets of skill assessment methods used under the Integrated Qualifications System have been listed in the Catalogue of Validation Methods. The Catalogue includes information on the selected validation processes, specifies what a given method consists in, which validation stages are recommended for the specified course of action, what are the necessary resources required for validation purposes and what other tools are compatible with the method. Additionally, the Catalogue provides exemplary solutions which could be used with a given method, its strong and weak points, limitations of use and examples.
Application of the Catalogue of Validation Methods
The Catalogue is to facilitate the selection of suitable methods to make sure they are adequate for a given validation. This means that the validation process is adapted, as much as possible, to the requirements of a particular qualification, capability of the candidate as well as the validation venue. It enables adequate design and improvement of the validation methods and is intended predominantly for entities which would like to submit qualifications for inclusion in the IQS or entities applying for an awarding body authorisation. Additionally, the Catalogue is a good source of knowledge for individuals undergoing validation and provides information on the measures used in order to confirm one’s qualifications in a given profession, therefore making it easier for a candidate to prepare better for the validation.
An analysis of evidence and statements is another validation method. It consists in presenting collected evidence in the form of a portfolio. A simple to use and free tool has been developed for this purpose: My Portfolio – it allows creating a digital portfolio of a candidate. With the tool, it is easy to point to the learning outcomes confirmed with collected evidence as well as arrange and render available the evidence to selected individuals, e.g. representatives of the Awarding Body.