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Observation

Observation by an assessor [►The Assessor's Role] is a key piece of evidence.

Observation is a prime example of Performance Evidence.

It is important that the assessor records what they see. It is not enough just to say “I observed James/Alyson doing photocopying to the required standards”. The assessor should break the task down and record exactly what is seen.

It is vitally important that the Performance Indicators (PIs) and Knowledge & Understanding (K&U) within the Units covered by the observation are recorded, usually at the side of the candidate recording form. This ensures that the PIs and K&U claimed are related to what has been observed.

The best observations are holistic in nature i.e. covering Performance and Knowledge across more than one Unit.

The context of an Observation is important and should be highlighted at the beginning.

Observation is the most valid and reliable form of assessment – you are seeing that the evidence (competence) is authentic and current.

Planning with your candidate is key to a successful Observation.

Be flexible – if situations arise outwith the plan don’t waste the opportunity.

Use Questions [►Questioning] during the Observation to seek more in-depth understanding or clarification.

After the Observation ask any supplementary questions you find necessary.

Always make sure you give the candidate feedback and agree the next steps – especially if a further Observation is required.

It is also best practice to include as evidence any Work Product [►Work Product] created during the Observation and/or consider taking photos or video of the candidate.

Observations can vary between being quite specific to a particular Unit or more holistic in nature. Some evidence can be a mixture of Observation, Professional Discussion [►Professional Discussion ] and Questions.

The following are examples of some Observations of varying standard:

Single Unit Observation [►Single Unit Observation (PDF)] This approach is acceptable but best practice is a more holistic approach where more than one unit is covered. On the plus side the Observation has covered a number of Knowledge points within the Unit.

Single Unit Observation 2 [►Observation S220 (PDF)] As with the previous example this Observation concentrates on one Unit. It is very comprehensive and covers the majority of the Performance and Knowledge within the Unit which is good. However, with such an extensive Observation it is possible that some Performance and/or Knowledge towards other Units could be covered.

Observation within larger Assessment Event [►Highlighted observation (PDF)] This example involves an Observation which is part of a bigger assessment event. This is material which should also be viewed along with “Highlighted Questions from Observation” [►Highlighted oral questions (PDF)] and “Highlighted Professional Discussion” [►Highlighted professional discussion (PDF)] so that you can view it as one assessment event. This is an excellent holistic approach.

Regurgitated Standards Observation [►Regurgitated standards observation (PDF)] This example is not good practice – what we have here is merely a regurgitation of the wording of the standards rather than an account of what was actually observed. Also a lot has been claimed by inferred performance rather than actual performance.