David Farrar over at Kiwiblog has got it half right on “standards based assessment.” David agrees with the NZ Herald “that standards-based assessment is as well suited to some subjects as it is ill suited to others. It works well for motor mechanics or maths, but far less well for arts and humanities.”
Sorry David, SBA and the “Unit Standards” awarded under that system, are in some ways even worse for technical learning. I hear David’s arguement all the time, mainly from people in academia with no experience of technical training.
SBA has several disadvantages in trade or technical training and no advantages I’ve ever come across. (I am involved in apprenticeship training and am a fairly unpopular member of our Industry Training Organisation’s, Sector Advisory Group. My main mission in this role is to get SBA dumped before it further wrecks what’s left of our apprenticeship system.
SBA is extremely cumbersome to administer and involves large amounts of paperwork.
SBA is expensive to administer. It creates a very top heavy training pyramid. To get people “assessed” you either have to large amounts of time or employ an outside contractor. Many small businesses cannot afford this.
SBA allegedly measures “competence” in various tasks, then adds up the number of credits to produce “qualifications” There need be little overall understanding of the trade involved. Indeed real understanding is discouraged as the apprentice tends to think he knows it all when he gets a credit for rolling a bun, putting a croissant on tray or having a conversation with his girlfriend’s mother.(serious)
SBA has zero integrity. Every workplace assesses differently and many, including training organisation staff, routinely cheat the system.
SBA adds huge complexity to apprenticeship training with zero discernible benefit. I believe this complexity is a major disincentive to training apprentices and is partly why numbers are so low. I believe it also contributes heavily to the very high (60% or more in some industries) apprenticeship dropout rate.
Ask yourself-why would non academic kids leave school to learn a trade, then spend hours a week on meaningless, farcical and non productive SBA work?
Have a look into this David and have chat to Bill English. This is a very serious issue.