Becoming familiar with competency based student assessment: An evaluation of workshop outcomes
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The identification and specification of competency based standards in speech language pathology has provided practitioners, educators, employers and government regulators with information and guidance. This paper reports the outcomes of workshops that provided familiarisation with the new competency based assessment tool, COMPASS®, which was introduced for the assessment of speech-language pathology (SLP) students across all 13 SLP professional preparation programs in Australia during 2007. An anonymous evaluation was administered before and after the first 8 familiarisation workshops held nationally, involving 240 clinical educators. Quantitative data were analysed descriptively, and qualitative data were entered into NVivo qualitative analysis software for content analysis. Post workshop, results indicated partial or full uptake of the main concepts involved in the new approach to assessment. Least uptake was observed for the need for direct observation of competence in workplace performance. Qualitatively, post workshop, formative assessment was more apparent within student goals formulated in response to a hypothetical scenario. A possible contributor to this outcome is suggested to be the alignment between the tool and the professional community of practice, due to the collaborative process of its development. Research into the longer term impact of the new assessment in the context of everyday practice is suggested.