Assessments and Professional Judgements module

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Professional Judgements

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Assessment of prior learning is a holistic approach that requires a much deeper level of knowledge and understanding than may be expected in a tick-box competency approach.

It is more than competency that is being assessed. It is recognition of the learning process that has lead to the development of knowledge for the candidate and it is not only assessment of skill acquisition but the understanding of knowledge in relation to that skill and the transferability of knowledge to other skills or situations.

Along with a deep knowledge of the appropriate pedagogy for the area being assessed, the assessor requires other skills such as the ability to put a candidate at ease and create an environment in which the candidate can present or perform to their optimal level.

Most importantly the key to holistic RPL assessments is making sound professional judgements to infer that competence, knowledge and learning has been demonstrated. “Making a ‘judgement call’ implies that one is being active, committed, accountable, powerful, and ethical, like a courtroom judge.”(Jones, 2006 cited in Mitchell, 2008. p.3)

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As discussed in earlier modules consideration of the learner and the learning context are also key to the process of making professional judgements relating to learning.

Using your own search skills reflect on the assessors role and the process of RPL and your learning around professional judgements and the assessors role.

For additional reading the following article from SUNY - Empire State College Language of Evaluation: How PLA Evaluators Write about Student Learning adds some interesting perspectives as does the article by Brian Knight Assessment for recognition of prior learning in technical and vocational education and training in Australia: where to from here?

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Remember to submit an excerpt from your exploration around this module. This is your final submission. Send this directly to Heather.

Critically consider the process of assessing for prior learning from the perspective of a lecturer in an assessor or facilitator role, exploring the following areas:

You are asked to:
Explore how professional judgement on the part of the assessor informs the assessment process (decision making process) - (due end of 8th module)
Marking criteria:
  • Critical discussion on making RPL judgements and the impact of the context in which it occurs (decision making process)
  • discussion is referenced and supported by literature sources

NB: Critical discussion involves a depth of thought that considers and debates a variety of perspectives including your own. Critical in this sense refers to reviewing, analysing and evaluating in depth; it does not mean focusing on negativity. It is possible to critically discuss and still totally agree with a particular perspective.


Mitchell, (2008). Confident RPL Assessors. Department of Education, Training and the Arts. Queensland Government.