CAERe - Validity and reliability in vocational qualifications
Dr Jenifer Moody
Centre for Assessment and Evaluation Research in Education
Time: 12 - 1:30pm
In the last quarter of 2014 for which data are available (July to September), 4 million vocational qualifications were awarded in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, across 20,000 different subjects and levels and provided by 150 different Awarding Organisations (Ofqual 14/5513). This is compared with just under 500,000 GCSE entries in 2014 as a whole, for qualifications provided by 4 Awarding Organisations. Vocational qualifications are increasingly being presented as high-stakes alternatives to GCSEs and A levels, both for the measurement of individual attainment and for holding schools and colleges to account. Because they therefore affect the futures of large numbers of young people, their quality has come under scrutiny. In 2010, the Secretary of State for Education (then Michael Gove) commissioned Professor Alison Wolf of King’s College, London to carry out an independent review of vocational education. In her report (March 2011), she criticised the ‘diet of low-level vocational qualifications, most of which have little to no labour market value’ and the system which allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to derive little or no value from their post16 education.
The government immediately announced its intentions to make vocational qualifications ‘comparable’ with academic qualifications in terms of content, assessment and opportunities to progress (Government response: March 2011) and ‘rigorous’ (April 2013). These intentions have raised questions about the nature and purpose of vocational qualifications and about the fitness for purpose of vocational assessment methodologies. Even more fundamentally, they have also exacerbated the tensions between validity and reliability claims and provoked debate as to how –or whether- these should be measured. This seminar will summarise key developments in the provision of Vocational Qualifications and will focus on some of the resulting technical dilemmas.
Jenifer Moody has a PhD in Educational Assessment from the University of Bristol and is an expert in qualification and assessment development. She has extensive professional experience in the provision of vocational and academic qualifications, both in the UK and internationally. For 13 years she was a Director of the Awarding Organisation Education Development International (EDI), where she was instrumental in developing vocational qualifications for specific purposes in the Kuwait oil industry and for secondary age school children in Malaysia. In the 1990s she was Assistant Chief Executive of OCR, with which organisation she was responsible for the National Curriculum Test project. She has also worked with Pearson Edexcel and is currently an independent consultant. She is a qualified teacher and has experience as a chief examiner and coursework moderator. She is a Fellow and founder Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessment, helping
the organisation to achieve chartered status. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and a past member of the Association of Project Managers (APM).