In the past two weeks the first teachers of vocational education on Saba and St. Eustatius participated in an “Assessor training workshop”. The aim of the workshop was to train the teachers in the planning and use of testing, based on the CBET (Competence Based Education and Training) testing methodology. Learning to work with this way of testing forms part of the transition to the vocational education system CVQ (Caribbean Vocational Qualification) of the CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) education.
Typical of the CBET methodology is to focus on the skills, so what should the student be able to do at the end of the run. The competencies are based on the requirements of the business c.q. that employers make to their staff. Participants were familiarized during training in the key methodology of CBET and what the system expects of both the teacher and the student. The teachers were Dawn Gill and Daniel Best of the TVET Council Barbados (vocational education council).
According to participant and team leader PrO Brian Carty, the course was especially useful for teachers to learn keys to create tests themselves: “In the Dutch system, teachers make extensive use of existing tests that are offered for different methods and on websites. As a result, most teachers could use some training in creating tests themselves.” An important feature of the new system, according to biology/chemistry teacher, René Pas, is that it is very thorough. “Where a pupil in the Dutch system also has succeeded with an 8 or a 9, in this system he or she must demonstrate compliance on each alleged competence.” According to him it brings more work with it: both teachers and pupils have to track their progress in a so-called “portfolio”. On the other hand, he thinks it is positive that everything is documented as well, which brings along that discussions on study results are no longer on the agenda.
In the coming weeks the participants will work out a number of commands in a so-called “portfolio” in the daily practice of their work. These must be sent to Barbados for review. In May, the teachers will have the opportunity to defend their portfolios via Skype Calls. Teachers who do this successfully will be certified as “assessor”.