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Policy for the certification of learner achievements for trades and occupational qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF)

Glossary of terms

In this document, any word or expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 (Act No 67 of 2008), as amended, and the Skills Development Act, 1998, (Act No 97 of 1998), as amended, has the same meaning unless the context otherwise indicates.

  • Achievement
  • Appeal
  • Assessment
  • Assessment centre
  • Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)
  • Certificate
  • Development Quality Partner (DQP)
  • External Integrated Summative Assessment (EISA)
  • Foundational Learning

The recognition granted to a learner when all required learning outcomes have been successfully demonstrated.

The formal petitioning by an individual against the decision made by the QCTO decision, after the verification process regarding the assessment, standards and quality assurance processes, not to award a qualification.

The process of collecting evidence of the learners’ work to measure and make judgements about the competence or non­ competence of the learner in respect of specified NQF registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications.

A centre accredited by the QCTO for the purpose of conducting external integrated summative assessments for occupational qualifications and part qualifications registered on the OQSF.

A body delegated by the QCTO to develop assessment instruments and manage external integrated summative assessments for occupational qualifications and part qualifications registered on the OQSF.

A document indicating formal recognition by the QCTO of an occupational qualification, part qualification, (including legacy trades or skills programme) awarded to a successful learner

A body delegated by the QCTO to manage the process of developing specific occupational qualifications, curricula and assessment specifications.

The final external integrated evaluation of a learner’s occupational competence in the specified registered NQF occupational qualification, part qualification, (including legacy trades or skills programmes). A learner gains access to the EISA through meeting the requirement as stipulated in the qualification.

Learning that provides opportunities for the development of proficiency in one or more languages as well as in some form of mathematics or mathematical literacy and which is intended to

    • Internal formative Assessment
    • Learner
    • Monitoring
    • National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB)
    • National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD)
    • National Qualifications Framework (NQF)
    • NQF Level
    • Occupational qualification
    • Occupational Qualifications Sub­ Framework (OQSF Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO)

Part qualification support further learning or competency required to pursue work in a professional environment

On-going assessments, reviews and observations, using a range of formal and informal assessment procedures during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities and to improve learner attainment.

An individual participating in a training programme with the purpose of achieving an occupational qualification, part qualification, or trade.

A continuous process of review of quality that can be conducted internally and/or externally to recommend quality improvements.

The National artisan moderation body contemplated in Section 26A of the Skills Development Act

The electronic management information system of the NQF under the authority of SAQA, which contains records of qualifications, part qualifications, learner achievements, recognised professional bodies, professional designations and associated information such as registrations and accreditations

The comprehensive system, approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Training for the classification, co-ordination, registration and publication of articulated quality-assured national qualifications and part-qualifications.

The South African NQF is a single integrated system comprising three coordinated qualification sub-frameworks for General and Further Education and Training, Higher Education, and Trades and Occupations respectively

One of the series of levels of learning achievement arranged in ascending order from one to ten according to which the NQF is organised and to which qualification types are pegged.

A qualification associated with a trade, occupation or profession developed and quality assured under the auspices of the QCTO and consisting of knowledge/theory and application (practical skills/work experience/simulated work experience) components and an external integrated summative assessment

The sub-framework of qualifications developed and managed by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)

A coded classification system to encompass all occupations in South Africa, used as DHET’s key tool for identifying, reporting and monitoring skills demand and supply in the South African labour market

An assessed unit of learning with a defined outcome that is or will be, registered as part of a qualification on the NQF

  • Quality Assurance
  • Quality Assurance Partner (QAP)
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
  • Revocation
  • Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA)
  • Skills Programme
  • South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
  • Statement of Results
  • Trade
  • Verification

The process of ensuring that standards and procedures are adhered to and that delivered products or services meet the QCTO performance requirements.

A body approved by the QCTO to manage and co-ordinate the external integrated summative assessments of specified NQF­ registered occupational qualifications and part-qualifications.

The principles and processes through which the prior knowledge and skills of a person are made visible, mediated and assessed for the purposes of alternative access and admission, recognition and certification, or further learning and development

Means the withdrawal of a decision to issue an occupational certificate or Trade Certificate to a learner and to cancel and recall the Occupational Certificate and/or Trade Certificate, to render such certificate to have no legal status or effect.

A body established in terms of the Skills Development Act 1998, (Act No. 97 of 1998), as amended, to develop and implement sector skills plans and promote learning programmes; including workplace learning.

A learning programme which is occupationally based and for which a learner may obtain a certain number of credits towards a registered qualification or part-qualification

The statutory authority, established in terms of the repealed SAQA Act No. 58 of 1995 and continuing in terms of the NQF Act, 2008 (Act No 67 of 2008), as amended, which oversees the further development and implementation of the NQF, the achievement of the objectives of the NQF and the co-ordination of the three sub-frameworks.

A document issued by an accredited skills development provider for theoretical , practical and workplace skills modules completed and successfully assessed.

An occupation for which an artisan qualification is required as stipulated in the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No. 97 of 1998)

Establishing the authenticity of a certificate issued by the QCTO or a qualification achieved by a successful learner.

  1. Preamble

    1.1 Certification in the context of ensuring standards for qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications sub-framework (OQSF):

    The Quality Councilfor Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of section 26 (G) of the Skills Development Act of 1998 as a juristic person. It was listed as a public entity in Government Gazette No 33900 of 31 December 2010 effective from 1 April 2010 to establish the Sub-Framework for Trades and Occupations.

    The QCTO, SAQA and the other two quality councils as contemplated in section 5(3) of the NQF Act, 2008, must seek to achieve the objectives of the NQF by:

    1. developing, fostering and maintaining an integrated and transparent national framework for the recognition of learning achievements;
    2. ensuring that South African Qualifications meet appropriate criteria, determined by the Minister and are internationally comparable; and
    3. ensuring that South African qualifications are of an acceptable quality.The QCTO is responsible for the development, maintenance and quality assurance of qualifications on the OQSF. This includes occupational qualifications, part qualifications, skills programmes, historically registered occupational qualifications and trades listed on the NQF.The OQSF formally demarcates the QCTO’s area of responsibility. The standards for any qualification are prescribed in the qualification, curriculum and assessment specification documents for the particular qualification, part qualification. The standards for the qualifications that the QCTO certifies, requires ongoing quality assurance and monitoring of the functions delegated to QCTO quality assurance partners.In terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998, (Act No 97 of 1998) the QCTO has the responsibility of issuing trade certificates and for the quality assurance of occupational qualifications, which includes the certification of those qualifications registered on the OQSF.

      Although the QCTO was established in 201the function for the issuing of trade certificates was only taken over by the QCTO in October 2013. This function was previously the responsibility of the then Department of Manpower, thereafter the Department of Labour and, most recently, the Department of Higher Education and Training.

      The certification process is intricately linked to the assessment and quality assurance processes of the QCTO.

      In its role as a quality assurer, the QCTO is committed to issuing learners with valid and credible certificates. Such a commitment consequently requires that the QCTO ensures that the certified data is valid and reliable and that learner achievements are verifiable.

      According to Section 26 D (5) (g) and 26 U) (f) of the SDA, the Minister may, after consultation with the QCTO, make regulations on the format of certificates issued to artisans who successfully undergo a trade test, as well as for the certification of occupational qualifications. The QCTO will advise the Minister of the need for such regulations as determined by the Council.

  2. Purpose

      1. The purpose of this policy is to promote consistency and transparency in the certification of occupational qualifications or trades and to make the information publicly available.

      2. Itfurther provides for the certification of learner achievement for occupational qualifications on the OQSF.

      3. It also forms the basis for developing a co-operative relationship with the QCTO quality partners, the South African Qualifications Authority and other stakeholders with a commitment to the occupational qualifications offered under the OQSF.

  3. Legislative and regulatory framework

      1. This policy is based on the QCTO policies and relevant legislation listed below:

        • Skills Development Act, 1998, (Act no 97 of 1998), as amended;

        • National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act, 2008 (Act No. 67 of 2008), as amended and

        • OQSF policy as published in Government Gazette No 37879 of 31 July 2014.

      2. This policy must be read in conjunction with the following QCTO policies:

        • Policy on Qualification Development Facilitators;

        • OQSF policy (Government Gazette No 37879);

        • QCTO policy on accreditation of assessment centres;

        • Policy for the Approval of Results;

        • Policy on revised delegation of qualification assessment to AQPs; and

        • Directives for certification issued by the QCTO.

        • Policy for Verification of Trades and Occupational Qualifications

        • Policy on certificate printing and storage of certificate background paper

  4. Audience and applicability

    This policy provides direction to the QCTO and determines the AQPs responsibility to recommend valid and reliable data to the QCTO with regard to certification of learner achievements for occupational qualifications

      1. A learner will be issued with a certificate if found to be competent and meets the rules of combination of the qualification through an external integrated summative assessment or applicable trade test.

      2. QCTO issues the following categories of certificates:

        1. Trade Certificates for:

          1. existing trades without associated occupational- and part qualifications; and

          2. occupational certificates for listed trades with associated occupational- and part qualifications.

        2. Occupational Certificates for occupational- and part qualifications with the minimum specified credits; and

        3. Occupational part qualifications and relevant skills programmes that may form part of an occupational qualification that are registered as such on the NQF.

  5. Objectives of this Policy

The objectives of this policy document are to determine standards for the certification of qualifications, on the OQSF.

The standards for certification have been established to:

    1. Ensure that the standard of certification has been established through rigorous quality assurance processes which include:

      1. Qualifications are registered on the OQSF;

      2. Development Quality Partners and Assessment Quality Partners are established and their processes are quality assured;

      3. external integrated summative assessments are conducted at QCTO accredited assessment centres and sites or in the case of trade tests, they are conducted at accredited trade test centres;

      4. moderation and monitoring of assessment ensures that it is valid, reliable and of an acceptable standard;

      5. NAMB ensures trade tests for legacy listed trades are conducted as required by the SDA and related policies and regulations; and certification of trades and occupations occurs no later than 21 working days after a recommendation is received.

      6. QAPs with the delegated certification responsibility ensure that standards set in this policy are adhered to.

    2. Develop and manage the certification of qualifications on the OQSF through an appropriate certification system that will:

          1. ensure that the learner records submitted for certification are in the appropriate format and comply with policies and directives.

          2. QAPs managing the certification function ensure that they maintain a credible learner management information system and that all learner achievements are reported to SAQA for upload to the NLRD as required.

    3. Determine the norms and standards for certification through its directives and outline the certification process that will:

5.3.1. guide AQPs on the submission of data for certification as required by the QCTO.

    1. Advise the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Science and Technology on matters related to certification through the Occupational Qualifications Sub­ Framework Policy.
    2. Ensure compliance of assessment data for certification with policies and relevant legislation to:
      1. evaluate data against approved directives for certification and confirm compliance of learner records submitted for certification against approved qualification policies and regulations.
      2. Ensure that learner- assessment is approved and recorded within a turnaround time of 21 working days after assessment was conducted and reported and approved by the QAP.
      3. Ensure that learner certification is done within 21 working days against approved policies and that learner records certificated meet the minimum requirements for achievement of the qualification as set out in the requirements as registered on the OQSF.
      4. Ensure in the issuing of the certificate that the standards with regard to the security measures are adhered to as detailed in the relevant policy.
  1. Developing and managing certification of learner achievements through an appropriate certification programme

    1. The certification process commences when a learner registers/enrols for a qualification or enters into an agreement with a service provider who offers an occupational qualifications. The provider is obligated to upload learner enrolments to the QCTO in the QCTO approved format.Where qualifications are managed by the QAP as registered on the OQSF where no occupational qualification has replaced the legacy qualification or it has not phased out, the QAP must ensure that learner enrolments and data are managed to ensure that before learner assessments are conducted the learner enrolments are confirmed at the QAP and that assessment outcomes are reported to the QAP and uploaded within a 21 day working day period.The requirements to achieve the qualification; including the rules of combination as outlined in the specific occupational qualification, curriculum and assessment policies, informs certification. To achieve an occupational qualification a learner must comply with the rules of combination associated with the occupational qualifications.Occupational qualifications registered on the OQSF require that a learner must comply with the theoretical and practical learning as well as the workplace skills, components associated with the occupational qualification before the learner is allowed access to the external integrated summative assessment or trade test to be certificated.

      For legacy occupational qualifications registered on the OQSF, the QAP must ensure that a learner complies with all components for the award of the qualification as stipulated in the rules of combination for the qualification.

    2. The QCTO is responsible for ensuring that, through rigorous quality assurance processes, the certificate it issues meets the minimum requirements for the occupational qualifications. In this respect, the QCTO publishes directives for certification that must be adhered to by all quality assurance partners.The directives are to:
      1. outline the specific instructions regarding the submission of learner information for certification for an occupational qualification/part qualifications;
      2. further clarify certification requirements as outlined in the policy which governs the qualifications to be certified.
    3. The Assessment Quality Partners associated with the QCTO are responsible for the quality assurance and finalisation of assessment results, after which this is approved by the QCTO as stipulated in the policy for the approval of results. Furthermore, the AQPs submit learner assessment results for certification to the QCTO in terms of first issues and re-issues where there was an administrative error…The Quality Assurance Partners (QAPs) remain responsible for the certification of qualifications as quality assured under the delegation to QAPs, excluding the trades, until such date that the delegation of power is repealed or the qualification is phased out.
    4. A qualification registered on the OQSF, which is no longer offered or without a current registration status, is nevertheless retained on the OQSF and remains valid for certification (issuing of a replacement certificate or non-certified record submitted for certification after the phase out date).
    5. Application for a replacement certificate in lieu of a lost certificate must be submitted to the QCTO with associated payment for consideration and processing. This also includes transactions for re-issues not associated with an administrative error by the AQP in line with the directives for certification.
    6. The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Science and Technology may issue regulations, after consultation with the QCTO, with regard to the issuing of certificates for qualifications registered on the OQSF.
  2. Managing the certification process

    1. The QCTO manages the certification of learner records through the following processes:
      • developing and managing a certification IT-system that complies with policy requirements and QCTO directives for certification;
      • developing and managing suitable system processes and procedures for certification;
      • ensuring learner certification;
      • maintaining an updated database of all certificates issued and an audit trail on transactions executed by users on the system;
      • controlling access to the system and training users to undertake the processing of information for learner certification;
      • ensuring proper back-ups of the certification database; and
      • verifying learner records on request.
    2. The QAP must adhere to the principles of the QCTO as stipulated above in its certification process.
    3. The certification of learner records is managed in conjunction with the AQP that has the responsibility of recommending records for certification, following the approval of results by the QCTO. This is done in line with the policy and directives for certification.
    4. The Council approves and may consider the review of tariffs for certification and verification.
    5. AQPs are responsible for the collection of the certificates from the QCTO and distribution to certificate holders.
  3. Certification

    1. Certification of qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework
      1. The policy and directives for the certification of qualifications are informed by the SDA and OQSF and are further explicated in the relevant directives and policies for certification.
      2. The QCTO will review the Certification Policy every second year.
      3. The QCTO maintains the right to reject a recommendation for certification after approval of results by the QCTO as submitted by an AQP. This rejection may be due to a number of reasons, but can include non-compliance to the rules of combination and qualification requirements, certification requirements outlined in the SDA, regulations or QCTO policies and directives.
      4. In accordance with the rules of administrative justice, a qualification holder has the right to be informed of the rationale underlying the certification decision and exercise the right to appeal in accordance with the QCTO appeal’s policy.
      5. A learner that applies for Recognition of Prior Learning against an Occupational Qualification and meets the requirements associated with the qualification, will be granted access to the External Integrated Summative Assessment {EISA). On successful completion of the EISA and meeting the requirements of the qualification, the learner may be certificated.
  1. Responsibilities of Assessment Quality Partners/Quality Assessment Partners in certification

    9.1 The relevant AQP must:

    1. verify learner information and details;
    2. verify qualification information;
    3. request certification for competent learners that successfully completed a trade test or and External Integrated Summative Assessment within 14 working days after receiving the assessment results from an accredited assessment centre. Requests for occupational qualifications.is submitted as part of the request for the approval of results and will be processed and a certificate issued where applicable, within 21 working days after QCTO approval of results;
    4. submit information electronically to the QCTO in the prescribed format;
    5. distribute certificates to learners;
    6. keep records of all assessment results; and
    7. establish processes for requesting the re-issue of certificates where an administrative error occurred.
        1. The relevant QAP must:
          1. verify learner information and details;
          2. verify qualifications,
          3. jssue certificates of learner achievement within 21 working days of the approval of results (e.g. External Moderation)
          4. Distribute certificates to learners
          5. Establish processes for requesting the re-issue of certificates where an administrative error occurred
          6. Establish processes for requesting replacement certificates where an original certificate has been lost, misplaced or damaged.
          7. submit information electronically to the NLRD as required
          8. keep records of all assessment results
        2. The AQP for the Foundational Learning Competence (FLC) will issue statements of results to competent learners.
        3. The National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB), which is the accredited AQP for trades will recommend the certification of all trades currently recorded on the NLRD but without associated occupational qualifications, as well as for occupational qualifications where the final external integrated assessment is a trade test.
  2. Responsibilities of the QCTO

    1. The QCTO will:
      1. issue certificates within 21 working days after receipt of verified learner achievement information following the approval of results;
      2. distribute certificates to the relevant AQP once certificates have been printed;
      3. upload learner achievement data to the NLRD according to the NLRD data load specifications; and
      4. re-issue and replace certificates on request by the relevant AQP or individual.
    2. The QCTO may issue certificates for the FLC.
    3. The QCTO may verify learner results and information.
    4. The QCTO may revoke an occupational or trade certificate if it has established that it was issued under irregular circumstances or where a person has not met the qualification requirements for the awarding of the qualification.
  1. Ensuring security in the certification process

    11.1 A credible certification environment requires quality and security to be constantly foregrounded.

    The principles for ensuring security include:

    1. users with controlled access to the system;
    2. all activities on the system log an audit trail;
    3. accountable officers such as System Administrators maintain and manage user access to the system;
    4. the storage and printing of certificates take place in a secure environment;
    5. a record of all certificates issued is maintained;
    6. credible certification forms are used, which have security features that are regularly enhanced; and
        1. The QCTO ensures that the format for the certificate background paper for qualifications it certifies includes security features and improves its security features frequently to include the newest developments in the field of security printing. These steps are taken to reduce the possibility of fraudulent certificates being produced. QAPs must note the QCTO policy with regard to the security in certification.
        2. The QCTO has a zero tolerance approach to fraudulent and corrupt practices and therefore urges AQPs and QAPs and members of the public to:
          1. report any suspect irregular activities to the QCTO;
          2. refrain from irregular behaviour with the intention of compromising QCTO staff; and
          3. report any irregular behaviour by QCTO staff to the Chief Executive Offier.
        3. The QCTO Fraud Prevention Policy, Procedures and Plan Acts apply to all members of the QCTO staff and associates. The QCTO quality partners are required to uphold the same standards. Acts of dishonesty by a provider or assessment partner, submitting data to the QCTO may result in the learner achievement and certificate being nullified.
        4. The Occupational Certificate remains the property of the QCTO and the QCTO reserves the right to revoke and withdraw the Occupational Certificate if any evidencebackup and storage of data is maintained.

       

      comes to the light that confirms that the issuing of the certificate was compromised.

  2. Complaints and Appeals

The QCTO will investigate complaints about fraudulent certificates and non-issuing of certificates.

  1. Quality assurance and monitoring of policy implementation

    The QCTO will monitor the certification process in terms of this policy which are also applicable to QAPs under the delegated certification ·responsibility.

  2. Transitional Arrangements

Different dates of commencement may be determined for different sections as dictated by the commencement date of the NQF Act as amended in 2019.

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Assessment Policy for Qualifications and Part Qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF)

Glossary of terms

  • Accreditation The certification, usually for a particular period, of a person, a body or an institution as having the capacity to fulfil a particular function in the quality assurance system set up by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).
  • Administrative errors Means irregularities that are of a technical nature, where the student or an assessment official unintentionally fails to follow the prescribed administrative procedures.
  • Assessment The process of collecting evidence of learner’s work to measure and make judgements about the competence or non-competence of specified National Qualifications Framework (NQF) occupational standards or qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Assessment centre A centre accredited by the QCTO for the purpose of conducting external integrated summative assessments for specified NQF registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications
  • Assessment Process Includes the total process of assessment that commences once the candidate has satisfied and met the assessment criteria for writing an external integrated summative assessment including passing the knowledge, practical and workplace components.
  • Assessment Quality Partner A body delegated by the QCTO to develop assessment instruments and manage the external integrated summative assessments of specific NQF registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Assessment site Any site selected as suitable and approved by the relevant AQP to conduct the external integrated summative assessments for specified registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications, where the specific assessment specifications do not require the use of an accredited assessment centre.
  • Assessment specialist A person who has been appointed by the relevant
  • AQP in accordance with established criteria to conduct, develop and/or moderate external integrated summative assessments for NQF registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Applied competence The ability to put into practice in the relevant context the learning outcomes acquired in obtaining an occupational qualification or part qualification.
  • Candidate A person whose performance is being assessed by the relevant AQP at an accredited assessment centre or approved workplace.
  • External integrated summative assessment An assessment managed by a body appointed by the QCTO, using nationally developed assessment instruments at end of sections of learning or the end of the whole learning process to facilitate demonstration of both theory and practical competence in achieving the outcomes of the occupational qualification or part qualification.
  • Formative Assessment On-going assessments, reviews, and observations which would be a range of formal and informal assessment procedures applied during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities and to improve learners’ attainment;
  • Internal assessment refers to the assessment (formative assessment) conducted by a provider during the course of learning to re-inforce learning and support the learner. It also refers to internal self-evaluations done by the provider to monitor its general performance on the training delivery and formative assessments
  • Invigilator Means any person appointed to manage the conduct of an assessment.
  • Irregularity Means any event, act or omission and any alleged event, which may undermine the integrity, credibility, security, or the fairness of the assessment process.
  • Learner a person undergoing education and training at an accredited Skills Development Provider (SDP)
  • Moderation The process managed by the AQP which ensures that the assessment of the learning outcomes described in the NQF occupational standards, qualifications and part qualifications is fair, valid, reliable and unbiased.
  • Moderator A person who has been appointed by the relevant AQP in accordance with established criteria to ensure that the assessment process and procedure is fair, valid, reliable and unbiased.
  • Monitoring A continuous process of the review of quality that can be conducted internally and/or externally to recommend quality improvements.
  • National Learners Records’ Database The electronic management information system of the NQF, which contains records of qualifications, learner achievements, recognised professional bodies, professional designations and all related information such as registration and accreditations..
  • Occupational curriculum Is derived from the occupational profile and is the purposeful combination of conceptual, practical and work experience knowledge and skills in order to achieve a certain occupational qualification.
  • Occupational qualification A qualification associated with a trade, occupation or profession, resulting from work-based learning and consisting of the knowledge, practical skills and work experience standards as defined in the Skills Development Act (Act No. 97 of 1998).
  • Part qualification An assessed unit of learning that is registered on the NQF as a part qualification. Occupational part qualifications must comprise all three learning components.
  • Quality Assurance The process of ensuring that standards and procedures are adhered to and that delivered products or services meet performance requirements according to the QCTO requirements.
  • Skills Development Provider A body that delivers learning programmes which culminate in specified registered NQF occupational standards and qualifications and part qualifications and manages the internal assessment thereof.
  • Systems auditor The person responsible for auditing the management and information systems of the AQP
  • Validation The end-process by which it is determined by the relevant AQP whether or not an assessment is valid and leading to the acceptance or rejection of assessment results.
  • Verification The process managed by the relevant AQP for externally checking moderation processes and confirming or overturning moderation findings.

Preamble

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of section 26G of the Skills Development Act, of 1998 as a juristic person. It was listed as a public entity in Government Gazette No 33900 of 31 December 2010 effective from 1 April 2010 to establish the Sub-framework for Trades and Occupations. It is responsible for the development, maintenance and quality assurance of qualifications within its sub-framework.

External integrated summative assessment is an integral and critical component of the QCTO’s quality assurance system. External integrated summative assessment ensures consistency and credibility of the assessment of occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications. The external integrated summative assessment will be conducted by the relevant AQP, applying nationally standardised assessment instruments.

For learners to qualify for an external integrated summative assessment, they must provide proof of completion of all required modules. Foundational Learning Competence (FLC) is a pre-requisite for the external integrated summative assessment of all occupational qualifications and part qualifications at NQF levels 3 and 4.

  1. INTRODUCTION

    1.1 Objectives and criteria for assessment

    The objectives and criteria for External Integrated Summative Assessment are to:

      • outline how the external integrated summative assessment will be conducted, by whom how and where i.e. the model to be used

      • outline the requirements for the external integrated summative assessment for occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications and guide all assessment practices;
      • ensure that all assessment practices are aligned to legislation and national policy environment;
      • ensure that assessment is understood as an integrated process within the learning experience; and
      • outline the most appropriate way for the AQP to carry out its functions for the given context.

        1. Legislative and regulatory framework

          In terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998), the QCTO must design and develop occupational qualifications and standards and ensure the quality assurance thereof. A nationally standardised external integrated summative assessment (EISA) is an integral part of the quality assurance of occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications.

          This policy should be read in conjunction with the QCTO Policy on Delegation of Qualification Assessment to Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs).

        2. Audience and applicability

          This policy applies to AQPs responsible for developing standardised assessment instruments in accordance with the external assessment specifications document and accredited assessment centres responsible for conducting external summative assessments. The policy is applicable to the assessment of occupational qualifications and part qualifications registered on the Occupational Qualifications sub framework (OQSF).

        3. Rationale for a flexible approach

          The assessment strategy will vary according to a number of factors. Since the qualifications in the Occupational Qualifications Framework cover a variety of occupational contexts, levels of complexity, percentage of knowledge, practical skills and work experience as well as NQF levels, there can be no one model for external assessment which will suit all occupational qualifications. Part of the design process for each qualification focuses on determining the most efficient, effective, practical and economic way to conduct valid external assessment in the context of that particular qualification and this information is outlined in the Qualification Assessment Specifications document.

        4. Underlying principles and values

          The following principles and values must be taken into consideration during the development of the processes.

          External Assessment systems and processes must:

          1. be fair, reliable, valid, ethical and transparent
          2. be consistent across time, place, role players and respond to a non-sectoral demand led model
          3. use methodologies that are fit-for-purpose and reflect a consistent level of higher cognitive challenge
          4. avoid tendencies of exclusivity
  2. ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS

      1. Qualification Assessment Specifications

        The QCTO has introduced a compulsory external assessment as a prerequisite for certification for all occupational qualifications. The purpose of this is to establish and maintain a national standard for each occupational qualification. By ensuring the validity and reliability of the external summative assessment based on a national standard the QCTO aims to enhance the credibility of the certificates issued to qualifying learners for occupational qualifications.

        Internal assessment is conducted by providers in line with the guidelines given in the curriculum for each curriculum component. Workplaces offering the work experience are provided with a work experience record which must be completed and signed off, as well as specifications regarding supporting evidence to be collected. The learner achievements resulting from internal assessment are recorded in statements of results. Candidates become eligible for external assessment when they have all the statements of results as specified in the assessment specifications.

        Because the external assessment strategy needs to be fit for purpose, a Qualification Assessment Specifications document spelling out the requirements for external assessment is developed for each occupational qualification. Assessment instruments will be developed in accordance with the assessment strategy for each occupational qualification. The actual assessment is thus standardised nationally for all candidates for any single occupational qualification.

        When an organisation is appointed as an Assessment Quality Partner by the QCTO for a specified occupational qualification, its first task is to participate in the development of the Qualification Assessment Specifications for the qualification in question. The Qualification Assessment Specifications are developed during the qualification development process and it is expected that a minimum of 50% of the working group members should be experts in that particular occupational qualification.

      2. Criteria for the development of the external assessment specifications document

        1. The external assessment strategy must be included.
        2. Key occupational outcomes must be described.
        3. The point(s) at which the occupational qualification is to be assessed must be indicated.
        4. Critical identified elements of ‘external assessment’ to be externally moderated (if any) must be indicated.
        5. Eligibility requirements for candidates for external assessment must be specified.
        6. Exemplars of external assessment instruments must be included.
        7. The language(s) of assessment must be included.
        8. Minimum requirements (qualifications/experience) for the assessment specialists must be specified.
      3. Criteria for the development of external assessment instruments

        1. The guidelines on the content to be assessed should ensure consistency and quality across time, place, role players and occupations.
        2. Assessment instruments should be developed to ensure the validity, consistency, quality and credibility of the assessments.
        3. Assessment instruments should be based on the outcomes of the occupational qualification or part qualification and assessment criteria stated in the assessment specifications document.
        4. Assessment instruments should be developed by subject matter experts in a particular occupational qualification or part qualification.
      4. Assessment techniques

        A range of assessment techniques to ensure that assessment is educationally sound, appropriate to the discipline or field of study, all outcomes are assessed and the criteria of validity, reliability, authenticity and feasibility are met will be spelled out in the curriculum component of the occupational qualification, trade or part qualification.

      5. Responsibilities for the implementation of internal assessments

        1. The accredited Skills Development provider (SDP) is responsible for conducting formative assessments and learners must be given feedback on their performance;
        2. The SDP must conduct internal self-evaluations to monitor its general performance on the training delivery and formative assessments;
        3. The AQP and the QCTO will monitor the performance of the SDP with respect to the implementation of internal formative assessments and the internal self-evaluations of its performance on the training delivery and formative assessments.
      6. Roles and responsibilities of the QCTO

        The QCTO will

        1. Where necessary appoint an AQP for each occupational qualification or part qualification.
        2. Publish assessment specifications document, developed as part of the qualifications development process.
        3. Monitor and evaluate AQPs performance in managing the external integrated summative assessments and where necessary undertake audits to determine the quality performance of AQPs.
        4. Ensure that national standards are met through monitoring and evaluation of the execution of functions by the AQP.
        5. Evaluate the assessment and moderation processes.
        6. Maintain a database of accredited SDPs and assessment centres/sites.
        7. Monitor adherence to the QCTOs Code of Conduct for AQPs.
        8. Monitor the readiness of learners for the EISA
      7. Roles and responsibilities of the AQP

        The AQP will:

        1. Ensure that it receives learner enrolment data from accredited Skills Development Providers (SDPs) on time for planning purposes.
        2. issue candidate registration numbers after the learners have been recommended to sit for final external assessment;
        3. Liaise with the accredited assessment centres and approved sites on assessment instruments to be administered for a particular session.
        4. Ensure that complete assessment instruments and related documentation are forwarded to the accredited assessment centres and approved sites in a secure manner agreed upon.
        5. Keep a record of assessment specialists that assess and moderate the external assessments involving practical tasks which are conducted at decentralised assessment centres that simulate working conditions or approved workplace sites.
        6. Ensure that learner results are credible and that the assessment process was fair, valid, reliable and unbiased.
      8. Roles and responsibilities of assessment centres

        Accredited assessment centres are addressed in a separate policy as they must meet a number of criteria. The accredited assessment centres and their approved sites will ensure that:

        1. Assessment instruments should be developed to ensure the validity, consistency, quality and credibility of the assessments.
        2. There are sufficient invigilators during assessments and they receive appropriate training.
        3. There are no fraudulent activities during the assessment.
        4. The safe storage of assessment instruments and related documentation is adhered to.
        5. Assessment results are delivered to the relevant AQP within the stipulated time and in a manner agreed upon.
        6. Assessment materials are marked and results are captured accordingly.
      9. Roles and responsibilities of systems auditors, invigilators and administrators

        These key role-players need not necessarily be subject matter experts or expert practitioners since they focus on compliance. They check:

        1. That all relevant assessment policies and procedures are implemented correctly
        2. The secure handling of the assessment instruments and
        3. The procedures for checking the identity of candidates and
        4. The authenticity of the assessment processes.
      10. Roles and responsibilities of the skills development providers

        The skills development providers will:

        1. Conduct internal assessment in line with the guidelines given in the curriculum for each curriculum component.
        2. Record the learner achievements resulting from formative assessments in statements of results.
        3. Register the learners with the AQP when they become eligible for final integrated external assessment.
        4. Coordinate the provision and assessment of the knowledge and practical skills curriculum components of an occupational qualification based on the recommendations from the AQP.
        5. Liaise with workplaces to assist candidates to have access to work experience.
      11. Roles and responsibilities of the learners

        The learners must:

        1. Take responsibility for their learning and assessment by being active participants;
        2. Participate in assessment processes in an honest and disciplined manner;
        3. Monitor their learning towards readiness to sit for an external summative assessment and inform the provider when ready for external assessment;
        4. Know the appeals procedure of the AQP so that they can follow it should there be a need to do so.
      12. Complaints and Appeals

        1. Complaints about the assessment and assessment process by learners should be lodged at the accredited assessment centre or approved site.
        2. Appeals on the assessment and assessment process by learners should be lodged with the relevant AQP, in which the decision of the AQP appeals committee shall be final.
  3. MANAGEMENT OF ASSESSMENT

      1. Coordination of Component Provision

        The QCTO will ensure, for occupational qualifications, that a single agent is responsible to assist learners to navigate through all three learning components and have access to the external summative assessment.

      2. Entry requirements

        In order to qualify for entry into the final external integrated summative assessment, a learner will have:

        1. been enrolled with a QCTO accredited provider for that particular occupational qualification;
        2. met the entry requirements specified in the registered occupational qualification document;
        3. met the requirements for the knowledge, practical and work experience components of the occupational qualification; and
        4. met the requirements for FLC where applicable.
  4. QUALITY ASSURANCE AND MONITORING OF POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

    1. The effectiveness of the policy on the external integrated summative assessment shall be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis against the set quality assurance standards and associated performance indicators to identify and implement appropriate amendments aimed at improving the effectiveness, efficiency, economy and impact of the said policy and procedures.
    2. Best practices in the occupational space for policy implementation will be identified and best practice models will be used to benchmark the practice amongst AQPs.
    3. On appointment the Assessment Quality Partner signs a Service Level Agreement with the QCTO. This provides a schedule for implementation of the QCTO model for external assessment, giving deadlines for each requirement during the first year of appointment. This schedule provides the basis for the QCTO to monitor, evaluate and review the initial activities of the AQP.
    4. In addition, the QCTO has a standardised data reporting template which must be completed and submitted quarterly. This provides specified quantitative data to the QCTO.
    5. Each year after the first year of appointment the AQP must also complete and submit a qualitative report, which serves the dual purpose of a self-evaluation, assisting in strategic planning for the coming year, and of providing the QCTO with the basis for continued monitoring, evaluation and review.