Other mapping methods
Other mapping methods are probably okay, but they depend on having another easy-to-lose piece of paper:
- color-code hardcopies of units to tools and file them.
- color-code a spare copy of assessment documents to the unit requirements and file it.
- on a spare copy of assessment documents, write the requirements next to each question or activity, record the Element or Performance Criteria that that it covers (e.g. [PC 1.2, 1.4, 2.3]). Where the assessment is more general like a Portfolio, this information can be recorded at the end for the whole assessment.)
Two methods to avoid
It was once trendy for every document have all requirements mapped on it in full text. This produced huge amounts of hard-to-read, confusing paperwork with no added value during the actual assessment.
Do not simply describe your process orally to the auditor. From an audit view, it is quited permissable because an oral description is still evidence in an audit. However, it comes with many traps. What happens when personnel change? Could you forget? What about if it gets too complicated to remember the details? What about if it's needed for a desktop audit?
Another simple procedure
This method is very good and had passed audit in the past. However, it then unexpectedly failed an audit although the reason was not given. Consequently, we no longer recommend this method in its current form.
The method didn't do everything perfectly, but it had many advantages:
- Tools were faster to write
- Tools exactly reflected the requirements
- Tools were easy to use
- Tools were easy to improve through field-tests.
- The writing task was much easier because it used the packages themselves as a source.
- It was easy to keep track of documents because an assessment tool for one unit was normally one page and one html file.
- This procedure transformed a large wordy unit into a simple explanation to students of what they were to do, and disclosed how they were to be assessed. It made the unit quite specific to what they will actually do.
- Following this procedure precisely did most of the mapping, because it showed how the tool met all training package requirements and had enough evidence for each element. The simplest way was to write a narrative of how I did it, but if I followed the procedure rigidly, there was no need for a new, separate mapping document. It was then a simple matter to keep a copy of the procedure linked to the particular unit, cluster or qualification.
Here is the procedure:
- Get a soft copy of the unit into your word processor on your computer.
- Simplify the layout. Get rid of boxes, unnecessary numbering, etc.
- Keep parts of the unit descriptor as they are a good explanation of what the unit is about.
- Delete everything that isn't actually a requirement. This includes advice, unnecessary section titles, general descriptions, etc. Delete unnecessary stuff even if it's interesting.
- Some unit requirements are for assessors to comply with and don't apply directly to the students. Put them either in instructions to the assessor, or take a short-cut and tell students that "your assessor will ..."
- Delete redundancies so everything is mentioned just once. In particular, "required skills" are usually mentioned in the elements and criteria. (In fact, you might need to check for redundancies many times throughout the process.)
- Get rid of gobbledygook. Translate everything into the kind of plain English that is used in the everyday workplace:
- This includes performance criteria, which have often been written badly.
- If students have to know legislation, include a simple synopsis of what they need to know.
- If it says "in accordance with," replace it with "according to."
- If it says "in accordance with organizational procedure" and you're working in a real or simulated workplace, you can refer them to the actual procedure. Otherwise, simplify it to "according to your organization's procedure."
- If is says "relevant person" tell them exactly who. Often (but not always), it simply means "your supervisor."
- Check the assessment context. It is usually the workplace over a substantial period of time.
- Decide upon assessment modes and the most naturally occurring kind of evidence. For example, you could interview the student, observe the student doing the assessment tasks, ask for a portfolio, etc. You can also an interview the workplace supervisor or get a supervisor reference.
- What else?
- Do you need to tell them that they need to know what to if if things don't go to plan (i.e. they have to handle contingencies).
- You might need to include any "how-to" information" so your students can understand what is expected.
- Check that everything is in a sensible, useful order so your students can understand it easily.
- Tidy up page layout. Make it look good and easy to read.
- Check other requirements:
- Valid, reliable, fair and flexible
- Focus on the application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace and cover all aspects of workplace performance.
- Check that your tools are concrete and clear enough to be reliable.
- Is it clear enough for your students to know exactly what is required for the assessment?
- Is it clear enough for another assessor to know exactly what is required and how to conduct the assessment?