N.E. Debeus-Labohm, F.A. Jellema

The Hague University of Applied Sciences (NETHERLANDS)
The study program Skin Therapy has a competency-based curriculum in which a strong relationship with the professional in the field is important. Therefor assignments are based upon critical professional situations. The assessment can be seen as a major test of the first year and whether the student has sufficient skintherapy competencies and knowledge in authentic professional situations. The assessment should be reliable and should actually measure what has been learned in the academic year ("alignment"). The authenticity of the assessment is important too: the test should reflect tasks that the student will be doing as a professional. For that reason, professionals are involved in the assessment for the development, the rating and the evaluation of the assessment.

The conclusion in this research was:
1. The inter-rater reliability was insufficient to assess the communication skills of the students. It may be that communication is more difficult to assess and there is more individual interpretation than with skin therapeutic skills. It may also be that assessors are not sufficiently trained.
2. Students experience little alignment between education and assessment. This is partly explained by the experience that first-year students do not look much further ahead than one study period(10 weeks). On the other hand, the exact content of the assessment during this year was still unknown, so that education may indeed been insufficientin line with the final test.
3. Students and assessors are generally satisfied with the implementation of the assessment. Students do ask for more information prior to the assessment. Feedback after a part of the assessment is regarded as useful, but can be de-motivating when it's negative feedback. The learning effect of feedback at an earlier stage, would be more useful (for example, a pilot assessment for students) since the purpose of the assessment itself is to make an assessment of the competencies of the student. It's not primarily a learning experience.
4. Different competencies were assessed in different professional authentic situations. Students and assessors see this as a meaningful component of the assessment. The involvement of professionals from the field helped to develop the assignments.

This lead to the following recommendations:
• The reliability of the assessment can be raised if a dress rehearsal with the assessors takes place.
• To ensure the alignment it is important that the assessment is developed at the start of the academic year.
• From day one, students must repeatedly hear and see that they are working on a successful completion of the assessment
• A pilot assessment (possibly in part) should be embedded.
• The student will receive no feedback during the assessment, because this is an 'assessment of learning' and not an 'assessment for learning'.
• Involving all teachers in the development of the assessment is a strong point, it increases commitment among teachers and students are guided in their preparation.
• Skin Therapists should be more involved in the development of the assessment and possibly also in the education.

The final conclusion:
• Multiple assessors look with different perspectives at the competencies of the student
• The student can demonstrate all her skills at the same time
• It provides teachers and professionals from the field an unique opportunity to work together, which leads to improve the assessment itself, and inspiring eachother.