Competencies, Expectations and Learning Contracts in Work-based Assessment: How are they related?


The National Forum, in partnership with QQI, hosted an online webinar to explore how the assessment of work-integrated learning can be challenging in relation to the: 

  • Expectation of what is to be assessed in advance of the experience (the level and number of competencies), 

  • The diverse learning opportunities provided by the placement/experience for these competencies, and the 

  • Unique learning goals of the students. ​

Recent research by Associate Professor Geraldine O’Neill as part of her National Forum Teaching and Learning (NFTL) Research Fellowship has highlighted some initial findings that may help understand the relationship between these three challenges. For example, disciplinary groups in the research highlighted:  

  1. the importance of the clarification of expectations in work-based assessment; 

  2. the need to avoid over-specification of competencies; 

  3. the value of inter-stakeholder dialogue; and 

  4. the creation of context-specific learning contracts. 

​This webinar presented some of the initial findings from this NFTL Research Fellowship and served to support further discussion around their implications for practice and policy.