January 13 2011 (Thursday) - An Assessment

As an assessor myself I enjoy assessing other trainees. I like visiting other hospitals. I feel I get a lot from the experience; I learn a lot, and (hopefully) at the end of my visit everyone is smiling after a successful assessment. (I failed one once, but that’s another story…). However when I have an assessor in to see one of my trainees I am worried sick. I hate it!
The point of the assessment was to examine the trainee’s pre registration portfolio and to see if he had met all the criteria. I’ve actually gone to the trouble to produce a website all about this pre registration portfolio. Ideally someone else would have done this already, but the formal advice we receive about this is minimal. The idea is that the advice should be minimal to encourage the trainees to be artistic and creative in compiling their portfolio. No two portfolios should be the same; each should show the individual compiler’s input.

Some assessors (like me, I hope) have taken this philosophy on board. Others (to be fair it is a small minority) come along with a fixed view of right and wrong; their way being right and everyone else’s being wrong. I have encountered such narrow minded assessors in the past, and had to fiercely argue my trainee’s worth.
In one such case I challenged the assessor to explain why she felt certain work was not up to the required standard. Her answer was “I don’t like it!”, snarled in a rather arrogant fashion. She eventually admitted defeat very gracelessly. Another assessor once criticised one of my student’s work for having both too much and too little health and safety input. And then went on to refuse to see any contradiction.

As part of the assessment process the assessor interviewed me, and asked if I had any difficulties in mentoring. I told her that I hated the variability between assessors. She laughed, and related her experiences. She’d had dealings with a chap who would only accept work from a student in a question-and-answer format. Essays, case studies, reflections were all worthless to him. I liked today’s assessor. She (like me I hope) knew what she was doing. My chap passed his assessment. That’s now nineteen trainees I’ve overseen to qualification.

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