Being awarded a certificate of competency on the Sustainability Education Academy is a notable achievement. Someone who has achieved a certificate of competency has not just watched a series of videos or read a series of papers.

A certificate of competence means that you have passed an assessment, and been assessed as competent.

The assessment has been prepared by an expert, or group of experts, and is based on those key areas which demonstrate competence. For example, if someone was being assessed as being able to undertake basic arithmetic, the areas of competency assessed would be addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The student would have to answer questions and proving competence to undertake basic arithmetic. For example, to correctly answer the question 7 x 8.

The certificate lists those each of the major areas of competence for the course.  

There are broadly three types of assessments that can be undertaken.

1. An assessment for which there are prescribed answers, and the assessment can be undertaken automatically.

These are not just the common single choice assessments that often feature in examinations. The assessment can be based on a variety of assessment types, including single choice, multiple choice, fill in the blank, free text, sorting type assessment, or categorisation type assessment. With a single choice assessment, where there are four questions, even a random guess means the student has a 25% chance of getting the question right, or a 50% change with a yes/no type question. However with assessment types such as fill in the blank, or free text, the student has to know the actual answer.

For example, the question could be “what is 13 x 13?”. The only correct answer, that must be typed in, is 169.

Questions are randomly selected from a pool of questions, so its unlikely that any two students will get exactly the same set of questions.

This is a rigorous assessment, and the student is issued with a certificate stating that they have been assessed as having the knowledge needed to meet the competencies.

2. An assessment undertaken directly by an human subject-matter expert, based on short answers or comments by the student. These are assessments where some expert judgement needs to be exercised to determine if the student has responded correctly, and where is it not practical or possible to automate the assessment.

This is also a rigorous assessment, and the student is issued with a certificate stating that they have been assessed as having the knowledge needed to meet the competencies. The name of the assessor also appears on the certificate.

3. An assessment undertaken directly by an human subject-matter expert, based on an assignment or complex task or examination. There are assessments where expert judgement needs to be exercised. For example, a student may be provided a scenario, or some data, and asked to analyse it and present a report.

This is the most rigorous assessment, and the student is issued with a certificate stating that they have been assessed as having the skills needed to meet the competencies. The name of the examiner also appears on the certificate.

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