The challenge of assessing professional competence in work integrated learning

McNamara, Judith (2011) The challenge of assessing professional competence in work integrated learning. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.

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A fundamental aspect of work integrated learning (WIL) is the development of professional competence, the ability of students to perform in the work place. Alignment theory therefore suggests that the assessment of WIL should include an assessment of students’ demonstration of professional competence in the workplace. The assessment of professional competence in WIL is, however, problematic. It may be impractical for the academic supervisor to directly assess professional competence if there is a large number of students in external placements. If evidence of professional competence is provided by the student, the student’s ability to articulate his or her own capabilities will interfere with the validity of the assessment. If evidence of professional competency is provided by the supervisor then the assessment is heavily dependent on the individual supervisor and may be unreliable. This paper will examine the literature relating to the assessment of professional competence in WIL. The paper will be informed by the author’s experience in coordinating a WIL subject in an undergraduate law course. It will recommend that a mix of evidence provided by the student, the workplace supervisor and the academic supervisor should be used to assess professional competence in WIL.

Impact and interest:

7 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 46100
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published online
Keywords: work integrated learning, internship, assessment, portfolio, collaborative assessment, HERN, LJHERN
DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2011.618878
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Taylor and Francis
Copyright Statement: This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education © 2011 Taylor and Francis; Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Educationis available online at:
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2011 23:06
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2013 07:26

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