No Intention to Learn: Unintentional Learning from the Assessment of Competence.

Maskell, Jan (2012) No Intention to Learn: Unintentional Learning from the Assessment of Competence. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This aim of this study was to examine what, and how, candidates learn from participating in an assessment of competence process where there is no explicit intention to learn. The awarding body, advisors and candidates focus on the assessment process as a route to membership and appear blind to the potential for learning from assessment. It was clear in this study that candidates pursued this route to membership precisely because it met their expressed motives to gain professional status and credibility with clients; a requirement for their current job role or for future roles - none claimed a motive to learn but they did recognise that overall the process was developmental. Advisors also acknowledged that candidates were pursuing this route for the outcome rather than for what development might happen during the process. The research addressed the questions of the role of narrative and of the advisor in the assessment of competence and what learning occurred as a result of the assessment process. This was driven by an interest in the applications of narrative in the assessment process and the research analysis. Candidates told the stories of their experience of the process and provided copies of their written accounts explaining how the evidence of their work met the assessment criteria. Advisors told the stories of their experiences with candidates. These sources were analysed using a methodological process of narrative inquiry from a social constructivist perspective. The findings showed evidence of learning occurring as a result of the assessment of competence process, beyond that required from the assessment criteria and standards, in the three areas of propositional, process, and personal learning. The role of written narrative as an artefact was important in motivating candidates: where they could see their portfolio growing. The role of the advisor was both as a mentor: directing and supporting; and as a coach: enabling and facilitating. Advisors offered an extra dimension to the candidates' reflections by interpreting the standards; making connections between the standards and the candidates' work experience; and giving formative feedback. The role of the advisor incorporated reflection and social learning: through helping candidates to make meaning of their experiences and expanding their stories, candidates moved from sense making to transformative learning, from surface to deep approaches to learning. Unintended learning should not be a surprise output from the competence assessment process: learning will occur despite the focus on the assessment of learning and despite there being no formal acknowledgement of assessment for learning. Because the process includes re-engagement with work experiences, written and spoken reflective processes, a deep approach to learning can ensue. There are possible applications of this research in the areas of competence assessment; academic tutorials; supervision or appraisal discussions; assessment and development centres; mentoring and coaching, where the use of competences, written and spoken narratives come together to enable learning from the process itself.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2012.
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Deposited On:
02 May 2019 16:36
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:35