HSE Experts Develop New Ways to Assess Professional Skills
Their ideas formed the basis of a declaration that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova proposed be signed by the participating countries of the 45th WorldSkills Championship. The championship comes to a close in Kazan on August 27.
HSE and WorldSkills
There are several international systems of quality assessment for K-12 education: PIRLS, TIMSS and PISA are used to assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities of students in different areas and at different academic levels. But, despite a clear need for it, there is no universally recognized assessment system for post-secondary vocational education. And creating such a system, according to Isak Fourmin, Head of the HSE Institute of Education, presents a ‘complex intellectual and political challenge’.
HSE experts decided to take on this challenge. In developing the basis of the new system, the experts proposed to draw upon the experience of the international movement, WorldSkills—professional competitions where students demonstrate their skills in applied professions (or in WorldSkills terminology, their ‘competencies’). Russia joined the movement in 2012, and by 2019 Russia had been designated a WorldSkills Competition host. This year, Russia hosted the competition in Kazan, where more than 1,300 contestants from 63 countries and regions participated.
The HSE Institute of Education has been a WorldSkills Russia Partner since 2018. At the WorldSkills World Championship in Kazan, Isak Froumin presented a report, ‘New Opportunities of WorldSkills for Comparable Assessment of Professional Education’, to education leaders of Russia and other countries. The report was prepared by Russian experts with the participation of representatives of the WorldSkills international movement from Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands under the leadership of Fedor Dudyrev, Director of the Centre for Vocational Education and Skills Development.
Which Competencies Need to Be Considered
The authors of the report analyzed both traditional and innovative approaches to assessing skills and qualifications that are used in different countries, and the potential of WorldSkills tools to facilitate objective assessment of college graduates—something that remains necessary for assessing the competencies of young people entering the labor market.
The assessment procedures used in working professional championships can serve as the basis of an international standard for assessing educational quality
At the same time, it is necessary to evaluate not only students’ level of professional preparedness, but their ‘21st century skills’ – their ability to communicate and collaborate, think critically, and so on, as well as their technical competencies, without which it is impossible to get by in practically any field.
‘Along with professional skills, they should enable young people to be successful both professionally and socially, and to ensure their long-term competitiveness in a rapidly changing world,’ the report says.
Why It Is Important
The idea of developing universal methods for assessing the ability of vocational and technical colleges to prepare their graduates for the workforce served as the basis of the so-called Kazan Declaration. Russian Deputy Prime Minster Tatyana Golikova proposed that the declaration be accepted by the participating countries of the WorldSkills movement. Russian Minister of Education Olga Vasilyeva also underscored the need for this kind of assessment, saying that the content of post-secondary vocational education and graduate assessment ‘are of concern to everyone in a rapidly changing world’.
Tatyana Golikova affirmed that uniform criteria are needed in order to compare post-secondary vocational education systems on an international scale. This will help track system progress in accordance with an international standard. In light of its position in the overall ranking, each country will then be able to make appropriate changes to its national educational policy.
‘For further study of post-secondary vocational education quality assessment, we will need other international and national expert institutions to participate,’ said Isak Froumin. ‘Only by combining our efforts can all interested parties help ensure a coordinated and progressive movement towards the development of modern standards and tools for assessing the skills of young people entering the labor market.’