A Cedefop expert workshop on 26 and 27 March addressed the different mechanisms that ensure the quality of certification process in initial vocational education and training (IVET) so that a qualification can be credible and trusted by all.

In his opening speech, Cedefop Director James Calleja said that certification should reflect a true and fair judgement of what a person has learned and is able to do to use it in employment and for lifelong learning. It should be transparent and use statements of learning outcomes which can be understood by different actors in education and training, and representatives of the world of work.

Policy-makers and practitioners from 22 European countries discussed findings of Cedefop’s work in two closely related areas of VET quality assurance and on the application of learning outcomes across Europe. The key messages from the discussions underlined:

  • the need for a holistic approach in quality assurance complementing traditional teaching provision styles with outcome-based approaches;
  • the importance of involving labour market stakeholders in assessment and certification;
  • the need for capacity building; to develop and update competences of teachers/trainers/assessors and to establish a clear and common understanding of the learning outcomes to be assessed;
  • the important role of formative assessment for supporting teaching and  learning processes;
  • the need to strengthen review in quality assurance at system and VET-provider level by using results of the certification process.

The workshop results will inform Cedefop’s work on creating synergies between the European tools and instruments and the finalisation of the comparative studies on quality assurance of certification in IVET and on the application of learning outcomes approaches across Europe. They will also contribute to Cedefop’s first policy learning forum on writing and application of learning outcomes which will be organised in September 2015.