Study on Existing Frameworks to Validate Competence of Career Guidance Practitioners

This Study, written in 2011 by Leonardo Evangelista for the project IMPROVE, presents the findings from a research that has examined some frameworks used at national or international level to recognize competent career guidance practitioners or competent workers in general.

The following frameworks have been examined: EVGP Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner (chapter 10), MEVOC and ECGC European Career Guidance Certificate (11), EAF European Accreditation Framework for Career Guidance Practitioners (12), UK’s National Occupational Standards and NVQs for Advice and Guidance (13), EuroPsy, the European Certificate in Psychology (14), ISO/IEC 17024 General requirements for bodies operating certifications of persons (15).

Chapters 1-9 describe how the frameworks can be structured. Every framework is structured with:

1. something that is gained by the successful applicant. It could be an occupational title (such as Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner) or a specification in an occupational title (Registered EuroPsy Psychologist, Career Guidance Practitioner Accredited for -name of the main task-), or a certificate (Award in Career Guidance, European Certificate For Career Guidance Counselors)

2. A set of elements that the successful applicant must possess or master to be accredited that are assessed during the assessment procedure. These can be A. qualifications, B. experience, C. personal features (such as knowledge, technical and transversal skills, attitudes, and so on) or D. main job tasks to master (chapter 3). Each different set corresponds to a specific approach, even if elements of different approached can be requested in the same framework (chapter 5).

3. A procedure for assessment of the elements at the previous point. During the assessment process, evidences of possession of the elements featured in each framework will be collected or elicited. The assessment procedure will change depending from the elements.

Of the examined frameworks, EAF and NVQs for Advice and Guidance proved to be truly performance based, while EVGP, MEVOC and EuroPsy are mixed. ISO/IEC 17024 is instead a set of guidelines on how to structure a general system for accrediting workers.

Of the four approaches highlighted above, the one based on performance proved to be the most reliable because based on direct observation or reconstruction of performance, while the others are indirect, based on possession of antecedents that are only probabilistically related to performance (chapter 3). Possession of qualifications and experience are a useful shortcuts for a first screening of applicants, but on our opinion they don’t suffice for identifying competent workers. Frameworks based on possession of personal features (so called ‘competencies based frameworks’) proved to be more mistake prone (chapter 7) and cumbersome in assessment.

In developing a framework, two sources of mistakes should be avoided (chapter 6). The first is poor individuation of the elements the candidate to validation has to possess or to master to get accredited. This directs assessment towards elements external to the sector, minor or too much aggregate, this way causing the results of the validation procedure to be unreliable even if the assessment procedure is effective.

The second source of mistake depends on the method of assessment of the elements the candidate must possess or master. If the method of assessment is not effective the results of the validation procedure will be unreliable even if the elements the candidate to validation has to possess or to master have been properly identified.

A final point worth considering when developing a framework is the tradeoff between effectiveness and cumbersomeness of the assessment procedure. A methodology very effective but too costly or lengthy (as it could be approaches C and D) has little possibility to become widespread, except in the case it is imposed by a public authority. On the other side a methodology light but not reliable (as approaches A and B) is of little utility.

The Study can be downloaded here validation frameworks in career guidance.


Article contained on the website Autore Leonardo Evangelista. Leonardo Evangelista si occupa di orientamento dal 1993. The project IMPROVE project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the
information contained therein.


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