The effectiveness of Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Care

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Purpose: To assess the impact of SVQs on candidates’ work performance, and to analyse the assessment process, writes Ray Pavey.

Main Findings: Individual and team performance is improved by SVQs in Care. Between 83 per cent and 91 per cent of the 179 participants, drawn from 21 centres across Scotland, reported improvements in role clarity, confidence, knowledge and application, practice skill and reflectiveness. Less than 10 per cent were negative about its value.

Findings were less clear cut on the SVQ content and process though candidates remained largely positive. They reflected a general sense from assessors that documentation and assessment systems still require significant improvement. A current UK review of the Care Awards is looking at these concerns.

Practice implications: Becoming a workplace assessor is an expectation for most line managers in social care. However, many managers do find the assessment task onerous, and sometimes feel unsupported by their organisations.

An unevenness in achievement suggests more detailed research is needed to pinpoint best practice.

There is a need to simplify SVQs in Care: they are mostly a positive influence for improved practice, but still require improved structures, content and language.

Ray Pavey is a social work and education consultant.

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