Anti Discriminatory Practice: Assessors Training Program Essay
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Anti-discriminatory practice underpins all good practice as it seeks to prevent the division and oppression created and legitimised by individuals, groups and organisations, divisions that include class, race, gender, age, disability and sexual orientation. These divisions are often accepted as the norm and are then perpetuated unwittingly.
Good anti-discriminatory practice requires competent workers to be aware of discrimination and how to challenge this. Gender awareness includes the need to avoid stereotyping roles and employment as “women’s work” and to challenge the notions that women are unable to undertake certain roles within the workplace.
Race awareness includes the need to be aware of how language and behaviour discriminates against individuals from ethnic groups on an individual, organisational and societal level. There is also a need to have some understanding of custom and norms for an individual and to show sensitivity to that individual. Disability awareness requires the need to understand that disability is created by society, both physically and by the way that society is ordered.
Good practice demands that norms are challenged and individuals are supported to access mainstream activities such as employment, social opportunities and healthcare.
In order to ensure assessments are fair the workplace assessor needs to ensure that the assessment is carried out solely against the National Occupational Standards and that the assessment is organised and conducted in a way which does not disadvantage the candidate. Candidates need to be made aware of the appeals process in order to act when they disagree with any decisions of the assessment process. The process needs to be free from barriers which restrict access and progression for candidates and needs to be available to all whom are able to demonstrate the standard by whatever means.
The assessor needs to ensure that there is no discrimination against candidates and that if any evidence gathering methods are found to be discriminatory, they are reported to an appropriate authority without delay. The assessment process needs to take account of any special requirements of the candidate and that the assessor ensures fair access to assessment takes account of the candidates shift patterns , domestic circumstances and that valid evidence of competency can be demonstrated at work. Assessors may also need to be aware that evidence may be presented in a different format than that which the assessor would prefer e.g. oral instead of written, alternative forms of evidence can be clarified with the internal verifier.
There is the potential for bias in the assessment process both for and against candidates. Assessors need to be aware of the need to judge the evidence only against the agreed standards and not be influenced by friendship with the candidate. It is useful to be aware that the assessment process is one of examining practice in the workplace and not an examination of the candidates’ personal attributes. Bias can influence the assessment process in many ways: ‘Halo’ / ‘Horns’ effect where the assessor assumes good or poor practice by the candidate without any evidence being shown, based on past experience. Stereotyping, where assumptions are made about a candidates practice based upon their personal characteristics, this can lead the assessor to be biased in the assumption about the candidates practice and about evidence gathering by the assessor.
Contrast effects, where one candidate’s performance is compared to another candidate and found to be not-competent, without being objectively assessed against the national standards. Excessive evidence demands, the assessor may need to liaise with the internal verifier to ensure that the demands for evidence are not excessive. This is particularly pertinent where a candidate’s performance has not met the standard on one occasion, the assessor may ask for an undue amount of evidence of competence. Generalising where the assessor decides that evidence of competence of one standard infers competence in others with no supporting evidence.
The assessor may encounter the need for special assessment requirements in the process of assessment against the national standards. The assessor needs to be aware of the need to provide alternative forms of assessment for candidates whom face difficulties in accessing the assessment process. These difficulties may include:
Permanent physical impairment
Temporary physical impairment
The assessor may need to find an alternative way of assessing the candidates’ competence, which must however be valid, authentic, current and competent as well as meeting the standards set out in the National Occupational Standards. The assessor may find it helpful in consulting the internal verifier to ensure that planned assessments and evidence gathered will satisfy the standards.
The practicalities of assessing candidates with special assessment requirements will depend on individual candidates but there will be some common solutions. The use of interpretation services such as signing for a candidate whom is hearing impaired, transcription of the standards to Braille or audio tape may be useful for someone with a visual impairment.
Evidence could be presented in alternative formats where require. A person with a visual impairment may choose to present aural evidence such as taped statements which could be recorded in the evidence index and transcribed to a Personal Statement form for the assessor and verifiers. In most cases the candidate will be able to choose which format will be the most useful for the purpose and as long as the evidence can be made accessible to the assessor and verifiers then there should be a minimisation of the barrier to fair assessment for the candidate.