Assessment VE – Best Practice
Educator: Claudio Marasco
The ADG is showcasing a series of Assessment Best Practice of Vocational Education in the College of Business.
In the first of the series Nigel Morkel-Kingsbury interviews Claudio Marasco who highlights the Financial Services Practice Firm (FSPF).
Nigel: Hi Claudio, in which programs is the FSPF incorporated into?
Claudio: The FSPF is embedded in seven courses within the Diploma of Accounting, three within the Diploma of Financial Services and eleven courses within the Diploma of Financial Planning. These courses are taught in the FSPF throughout the two semester duration of the (various) Diploma.
Nigel: How are the courses designed to simulate the workplace?
Claudio: Predominately when we set-up the FSPF, we worked along the theory that the students must perform a task that simulates what an Accountant, for example, would do in the workplace. So, the Diploma of Accounting students would prepare a BAS Statement or prepare the Payroll for the month and this activity in this instance, would be an assessment in the actual work space. We decided that what students did in the Practice Firm had to replicate/simulate the workplace and not a traditional activity or practice in the classroom.
Nigel: How are the assessments written for a student to be job ready?
Claudio: Getting a student ready for a job is crucial, so the aim is for students to assume the role of an Accountant, or Banker, or Financial Planner in the 12 months of their Diploma. For example, students in the Advanced Diploma of Accounting, will also undertake up to four weeks of work placement in an actual Accounting role in industry to further enhance the workplace skills they have gained by participating in the FSPF.
Nigel: Why are the assessments ‘successful’?
Claudio: Yes, primarily due to better engagement by the students when participating in the FSPF. Attendance improved and the students did put in more effort which reflected in their final results. We feel they have gained ‘work-ready’ skills via the FSPF that they would not have gained via the traditional classroom teaching practices and methods.
Nigel: What future developments of the FSPF would you like to see?
Claudio: Two main things here: Embedding the FSPF into many more courses in the three programs and incorporating work placement for some students to enhance what they have learned in the FSPF; and if we secure our own dedicated space, the FSPF will reach its full potential.
Nigel: What feedback have you received from stakeholders?
Claudio: Yes, firstly teachers report that there are better engagement and results by students; feedback from students themselves is very positive – that they are learning what it is like to be an Accountant, for example; the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) members fully support the implementation of the FSPF as a new way of learning; and all levels of Management appreciate all work done by teachers and managers in the incorporation of the FSPF.
Nigel: Do you have any other comments?
Claudio: In short, the success has been encouraging and feedback and support from all stakeholders is most positive. As I indicated before, the FSPF needs its own dedicated space and if it secures this, it will reach its full potential. Also, we know that no other institution offers a Practice Firm for the programs we have incorporated into it.
Nigel: Thank you Claudio for sharing your story.