The Professional Development Committee: remit, roles and responsibilities
Continuous professional development is at the core of any professional organisation. For AEA-Europe, creating opportunities for its members to increase their knowledge and understanding of assessment and keeping up to date with the latest developments is one of its main raisons d’être. Our annual conferences are an important example of this, but AEA-Europe does much more.
The Professional Development Committee (PDC), in its current form, was established during the annual AEA-Europe Conference in Paris in 2013. The PDC comprises Rolf Vegar Olsen – a Council member and Committee Chair; Bas Hemker, Andrew Boyle, Stephanie Berger, Ruth Johnson and Elena Papanastasiou.
The PDC is organized around a number of strands of activity:
Here we briefly summarise these activities and provide an accompanying explanation of how we intend to take each one forward.
1. AEA-Europe Accreditation Scheme
AEA-Europe’s professional accreditation scheme was first launched in 2007. The scheme provides members of the Association with the opportunity to have their assessment knowledge, skills and expertise recognised through the award of the status of Associate, Practitioner and Fellow of the Association. The PDC is actively encouraging Association members who have not yet applied for accreditation as Fellow, Practitioner or Associate to do so.
Applicants for Associate status will generally be starting to work professionally in assessment, in universities, examination boards, development agencies, publishers and similar. They should be in a position in which they can put into effect their knowledge of the principles and practice of assessment and also to be able draw up a professional development plan to show how they intend to improve their professional knowledge and competence in assessment.
Candidates for Practitioner status are assessed on the basis of evidence which shows that they:
Fellowship is the highest professional recognition given by AEA-Europe. It shows that a member has demonstrated a high level of professionalism in his/her personal practice and made important contributions to the assessment profession as a whole. Candidates for a Fellowship will be assessed on the basis of evidence which shows their:
The PDC is also aware of the continuing requirement for progression through the levels of accreditation for AEA-Europe members. For example, Practitioners are being encouraged to consider applying for Fellowship status.
One of the roles of the PDC is to identify the kind of training (and where to obtain such training) potential applicants would need in order to enhance their chances of successfully applying for Practitioner and/or Fellowship status.
2. New Researcher Award combined with the Doctoral Network
AEA-Europe is keen on providing support for new researchers and doctoral students who have an interest in assessment. The Association has built a network of doctoral students from various European academic institutions. The doctoral network created a Linked In page to provide a platform where doctoral students can share their experiences and struggles. It has organized several successful events over the past years including pre-conference workshops. The PDC is currently exploring ways of reaching a larger group of doctoral students and catering for their professional needs. It is preparing a new doctoral pre-conference workshop for the annual conference in Tallinn 2014.
AEA-Europe recognizes new talent in research by granting the Kathleen Tattersall New Researcher Award every year to the best new researcher in Europe.
3. Poster Award
AEA-Europe encourages its membership to submit poster proposals for its Annual Conference each year. It is a very effective way for professionals engaged in assessment to present their work, having the opportunity to exchange ideas, get feedback to improve their work and develop new, shared projects together with other experts in the field. The best poster presented at conference will win an award which consists of having the opportunity to visit CITO (Netherlands), meeting other experts and getting to experience an institution deeply engaged in assessment. However, this is not the only beneift of being an award winner. The PDC is of the opinion that posters should be given more attention and, for this reason, is attempting to disseminate more effectively the benefits for entering and winning the competition.
The poster award is generously sponsored by CITO.
4. Webinars and Seminars
In the past, the PDC was responsible for organizing webinars for AEA-Europe members and inviting some of the latest conference presenters to present their papers using this form of technology. In view of offering a more efficient service to the membership, the PDC will soon send out a questionnaire to determine the most popular and useful topics to be presented in this way. Moreover, the PDC would like to enlarge its membership by offering face-to-face seminars in less represented countries (especially in South and Eastern Europe).
5. Standards for Educational Assessment
AEA-Europe believes that there should be a way to compare the quality standards that professionals in educational assessment work towards across Europe. A first draft of a document which addresses this issue, The European Framework of Standards for Educational Assessment, was presented at the Berlin conference in 2012. The Framework is the result of a process that started a few years ago when AEA Europe members discussed the issue of quality standards during their annual conference.
The development of this Framework is another step in realizing the long-term objective of the AEA-E Council: to position the Association as an expert organization that can facilitate and set up peer review and audit procedures to foster the quality of educational assessment across Europe.
The PDC is now looking for members to both evaluate and use the Framework. Again, contributions from Fellows, Practitioners and Associates are welcome.
The PDC is committed to making AEA-Europe the foremost association for all assessment professionals throughout Europe particularly, it is hoped, with the active involvement of its academic, professional and vocational members.