Understanding Assessment

The overriding difference is that with assessment in an outcomes-based education and training system, the criteria are explicitly stated up-front, whereas in the past people were assessed in relation to criteria that were largely unstated. Stating the criteria up-front creates clarity for teachers, trainers, learners and course designers, as well as encouraging consistency of teaching and assessment.

Outcomes-based assessment is transparent because the person being assessed is extensively consulted and informed about standards and methods being used.

In outcomes-based assessment there is an emphasis on direct observation of work activities that is complemented by methods assessing the application of knowledge and understanding.

Outcomes-based assessment requires detailed documentation. These assessments require that decisions are justified. Outcome based assessments take the same form no matter what the purpose of the assessment.

Outcomes-based assessment is not solely focused on assessing what learners can do but also what they know and how they integrate generic abilities to demonstrate achievement. This term generic abilities refer to elements such as problem solving, decision making , analyzing, communicating , organizing oneself , using science and technology, demonstrating and understanding the world as a set of related systems.

In the traditional system the focus is more on “ inputs” i.e. subjects and modules as opposed outcomes in the OBE system. Traditional systems also are more focused on exams whereas the OBE system focuses on continuous assessment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of OBET on:


Become empowered and are thus more self confident.

Focus is on output. Accessibility of qualification.

Knowledge and skills can be applied practically.

Life-long learning.


If the learner does not take ownership, they never reach the end process.

Lazy learners will not keep up with continuous assessment.


Will sit with competent and skilled workforce.

Morale will be high – enthusiastic workforce.

Company specific material.

National quality assurance.


Do not want to invest money into learnerships.

Fear that competent workers might leave.

Concerned about production.

Institutions (Universities, Technikons, Colleges, Schools)


Focused on outputs. Students are more prepared for “real world”.

Credibility increases  – registered national standards.

Impact of OBET on:

More confident / empowered and skilled learners. Productivity increases.

Life long learning. Relevant to field of work – skills and learning.


Competent and skilled workforce; less injuries and more quality work.

Institutions (Universities, Technikons, Colleges, Schools)

Registered national standard and national quality assurance.


Social Share: