Competence in horse care and management good or excellent – need for development in workplace instructors’ guidance and assessment skills

veerastylman

The most common grade awarded to students in the Vocational Qualification in Horse Care and Management was ‘good’. The VET providers cooperate with each other actively and the development of working life relevancy is well underway. However, there is still need for development in the guidance and assessment skills of workplace instructors.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) has evaluated the learning outcomes of the Vocational Qualification in Horse Care and Management. The evaluation data was obtained from grades given for demonstrations and the data describing the arrangement of such demonstrations. The evaluation covered approximately 340 students and all 8 VET providers offering the qualification in question. The results of the evaluation will be published on 15 April 2019.

Vocational competence on average good or excellent, differences in the quality of demonstration activities

In the light of the grades given for the demonstrations, competence in horse care and management is on average good or excellent. Of all grades that were awarded, 45% were ‘excellent’, 48% ‘good’ and 7% ‘satisfactory’. Significant differences were not seen in the grades between the VET providers as opposed to the monitoring and assessment of demonstration activities. Better grades were awarded for demonstrations implemented in working life than for those completed at educational institutions. There were a lot of differences in the grades between students. Polarisation between the top students and weaker students is apparent also in this sector.

Development of the working life relevancy of the programme underway – need for improvement in the guidance and assessment skills of workplace instructors 

Based on the evaluation material, there was still need for development in working life relevance to bring it in line with the objectives and principles of the Vocational Qualification in Horse Care and Management. Only just over one in five demonstrations in horse care and management had been completed at workplaces. A working life representative participated fairly often in demonstrations completed in VET institutions, however. The need to develop the guidance and assessment skills of workplace instructors was clearly highlighted in the evaluation.

‘However, it must be taken into account that after the gathering of the material ended, the VET providers have carried out a lot of work to increase working life relevance. According to the experts who participated in the evaluation, the number of demonstrations completed in working life has been constantly increasing for some time now and cooperation with working life develops and deepens all the time’, Evaluation Expert Veera Hakamäki-Stylman points out.

Good preconditions for cooperation also in the future

According to the VET providers, the competence-based approach is on average realised well, which supports the implementation of education and training in accordance with the reform. The VET providers in the horse care and management sector also cooperate with each other actively and share existing good practices.

‘Horse care and management differs from many other sectors in that there are few vocational institutions providing the qualification and those institutions concentrate specifically on this qualification. This creates good preconditions for cooperation, peer learning and sharing good practices between the VET providers. By creating and maintaining established cooperation networks with working life it is also possible to efficiently develop working life competence’, says Hakamäki-Stylman.

In the Vocational Qualification in Horse Care and Management, students can specialise in horse care or riding instruction. The basic tasks in the sector are raising, caring for and coaching horses and using horses for different forms of sports and leisure activities. Finnish horse care and management competence is internationally recognised and highly appreciated.

On 29 April 2019, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre will organise a webinar to discuss the learning outcomes of the horse care and management programme, offering education providers and employers an opportunity for peer learning and sharing of good practices. 

Report:

Hakamäki-Stylman, V. Ammatillinen osaaminen hevostalouden perustutkinnossa [Vocational competence in the Vocational Qualification in Horse Care and Management]. Publications 9:2019. Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. www.karvi.fi

Further information:

Veera Hakamäki-Stylman, Evaluation Expert, tel. +358 29 533 5555, firstname.lastname@karvi.fi

Paula Kilpeläinen, Counsellor of Evaluation, tel. +358 29 533 5557, firstname.lastname@karvi.fi