THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
The PTGA uses Competency-Based Assessment (CBA) as our assessment methodology. This contemporary style of assessment suits our desired outcomes, the criterion-referenced syllabi we have built, and the need for our process to work across international borders. CBA simply measures the candidate against a syllabus, hence the validity of the process whether it is delivered in the Antarctic or Arctic and it makes training courses and practice particularly relevant as candidates know exactly what is coming up in the assessment.
Candidates may be assessed at work/on the job using Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) which uses the same CBA methodology but overlays it on the work environment. It is our preferred method of assessment and the strongest test of competence in the industry. See our Accredited Provider partners or Training and Assessment Providers for who uses our systems.
Each Polar Qualification is defined by its Scope (who the qualification is for and environmental parameters), Elements (the overall skill sets to be tested), and each element has a Range of specific skills that may be examined.
PTGA acknowledges that skills and the acquisition of knowledge are a continuum and not a fixed point. Candidates are judged either competent or not yet competent. If a candidate is deemed competent, they have demonstrated that they have the skills and knowledge required by the syllabus at that particular time. If an assessment candidate is judged not yet competent they just need to acquire the set of skills or knowledge that was judged not yet competent during the assessment and be re-tested.
All PTGA guides agree in The Code that they will continue their personal development and log acquisition of further knowledge and skills for revalidation of their awards every four years.
META-SKILLS AND HUMAN SKILLS
In addition to assessing individual hard skills, PTGA assessors also test and provide feedback on the qualitative aspects of guiding, such as judgement, addressing sustainability, situational safety and group management in changing conditions, decision making, and flexibility. Also considered are human skills such as empathy, listening, communication clarity, leadership, patience and conflict resolution.
One of the greatest strengths of the PTGA system is that candidates leave with a clear idea of their skills and tools to support personal development.
THE ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENT
Assessors aim to create an environment that is non-threatening and where communication is open. A PTGA assessment is an engaged process with continual two-way dialogue. Candidates should feel that the Assessor is trying to observe them doing things right rather than creating opportunities to catch them doing things wrong. Assessors assume you are competent in the syllabus until something proves otherwise.
The PTGA wants assessments to be positive learning experiences, and for candidates to come away with a clear pathway for further development. Grading is decided through continual constructive dialogue between the candidate and the assessor:
- Pass: the candidates has demonstrated that their knowledge and ability are at or above the benchmark described in the syllabus.
- Deferred Pass: If candidates is deemed below the minimum standard in approximately 25% of the syllabus, without being unsafe their pass is deferred until further testing or personal skill development or logged time is achieved to satisfy the assessor.
- Resit: Candidates who are deemed not-yet-competent below the benchmark in more than 25% of the syllabus, or who critically compromise their own or anyone else’s safety, must be fully re-assessed. This is a very rare situation and is normally the result of a complete misunderstanding about what the PQ is.
All assessment candidates have the right to appeal an assessment outcome or decision. Appeals must be addressed to the PTGA Technical Sub-Committee. Further details can be found in the PTGA Assessment Appeal Policy.