Competence evaluation in non-formal contexts: Assessment devices and tools

José Tejada Fernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Competence evaluation is one of the most important tasks-if not the most important task of all-to undertake in educational processes, because of the inherent characteristics of competence evaluation and its implications. Action must be assumed, and context must be taken into account. It is therefore not enough to verify that the knowledge constituting a skill has been integrated in an educational setting. The context of action where the competence is activated and manifested must be integrated as well before it can be concluded that a person has that competence. The result is that non-formal and informal contexts must be integrated into our devices for competence evaluation. This paper reflects upon how to integrate these extra contexts and singles out some of the skill assessment tools that make it easier to find the evidence needed. It begins with the rule of multiple tool variety and triangulation, under which one must integrate and therefore consistently coordinate different ways of collecting evidence of the targets of assessment. Relationships can then be found between the evidence and the type of knowledge to be assessed (e.g., knowledge, procedures, attitudes). The proposed classification is based on Miller's pyramid (1990), using instruments related to what an individual knows, knows how to do, shows how to do and does in professional performance situations. There is one final reflection: The selection and use of assessment tools is related to what and how much evidence is sufficient to conduct assessments in social and occupational settings. The acceptable level of accuracy and the acceptable amount of risk must not be neglected in this respect. That is, if one wants to be accurate and run little risk, one's tool should be broad and multivariate, and one must at the same time ensure the tool's validity, reliability, flexibility and impartiality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-745
JournalRevista de Educacion
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2011


  • Assessment tools
  • Evaluation
  • Evidence of competence
  • Non-formal education
  • Occupational skill


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