Is ACECQA’s lack of action to address consistency destroying the NQS?
ACECQA says ‘we hear you” but are they really actively listening to what is going on out here in EC? Maybe they don’t want to hear what is really going on.
While many of our clients are deservedly achieving ‘exceeding,’ we are also seeing regular inconsistency in other clients’ ratings. For example, there are comments in reports that clearly show assessors lack of understandings and abilities, perhaps qualifications or experience. THIS IS UNFAIR and is also the topic of many NQF forums and social media sites. Inconsistency and lack of some assessor’s knowledge and understanding is destroying the NQS.
How often do we hear or see comments about ‘doing something’ because that’s what the assessor wanted at another service when is not true …. A childcare whisper?
How much do services dread certain assessors in certain regions because their reputation precedes them? Other services hope they get the assessors they know are knowledgeable, not opinionated and able to accurately identify and assess the way in which the service uniquely meets the standards. Why are we putting up with this? Hasn’t this all got a bit crazy; one person’s opinion deciding the standard of a service? How do we even know what they understand? Is a four day training course and a yearly reliability test good enough?
After all, if they haven’t undertaken current university level studies how are they expected to have the knowledge to accurately assess QA1?
Assessors have no qualification requirements like those applying in EC. So why is this OK? Why is it accepted that an assessor can assess a service when they have less qualifications and experience than those people they are assessing? What do they not understand? Why are they allowed to make comments which demonstrate ignorance and bias, or which confuse EC professionals and demean practice?
We hear the National Educational Leader (ACECQA) speak about QA1 and documentation, everything Centre Support also says, yet some assessment officers are out there looking for something else based on their opinion and ignorance. Maybe the focus should be on educating them so they don’t confuse those they assess. Too often we hear of services changing their curriculum documentation or practice to comply with an assessor’s incorrect understanding.
Now we are hearing of services using the Guide to the NQS as a QIAS checklist after a government employee of a regulatory authority was quoted saying ‘unpack the NQF kit’. So is she suggesting this Guide is a recipe to ensure all services are exactly the same or is she saying it’s the law? Ticking off every suggestion in the Guide will not make you exceeding. This is simply not true.
I know that studying at a university level gave me a higher level of understanding. More importantly, it has provided me with knowledge on which to base my practice and to make professional judgement and use expertise. But the subjective assessment process used by some assessors is shutting this down. Telling educators to follow every suggestion in the NQS Guide, for example, is shutting down EC professional expertise to embrace standards in the most appropriate way for a particular service, children and families.
I speak to services everyday about the ludicrous statements that some assessors make. Educators are devastated and gutted! In fact many who have had these experiences have given up and don’t care about the NQS or their rating – the direct opposite of what the NQS is all about.
When EC culture changes to this extent the NQS has FAILED. Maybe the sector is divided on their experiences but once again this is not the intent of NQS. So why aren’t ACECQA and/or the regulatory authorities acting to resolve the constant inconsistency?
Services and Centre Support send in feedback and correspondence to these authorities but they refuse to act. Why are they silent? Why is EC allowing this to continue when these are government employees who have a code of conduct and we fund their wages through our taxes?
Why don’t we speak up? Are we frightened of the repercussions?
Where is ACECQA’s or the regulatory authorities Quality Improvement Plan? Maybe we should rate their performance against standards we develop for them.
It’s time for consistency and accuracy of the assessment process to be questioned and addressed.
CEO Centre Support