The title is agitated by simple questions, such as:

  1. Are there any motor vehicle products made in Indonesia?
  2. Out of 270 million Indonesian Population, is there any Indonesian who has won the nobel prize in science, social science, arts, economics, etc?
  3. Are there any electronic products made in Indonesia, such as cellphones, TVs, laptops, etc.?

You may answer the questions. The next question is what would be the reason for the answers of such questions? One of the answers is that the learning process within the education unit is not focusing on learning-oriented to improve the students’ competency. This is in consequece of, among others, improper student learning outcome assessment.


The word “assessment” is one of the keys to a good and correct learning process. Why? Because this assessment will determine the steps of the learning process, such as: determining competencies that must be achieved, determining student learning outcomes, learning activities, determining interactions between students and between students and teachers, determining assessment instruments, and determining a follow-up.

Why does the writer question the meaning of the word “assessment” as in the title above? Let us see the meaning according to several measurement nomenclature, such as: “assessment”, “appraisal”, and “evaluation” or even “test” and “selection”. The word “assessment” is translated as “penilaian” in Indonesian. The word “appraisal” is translated as “penilaian”.

The word “evaluation” is translated as “evaluasi” which is also interpreted as “penilaian”. Whereas every time we mention the word assessment, our mindset immediately associate it with “paper and pencil test” or a test; and unfortunately the word “test” is often used to measure a person’s ability in memorizing information or what people in general call it as knowledge.

As a result, when we design a “teacher competency assessment” for example, the assessment instrument will be in the form of a test. In fact, competency assessment shall be measured by teacher performance.

Therefore, there has been a simplification of meaning of the three words, and unfortunately those three tend to be translated into the word “penilaian” which ends in “paper & pencil test”. This could be crucial, cause tremendous misconceptions, and lead to shifting orientation of the learning process which emphasizes the delivery of cognitive material and even worse it is only a matter of “recall” or “remembering”; it is no near any competency assessment. This has been a problematic for a long time.

Since the 1975 curriculum, which is a content-based curriculum, the following curriculum has always been designed as a competency-based curriculum. However, the problem occuring at the education unit level is that the learning process has never led to any competency-mastery-oriented due to the misconception of the word “penilaian/assessment”. In short, the problem is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Problematic Learning Process Orientation in Education Units

The measurement nomenclature mentioned above must be conducted according to its function. In summary, the measurement nomenclature function is illustrated in Table-1.

Table-1. Measurement Nomenclature Function


The current primary and secondary education curriculum is the 2013 curriculum (K-13) competency-based. Therefore, the learning process in the classroom should also be oriented on the mastery of competencies by students. However, unfortunately not all teachers and even lecturers understand the meaning of  “competency” correctly.

Here we quote several definitions of competency, however there is no single definition yet which applies to all professional fields. It can be seen in the following references that there is a mutual point between one definition and another.

  1.  Government of Western Australia, Department of Mine, Industry Regulation, and Safety stated as follows: Competency is the capability to apply or use the set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform ‘critical work functions’ or tasks in a defined work setting. Competencies often serve as the basis for skill standards that specify the level of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success in the workplace as well as potential measurement criteria for assessing competency attainment. Competence is a measure of both proven skills and proven knowledge .
  • Hayes (1979): Competences generally include knowledge, motivation, social characteristics and roles, or skills of one person in accordance with the demands of organizations of their clerks.
  • Boyatzis (1982): Competence lies in the individual’s capacity which superposes the person’s behavior with needed parameters as the results of this adaptation make the organization to hire him.
  • Albanese (1989): Competences are individual’s characteristics which are used to effect on the organization’s management.
  • Woodruff (1991): Competence is a combination of two topics of personal competence and merit at work. Personal merit is a concept which refers to the dimensions of artificial behavior in order to show the competence performance and merit at work depends on the competences of the person in his field.
  • Mansfield (1997): The personal specifications which effect on a better performance are called competence.
  • Standard (2001) ICB (IPMA Competence Baseline): Competence is a group of knowledge, personal attitudes, skills and related experiences which are needed for the person’s success.
  • Rankin (2002): A collection of behaviors and skills which people are expected to show in their organization.
  1. Industrial Development Organization of United States (2002): Competences are a collection of personal skills related to knowledge and personal specifications which can make competence in people without having practices and related specialized knowledge.
  1. CRNBC (College Of Registered Nurses Of British Columbia) (2009): Competences are a collection of knowledge, skills, behavior and power of judging which can cause competence in people without having enough practice and specialized knowledge.
  1. Hay group (2012): Measurable characteristics of a person which are related to efficient actions at work, organization and special culture.
  1. The ARZESH Competency Model (2018): Competency is a series of knowledge, abilities, skills, experiences and behaviors, which leads to the effective performance of individual’s activities. Competency is measurable and could be developed through training. It is also breakable into the smaller criteria. [1]
  1. National Professional Certification Agency Regulation Number: 2/BNSP/VIII/2017 concerning The Development and Maintenance of a Professional Certification Scheme Guidelines states that: Competency is the work ability of each individual which includes aspects of knowledge, skill, and attitude in accordance with the set standards.

Keywords in the competency definitions above include: knowledge (8), skill (9), attitude (work attitude (2),), behavior (5), capability (1), abilities (2), motivation (1), characteristic (3), roles (1), capacity (1), personal specifications (3), experiences (2), and power of judging (1).

The number in brackets (…) after the keyword indicates the number of occurrences in the definitions mentioned above. From the number of occurrences of each keyword, we can conclude the keywords, namely: knowledge, skill, and behavior/attitude. Hence, definition stated in the BNSP Regulation can be used as a definition of competency.

Thus, the definitions of competencies that we can use are as follows. Competency is the work ability of each individual which includes aspects of knowledge, skill, and work attitudes (attitudes)/behavior in accordance with the set standards. The third aspect of this competency is integrated or holistic that assessment should not be done separately.

In the context of competency, aspect of work attitudes (attitudes)/behavior is the culmination ofachievement of competency properly. This attitude/behavior implies good masteryknowledge and skill. Thus, if the students’ knowledge and skill are very good, thenwork attitude/behavior will be very good as well. Attitude/behavior has nothing to do with politeness, friendliness, modesty, obedience, etc. In fact, this attitude/behavior is closely related to integrity, orderly at work, orderly in using tools, always following the standard operation procedure (SOP), and other matters related to a person’s performance.

The meaning of competency is often confused with behavioristic theory, one of which is represented by Bloom’s taxonomy. In Bloom’s taxonomy there are three domains, namely: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. These three domains are often used to “replace” the three aspects of competency, namely knowledge, skill and attitude.

It seems true and acceptable for a second, even though there is a very big difference, namely: the three aspects of competency are holistic, while the three aspects of Bloom’s taxonomy are independent, so that the assessment of learning outcomes in Bloom’s taxonomy can be carried out separately, namely: cognitive through paper & pencil tests, psychomotor through practical exams, and affective through attitude assessment. This method is not proper for competency assessment because the assessment is also holistic. Therefore, the competency assessment must be carried out through evidence-based or evidence-based assessment.

It is very unfortunate that the current learning and assessment in educational units resembles the study and assessment for Bloom’s taxonomy. As a result, the Report Card Students are filled in with the assessment results for the three domains in Bloom’s taxonomy, and does not include any results of competency assessment: competence or incompetent for a particular competency.

There are good examples related to the learning process and assessment of student learning outcomes, namely the learning process and assessment at SMK Informatika. From the explanation of P4TK BOE Malang, it is known that for the field of informatics expertise students are taught to design and build an aplication, test the prototype of the aplication, and make sure that the application is functioning well. Therefore, it is no doubt that many SMK students in informatics expertise are able to create application program in the form of Start Up which is local product made by Indonesian.

3. How is the competency assessment carried out?

Government of Western Australia, Department of Mine, Industry Regulation, and Safety stated as follows: assessment is the formal process of collecting evidence of the competencies (skills and knowledge) a worker has developed through :

  • a structured learning environment
  • on-the-job training 
  • off-the-job training
  • other relevant workplace experience.

Verification of competency (VOC) should be evidence based and verified before work commences. Competency may be verified by:

  • recognition of prior learning (RPL)
  • on-site recognition of current competency (RCC)
  • the operation’s training and development program.

All verification methods must include a documented assessment.

So basically, competency assessment must be evidence-based and conducted through QQTC assessments from the available evidence whether it meets the criteria of competence or not. If all the evidence meets the criteria, then students are considered to be competent: and vice versa will be considered as incompetent.

An example of a good competency assessment is the competency assessment for aspiring pilot. The aspiring pilot will be allowed to fly the aircraft once he is declared competent.

In contrast to the assessment in the Bloom taxonomy realm which uses a score point. Point > 90 (in a scale of 100) is usually given an A and passed. Point 75 < Point <90 is B and is still considered passing.

What happens if the pilot has a score of 95 (A)? In a non-competency scoring system like this, it is considered pass with excelence. However, there is part of the score that is not qualified yet, which is 5 points; such point maybe relate to how to brake an aircraft. Will you even consider to get on a plane with a pilot who is not passing the assessment on how to brake the aircraft? The score is lacking 5 points only.

As a matter of fact, competency assessment is only about identifying competence or incompetence. There is no A, B, C score category . There is no B score; even C score will be considered as passing.

Thus, competency assessment must be based on evidence that a person is competent or not competent. The competency assessment is followed by an assessment of quality (Q), quantity (Q), and punctuality (T), and costs if using cost (C) or in English it is often called QQTC (quantity, quality, time, and cost).

4. At what level can competency-based work be done?

Given the complexity of competency assessment, competency assessment can only be carried out at the level of teachers and education units or at the highest level at the district/city level for PAUD and Dikdas and up to the Provincial level for Dikmen. If the competency assessment is carried out to national level, it will require enormous resources. Therefore, national assessment mesuring knowledge aspect is considered acceptable.

Thus, the EBTANAS, National Examination, UNBK, and Minimum “Competency” Assessment (AKM) can still be implemented to have the student’s knowledge retention quality mapping as part of learning outcomes; however, this is not included as competency assessment because such assessment does not measure the learning outcomes as a whole. Statements like this have been a discourse for a long time, but until now there is still no valid answer.


  1.  https://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Safety/What-is-competency-and-how-is-it-5973.aspx
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competence_(human_resources)#Competency_identification
  3. National Professional Certification Agency Regulation Number: 2/BNSP/VIII/2017 concerning Development and Maintenance of Professional Certification Schemes Guidelines
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