UK media reports of the inherent unreliability of school exam results have drawn criticism for undermining public confidence in qualifications. Can the same observations be made about the veracity of PR qualifications?
One of the foundations of assessment is the belief that there is a standard represented by a particular mark, grade or qualification. Career opportunities arise as a result of trust in qualifications – especially in topics such as PR, where there may be cynicism among employers who aren’t familiar with what is involved in studying for such degrees or gaining professional qualifications.
We live in a world where certificates can simply be bought online – so it is vital that genuine qualifications, where candidates have invested considerable time and money, have a reliable reputation.
But in reality, it is difficult for markers to agree 100% on the quality of work in topics such as PR where there is a requirement to assess intangible aspects involving personal judgement rather than looking for absolute rights/wrongs.
I’ve been involved in many discussions regarding methods of assessment – both in terms of the actual assignment and the marking system. Personally, I struggle with the general approach of allocating percentage points to work where it is not mathematically logical. I prefer to look at assessment against agreed criteria – although again, this involves subjectivity.
So isn’t it sensible to acknowledge that it is impossible to be absolutely accurate in assessing the essentials of PR? Should we support a call for a public debate about the nature of an examination system?
Or do we need the illusion that evaluation can be objective in order to maintain confidence in the reliability of those vital qualifications?