An example illustrative of the detailed application of the RPL evaluation model
As previously mentioned, this RPL model can be applied across and in various disciplines and professions; it can be easily adapted to different software applications. Professions, such as architecture, invariably require an integrated assessment of “skill set clusters” or grouping of competencies due to the problem'project-based methods of assessment characteristic of professional education and practice.
The folio whig discussion looks at the 10 competencies required for the practice of architecture, as defined by the professional body, the SACAP. This is necessary to determine which competencies can be grouped to ensure an integrated assessment methodology for an architectural portfolio assessment. Note that portfolios of practice work require an integrated assessment strategy to determine how the overall learning outcomes are achieved through synthesis from different knowledge and competency areas. The 10 professional competencies for architectural professionals are as follows:
- 1 Architectural Design
- 2 Environmental Relationships
- 3 Construction Technology
- 4 The Structure of Buildings
- 5 Contextual and Urban Relationships
- 6 Architectural Histoiy, Theory and Precedent
- 7 Building Sendees and Related Technologies
- 8 Contract Documentation and Administration
- 9 Computer Applications
- 10 Office Practice, Legal Aspects and Ethics
The SACAP classification of competencies is redefined and regrouped in the proposed model to ensure the integration of different knowledge dornains/competencies due to the inherently synthetic process of architectural design. Competencies 1-7 most typically apply to the architectural concept and design development phases of practice, followed by competencies 8-10. What is evident is that the design phase of architectural practice requires the synthesis of a gr eater number of interrelated variables and knowledge domains, which is why it is regarded as the key definer of architectural competence.
The regrouping and clustering of the competencies follow a logical progression which is related to the six stages of architectural practice, namely Inception; Concept and Viability; Design Development; Documentation and Procurement; Construction Contract Administration; and Close Out.
The grouping of the design-phase competencies (1-7) translates to four integrated clusters, namely the following:
- • History and Theory of Architecture
- • Architectural Design, Context and Urban Relationships
- • Structure and Construction Technology
- • Building Services and Related Technologies
Table 8.4 illustrates the relationship of the stages of architectural practice to the respective competency clusters.
Tire proposed model focuses on the research and design phases of architectural work, namely practice stages 1 through 3, as this is where most high-order, integrated and creative thinking occurs. These phases also most distinctly define the differences in scope of practice between the different levels of professional designation. The competency cluster Architectural Design. Context and Urban Relationships synthesises the research and data from all other clusters into the architectural design process. This implies that the weighting of assessment of the different clusters camiot be the same and that the Architectural Design. Context and Urban Relationships cluster will be weighted more heavily. It is important to note that an architectural portfolio of work is evidence of a synthesis of all research and data into a process of architectural design.
As the nature of architectural work is broad, certain projects may have a higher amount of production work than conceptual work, and the assessment of these projects will similarly be accordingly weighted. Accordingly, the proposed model is designed to be adaptable and can be coded and recoded as required. For purposes of explanation of the proposed model, however, it is assumed that a frill scope of standard architectural sendees is to be evaluated. Table 8.5a-d provides an illustrative example of how the competency clusters are weighted using scores to ensure the constructive alignment of assessment criteria. Furthermore, each NQF level correlates to a respective professional designation which has a different weighting. For example, the required score professional architect is weighted more than that of the professional seniortechnologist in relation to competency clusters. Weighting is critical for the quality assurance of the RPL evaluation model. Note that all values are fictitious and only for illustrative ptuposes; these can be changed as required.