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Unit Standard No.12164Page 13

a description of the end points of learning for which the learner will get credit. A unit standard is therefore a statement of expectation and/or aspiration. It also provides a basis for the judgments or assessments that are made.

Unit standards contain the following:

The title, which is broken down into smaller, more manageable outcomes.


A coherent and meaningful outcome (milestone/end point) of learning or training that is formally recognized


The associated standard of performance used by the assessor to determine whether the outcome has been met.


The context(s) in which the individual is expected to perform.


Assessment criteria form a very important part of a unit standard. They are used to assess learners (ie. to make a judgment about whether a learner is competent or not).

Assessment criteria are statements that describe the standard to which learners must perform the actions, roles, knowledge, understanding, skills values and attitudes stated in the outcomes.

They are a clear and transparent expression of requirements against which successful (or unsuccessful) performance is assessed.

Unit standards are made up of credits. What are credits?

Credits are the positive values given to unit standards and qualifications. They become a tool for comparing one unit standard with another as well as one qualification with another. A credit value of a unit standard or qualification is based on the number of notional hours it takes an average learner to achieve the outcomes of that unit standard. One credit is equal to ten notional hours of learning.

To summarise, a qualification is made up of unit standards. Unit standards are made up of credits.

The big benefit of credits is that they are portable. If a person doesn’t want to undertake a full qualification, he/she can obtain credits (linked to specific unit standards). Over time, these credits may add up to a full qualification. These credits are portable across educational institutions and workplaces.

Once awarded, credits are recorded on the National Learner Records Database. This forms a permanent record of credits which are awarded to individuals.

6. What is assessment?

In order to obtain credits (or a full qualification) towards qualifications registered on the NQF, a learner must be assessed against the unit standards of that qualification.

INSMAT final materials31/10/03

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