The industry has always needed effective ways of assessing and diagnosing professional skills and competencies. Since its launch, SFIA has been used extensively and successfully for this purpose.
Because of the wide-spread and global use of SFIA - a number of different approaches have emerged. Each approach is tailored to specific needs and opportunities.
At the request of the global SFIA user community - the SFIA Foundation has developed guidance and recommendations to help drive good practice and consistency of outcome.
As with other SFIA resources, the SFIA Foundation creates this by identifying generally recognised good practice from the global user community.
- With the support of expert users - generically applicable practices are extracted, documented, and published for the benefit of all SFIA users.
- SFIA is a flexible resource and can be applied in many ways. This means the published guidelines should be regarded as illustrative only. They describe alternative approaches and do not mandate a single definitive approach.
- The approach you choose will depend on the purpose of the assessment, your work or academic environment and the planned use of the assessment outcomes.
- There is also an active global ecosystem of SFIA Partners, SFIA Consultants and Practitioners. They are available for advice on SFIA assessments and the use of specific processes and tools (including skills assessment software). Full details are available here.
Skill and competency assessments can be made by referencing the different components of the SFIA framework, characterised by the following:
Skills profile assessment
- An assessment across the full range, or a particular subset, of the SFIA Professional Skills.
Role profile assessment
- An assessment against the SFIA Professional Skills and Skill levels required for a specific role, job or position.
Certified Professional assessment
- An assessment focussed on the SFIA Levels of Responsibility backed up by the SFIA professional skills. Typically performed by professional bodies e.g. the BCS Certified IT Professional, IP3 Certified Professional, ACS Certified Professional.
Assessment Rigour and Validity
There are three broad approaches to SFIA assessment. They provide an increasing level of rigour and validity. Each level has value - SFIA users should consider the purpose of the assessment and select their approach accordingly.
A self-assessment – assessing your own skills and competencies.
- An individual assesses and records their own skills and competencies.
- Their assessment compares their own work experience against the relevant SFIA components.
- As well as being of personal value to individuals, a self-assessment is typically the first step towards the other assessments.
- Detailed guidance is .
An independent/objective assessment – assessing someone else’s skills and competencies.
- A suitably qualified/experienced professional makes an assessment of an individual's skills and competencies.
- e.g. the individual's manager, a practice manager, an academic supervisor, an internal or external skills assessor
- They assess the individual's work experience against the relevant SFIA components.
- They use the evidence provided to make the assessment. The evidence may take a number of forms and should, where possible, incorporate a self-assessment by the individual. The benefits of incorporating a self-assessment include ...
- To engage the individuals in the process leading to greater understanding and ownership of the outcomes of the assessment
- To give the assessor a broader perspective enabling them to see things from the individual's point of view
- To provide early warning of differences in perspective ahead of any meetings or discussions
- Detailed guidance is here.
A certified assessment – a formal assessment of an individual’s skills and competencies.
- Performed by certified assessors, using a prescribed assessment process.
- An awarding body determines which components of the SFIA framework will be used. The awarding body sets the standards for the quality of supporting evidence as well as the assessment process.
- A suitably qualified/experienced assessor verifies the evidence provided and makes an assessment of the individual's work experience against the relevant SFIA components.
- The evidence may take a number of forms, but will typically incorporate an interview or professional discussion between the assessor and the individual. As described above there are significant benefits in incorporating a self-assessment into the process.
- For the optimum quality of assessment; an interview / professional discussion is required.