9b - Preparations: self-evaluations and self-tests

 Self-evaluation and self-tests
Self-evaluation and self-tests are a good way of making the apprentice aware of his/hers strengths or weaknesses.The goal is to enhance the apprentice’s responsibility for his/her vocational progress.

There is a difference between self-evaluation and self-tests:
  • In self-evaluation, the apprentice assesses his/her own level of skill.
  • In self-tests, the apprentice checks skills or knowledge against professional objectives/standards.

Self-evaluation is used in consultations with the apprentice. The trainer asks the apprentice to assess his/her own skills.

Remember to ask how the apprentice feels, and how the apprentice is doing personally and socially in the workplace.Through self-evaluation, the apprentice takes a step towards being more responsible.

Click here to download self-evaluation form 1, which is inspired by Dutch practice

Self-tests are the apprentice's own test of skills or knowledge: "Can I remember what I have learned?" "Can I solve problems and do tasks in the company?"

There's a difference between being tested and testing yourself!

Click here to download self-test form 2, which is a profession-specific assessment form.

 Self-tests in the company
You can easily make your own tests where the apprentice can check him/herself. A test doesn't have to be as formal as an exam, but it should be designed in a way, so that the apprentice takes it seriously.

The questions can, for example, be about professional issues. There can also be questions about conditions in the company and the work flow.
Consider what the apprentice should be tested on:
  • On ordinary work processes or on special areas, that might be forgotten, if not used regularly?
  • Should the apprentice be able to do calculations or computer commands?
  • Remember certain procedures?
  • Other things?

And who knows, maybe there are other employees in the company, who want to try the test?

Example Hotel Koldingfjord, Denmark
Here the apprentice cooks do a self-test every month. In this way, they can check how far they have come towards their quality and training objectives. The apprentices do the tests at home. To the question "Isn't it a pain to use your free time on it?", an apprentice answered, "No, it's really good to find out where you are at a professional level, and whether you can remember everything."

Self-tests can have many different forms, for example digital or on paper.

A simple way of making a test is multiple choice, where the apprentice chooses the right answer out of a number of possibilities. Other possibilities are visual tests, where the apprentice has to name selected parts of a drawing or a picture.

Example of a self-test
Get inspiration from a company-specific self-test for dock workers, even though it is in Danish.
Click here for download.

The purpose of a self-evaluation is for the apprentice to check his/her professional, personal and social competencies.
Thus, the apprentice is forced to think about his/her own situation, seen from "a birds-eye perspective".
Regular self-evaluations make it possible for the apprentice to follow his/her own development better.

The apprentice's self-evaluation can and should be used as the basis for consultations with the trainer. Clarify whether the self-evaluation matches the company's impression of the apprentice's performance.

Click on the form at the right for download: Adjust to your own needs and based on the competencies that are described for the workplace training/required by the company. Inspired by "Styrk virksomheden", Arbejdsmarkedsrådet Århus Amt.
 Observe and give feedback


Many apprentices ask for response on their performance. It is a good idea to guide and monitor apprentices' competencies as they develop, and it is especially important to give her/him feedback on successes and possible failures.

When you observe your apprentice, you should observe, for example
  • How does the apprentice operate devices/use tools?
  • How does he/she approach new tasks?
  • How does the apprentice handle customer situations?
  • How does he/she cooperate with colleagues?
There can be situations that make it difficult to observe. For example, if the apprentice is "out of sight", because he/she is with other colleagues or customers. Here it is important to arrange times where you can observe the apprentice in practice.

Besides giving the apprentice feedback about professional development, you should also give feedback about his/her social and personal development. For example:
  • Willingness to take responsibility
  • Planning skills
  • Independence
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to assess own effort
  • Cooperation with colleagues
Click here for download of a form for giving feedback.
 Handling stress

Unfortunately, many people experience stress in situations where their skills are being assessed. And you don't necessarily grow out of it. Many apprentices have unpleasant personal experiences with school, and they may be affected by the fact that they have not done well in earlier tests/exams.

Stress can be both positive and negative.

Positive stress gives a "kick", so you can perform more than you ordinarily do.

Negative stress is often caused by the apprentice not feeling that he/she can live up to expectations, and this type of stress is not productive in a test situation.

Support your apprentice before the assessment situations and tests:

  • Talk to the apprentice about the test
  • Give the apprentice opportunities to practice professional disciplines
  • Give the apprentice constructive feedback
Remember to praise when appropriate, so that the apprentice's belief in his/her own skills can grow.

9 - Assessment / evaluation