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ESO-CERT Project Description


Using the method of standardized competence verification and certification in a credit point system for vocational training – an approach for the integration of the ECVET



The ESO-CERT (European System Of CERTification) concept intends to assess competences on the basis of a fixed assessment process. It is not founded on the assessment of vocational training measures. It is based on the approach that the competences of a person are certified and it is not relevant how these competences have been acquired. Certain competences, that have been defined in advance and imply certain curricula, are recognized. The curricula constitute the workload and the effort a person with average talent must dedicate in order to acquire the defined competences. Candidates who are able prove that they have these competences receive credit points that are based on the workload and on the descriptions of competences. Since the certification process is transparent and verifies whether a candidate fulfils the given requirements, we are able to award the candidate the respective number of credit points. Consequently, the process is consistent on the one hand and output-oriented as well, just like the overall approach the ECVET.


A management certificate with a structure of competences and an assessment method that have been developed during the Leonardo da Vinci Pilot project ESO-CSA, were the basis for the work that has been done in the project. A competence profile, which is divided into 26 single competences, stipulates which competences a candidate must have in order to receive the certificate. A special method and a system of tools have also been developed. They enable the actual assessment of the competences. Please find below the competence profile for management competences:

Overview and valuation of the competence profiles                          black square = target level

This method (CEMES-method) that has been developed during the pilot project ESO-CSA, is a method of output-oriented assessment of professional competences for SME managers. It could well support the mechanisms in the field of credit point systems for professional training (ECVET). By awarding credit points for professional competences, the CEMES method actually constitutes the target point on the side of the users. At the same time, it provides an assessment tool with a recognized certification process.

In addition to the European-wide uniform certification of management competences, we also created instruments and methods for the assessment of a competence portfolio on the basis of a credit point system according to the ECVET. Just like in the ECVET, in this system, credit points are awarded for the overall qualification. Afterwards, the credit points are related to the single units. They are related to the single units according to their importance for the qualification.


According to a recommendation, it is assumed that a person that undergoes a full time qualification in a formal learning context receives 120 credit points per year. The certificate EMC Masters, which has been developed in the ESO-CSA project, requires an actual learning time of three years and therefore corresponds to 360 credit points. This value has been calculated by training experts from different countries that were involved in the project. It is supported by a survey among more than 400 managers in 12 European countries. The EMC master consists of 26 specialist competences with different levels of value. The competences are assessed in a three level assessment process.


The recommendations of the European Commission and the recommendations of the German statement on the consultative process were the basis for the definition of the units (learning units): A unit is the total of all knowledge, skills and other competences that represent a part of a qualification. The unit can be the smallest part of the qualification that might be evaluated, validated and possibly certified. A unit may refer to one or more qualifications. The units should have an adequate size and not be too small.


On the basis of the CSA, the following 6 competence areas have been identified for an EMC-manager: (1) Strategy, (2) Processes, (3) Human Resources, (4) Methodical competences, (5) Social competences, (6) Finance.


Different procedures were applied for calculating the credit points for the competence areas:


1.    In 3 European countries (France, Austria and Germany), the time and the content that are necessary for a specific training measure were calculated and then related to the overall time and effort for the EMC-Master.

2.     The (empirically calculated) level of value for each competence was taken as a reference for the formal learning time and effort and for the required practical experience.


Both procedures lead to almost the same results. After the results had been merged, there was the following distribution of credit points on the learning units:



Credit Points
Credit Points
Human Resources
Credit Points
Methodical Competences
Credit Points
Social Competences
Credit Points
Credit Points

As a result of the ESO-CERT project, we developed a method for the allocation of credit points for learning achievements in vocational training and we tested a method for the recognition of credit points on the basis of a three-level output-oriented assessment procedure (CEMES).

Leonardo da Vinci - Helsinki
Award 2006
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