There is a growing need for valid tools for assessing skills and certifying qualifications in the context of increasing labour migration and mobility. Due to the growing internationalization of business activities, companies are interested in standardized skills assessments that ensure valid and comparable ratings of job applicants and employees. At the same time, assessment of professional or vocational skills, which are highly domain-specific and numerous, remains challenging, especially in terms of comparability. Therefore, objective skills assessment tops the list of challenges faced by national VET systems.
This paper presents an overview of practices and tools for assessing vocational skills and VET learning outcomes, and covers the following issues: a) current practices and challenges in measuring vocational skills and learning outcomes in VET; b) initiatives for internationally comparable assessment of vocational skills, including PISA-VET and WorldSkills competitions; c) national initiatives for assessment of VET learning outcomes in the cases of Germany and Russia; d) labor market-and industry-driven initiatives in skills assessment for job seekers and qualification assurance. This paper contributes to the literature on skills assessment by providing a more comprehensive picture of approaches to skills assessments, including well-established ones and emerging initiatives outside the field of measuring learning outcomes in education.