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Just when you felt you knew all the acronyms associated with training and development, new acronyms appear, such as FISA and EISA.

They did not joke when they said the NQF supports Lifelong Learning.

So what does the acronym FISA represent?

It is merely an acronym that relates to the assessment of full qualifications: – Final Integrated Summative Assessment.

As the words imply, it is the final assessment that one needs to attain to be deemed competent for a full qualification.

What do they mean by integrated?

In most cases where individuals do a full qualification based on registered unit standards, they would have gone through a process of completing the unit standards either individually or in modules made up of clusters of unit standards. These modules could also be known as skills programmes.

The normal procedure would be that as the candidates complete a learning programme they would submit a portfolio of evidence that goes through the process of assessment, internal moderation and ETQA verification. On successful completion the candidate would be awarded the related credits on the National Learner Record Database (NLRD). The ETQA would issue a Statement of Results (SoR) reflecting the credits accumulated. The training provider would issue a certificate of competence reflecting the unit standards obtained.

The accumulation of credits serve as building blocks towards a full qualification. In the past, as long as the candidate had the correct combination of fundamental, core and elective unit standards, the full qualification would be awarded.

Although this seemed like a very good idea it soon became evident that successful candidates may have obtained all the credits, their knowledge and skills seemed to be disjointed. They were lacking in the ability to see the bigger picture and there was no way of identifying their actual field of specialisation.

This gap was addressed by introducing the FISA, which would approach the final assessment in an integrated fashion. This meant one last assessment where the unit standards would be grouped together in logical chunks called Exit Level Outcomes (ELO). The integration of the learning outcomes and assessment criteria would prepare candidates for the requirements and demands of the workplace.

So, how would the FISA be implemented?

Once the candidate has successfully obtained all the credits for the related unit standards of the full SAQA registered qualification, the candidate will be required to do the FISA. The requirements for the FISA will be determined by the relevant ETQA. These requirements will be communicated with the relevant candidates as per policies and procedures.

Once the candidate has successfully completed the FISA the relevant ETQA will issue an ETQA certificate or diploma of competence and the results will be recorded on the NLRD.

To wrap up

Without a FISA the candidate will not be awarded the full qualification by the ETQA, but will still have all the credits, the  SOR and the certificates of competence issued by the Training Provider.

Thus, to reduce the clutter of certificates, complete the FISA and obtain the evidence of  full qualification awarded by the ETQA.

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