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Work-integrated learning assessment methods for hospitality students at a university of technology in the Western Cape, South Africa
A key focus of higher education institutions is to produce employable graduates. Many institutions now include a work-integrated learning (WIL) component in their courses, as research has shown that students exposed to WIL have a greater opportunity of finding employment after graduation. WIL has formed an integral part of the hospitality management qualifications offered by the Cape Town Hotel School (CTHS) for many years. From January 2019, the current hospitality management qualification is being replaced with a new qualification, the Diploma in Hospitality and Hotel Management (Dip.H&HM), in alignment with the new Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF). The WIL component will remain in the new qualification under a new name, Hotel Practice, and it is necessary that the learning outcomes of the WIL subject are aligned with the day-to-day work of the WIL placement. Furthermore, it is crucial that the WIL component is assessed adequately to meet the learning outcomes of both the subject and the qualification as a whole. There has been some concern that students exposed to WIL for the qualification as presently offered are not being adequately assessed in terms of the learning outcomes of the courses they are taking. The aim of this study is therefore to investigate the assessment procedures for CTHS students recently on WIL placements, and from the results, determine the most appropriate assessment tools and procedures for the assessment of the new qualification, in order to meet the learning outcomes of the subject, Hotel Practice. The population for this study were the CTHS students registered for the WIL subject in 2017, as well as the hospitality establishments in the Western Cape that accepted the CTHS students for their WIL placements. Because the population of students was small, the sample group was the whole population. The sampling technique used for selection of hospitality establishments depended on which establishments that accepted students for WIL placements in 2017. The data was collected via an online survey and all responses were anonymous. The findings showed that only half of the student sample felt that they were assessed adequately, and that a new assessment process to encourage formative assessment feedback is required. A revised assessment form would encourage the monitoring of the learning outcomes for the WIL subject. The study therefore recommends the implementation of a new assessment form for the Dip. H&HM.