Author(s):Ellen Beate Hellne-Halvorsen (presenting)

Conference:ECER 2017

Network:02. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)


Session Information

02 SES 06 B, Assessing Competence in VET

Paper Session



Chair:Jeroen Onstenk


Writing As a Tool for Expressing Vocational Competences

Most occuptions are being more and more textbased. The demands for literacy compentences as an integrated component of vocational competences have increased. This paper focus on writing. In Norway, the increased emphasis on writing as an integral component of vocational competency is reflected in the inclusion of writing as one of five basic (generic) skills in the educational reform and curriculum The Knowledge Promotion (2006). This requires that VET-students and apprentices are able to express their vocational competency in writing with reflections concerning their own learning and development processes towards developing a professional vocational practice. What characterize the writing competences of students and apprentices?

Through the MECVET project (Measuring Competence Development in Vocational Education and Training) we have tested and mapped comprehensively a model for assessment of vocational competency which require that VET-students and apprentices to express in writing their vocational competency in answers to a case-test of vocational competences in three occupations: Health, electrician and industrial mechanic.This paper is based on findings from analysis of the case-based tests from the MECVET project. The research question is: To what extent is writing a component in the vocational competency? The analysis will focus on the writing compentences as a part of and integrated in the vocational an how the students and apprentices are mastering to communicate their vocational competence. The paper will outline both the vocational or profesional writing competence and the genreric or hybrid writing competences. In this way this paper have both a subject/professional perspektiv and a lingusitc/generic perspectiv on writing. An overall perspctive is to analyse how students and apprentices mastering to communicate their vocational competences by writing. The analyse will give results related to specific linguistic challanges to students and apprentices and development or progression in writing competences from students to apprentices levels.        


The methods uses in this research is text analysis of approximately 120 case-based texts from students and apprentices. The analyse is based on different linguistic categories, both related to professional/vocational language (terminology, professional argumentation, professional type of text structure etc) and generic grammar of different kinds, such as syntax, morphology, punctuation, text structure and organisation, paragraphs. Each of the case-based text has been categorized and analysed and the findings marked in schemes. The writing competence of students have been compared with apprentices´ writing competence. And the analysis will also show differences and similarities between the three different occupations; Health, electrician and industrial mechanics.

Expected Outcomes

Some conclusions of the analysis are first of all that students and apprentices have some specific shortages and challenges in their generic/formal/hybrid part of their writing competences. This can influence their abilities to communicate their vocational competences in written words. It is also remarkable that this part of their writing competences has a negative progress/development from their role as students to their role as apprentices. Another fining, not surprisingly, that health students and apprentices do write more and in a more appropriate language than the two other occupations.


Barton, D. (2006). Significance of a Social Practice View of Language, Literacy and Numeracy. In L. Tett, M. Hamilton, & Y. Hilier (Eds.), Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Language. New York: Open University Press.
Barton, D. (2007). Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language (Second ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.
Gee, J. P., & Hayes, E. R. (2011). Language and Learning in the Digital Age. London and New York: Routledge.
Hellne-Halvorsen, E. B. (2014). Skrivepraksiser i yrkesfaglige utdanningsprogrammer. (Doktoravhandling), Universitetet i Oslo, Oslo.
Hellne-Halvorsen, E. B. (2016). Å studere yrkesfaglærerens skrivearbeid: teoretiske og metodiske implikasjoner. In S. U. Groth (Ed.), Yrkes- og profesjonsutdanning i en norsk kontekst (pp. 178-197). Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.
Karlsson, A.-M. (2006). En arbetsdag i skriftsamhället. Ett etnografisk perspektiv på skriftanvänding i vanliga yrken (Vol. 2 ): Institutet för språk och folkminnen.
Nore, H. (2015). Re-Contextualizing Vocational Didactics in Norwegian Vocational Education and Training. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Traning, 2(3), 184-194.
Skjelbred, D., & Veum, A. (2013). Innledning - Literacy i læringskontekster. In D. Skjelbred & A. Veum (Eds.), Literacy i læringskontekster (pp. 11-25). Oslo: Cappelen Damm as.

Author Information

Ellen Beate Hellne-Halvorsen (presenting)
Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
Faculty of Education and International Studies, Dep of Vocational Teacher Education