SME’s are used regularly to assist Assessors with assessments for National Qualifications. It may just be giving advice to an Assessor in a particular skill, or more often it involves actively being present at an assessment providing expert advice about a specific activity or skill to the Assessor and Learner.
Assessors primary task is to ensure the principles of good assessment take place in every assessment. That is they are looking for assessments that are: Valid, Reliable, Consistent, Explicit, Accessible, Transparent, Inclusive, Equitable, Relate directly to the programme aims and learning outcomes, Manageable and Promotes Learning and Facilitates Improvement. It is the SME who provides the specific technical activity related knowledge and skills to promote best practice in a particular activity. The Assessor and SME working together provide a high quality assessment that meets the principles of assessment.
In order to meet AQN’s obligation of Due Diligence, we have instituted a process of vetting SME’s and adding them to our database so that all AQN Assessors can access your skills and knowledge when necessary.This process is quite simple and involves filling out our online registration form for each activity you are an SME for, and then it will be evaluated by our panel and if you are deemed suitable, you will officially be listed as an SME with AQN. Your details will only be visible to AQN Assessors. SME’s do not have to already hold the qualification concerned, but will be able to show extensive understanding and practice of the lesser known skills and knowledge of the activity. We are simply evaluating your standing in the activity/industry by peer review, and being deemed an SME does not automatically entitle you to the qualification.
SME’s are paid for their service by the Assessor concerned and not directly by AQN, so payment is negotiated on a job by job basis with the Assessor.
Who are SME’s
A Subject Matter Expert (SME) – is a person with special knowledge or skills in a particular activity.
A person who might be a SME is an individual who has demonstrated expertise that has delivered superior performance within their activity & leadership level within the activity sector.
SMEs are typically found among those who have been in their roles for a long enough period of time for the knowledge and skills to be “second nature”, or in other words, they know how to apply their skills and knowledge without having to look up any information. In the case of extremely complex activities, they might have to look up information even as a SME, but they know exactly where to find that information.
Evidence of subject matter expertise includes – but is not limited to – the following:
- A SME defines how tasks are to be performed because he/she knows the “right” or “best” way to perform them instinctively.
- A SME correctly determines what levels of performance are acceptable and can identify and clearly describe performance objectives.
- A SME knows the order in which successful performance steps are to be performed, and may have made recommendations for improvement that have been adopted in the industry.
- A SME has a high degree of familiarity with the technical jargon in his/her area of expertise.
- A SME is very familiar with the requisite knowledge that underlies effective decision-making.
- A SME can produce many cases that illustrate good versus poor decisions in his/her area of expertise.
- A SME may have written an article or paper that has been published in an industry magazine or journal.
- A SME is often the “go to” person – the person everyone goes to when they have a question about the activity, or a problem they are struggling to solve.
- A SME’s performance has been validated through a performance review process and/or through other avenues of performance recognition.
- A SME may have achieved external recognition for performance that has impacted his/her role, business, or even the industry.
- A SME knows how to explain his/her area of expertise clearly to others, and may serve as a coach, mentor or supervisor within his/her area of expertise.
- A SME can describe where, how and why flaws creep into a decision-maker’s thinking in his/her area of expertise.
- A SME’s exemplary methods have been selected as a model for others to follow.
- Although SMEs are usually found among the longer-term participants, they may not necessarily be in a leadership role.
Some SME’s who have mastered their role have chosen not to be a leader of others within the sector. In a few cases, the SME may not have been identified as a potential leader by the sector, but that does not mean they aren’t subject matter experts. So it is important not to make the mistake of overlooking a possible SME from among the ranks of individual participants.