The JTA is a formal process for determining what peopledo, under what working conditions, and with what knowledge and skills. According to Judith Hale (2000), the analysis provides data to support the development of performance standards, tests, training, and criteria to judge experience, work samples, and efforts. Usually a technical committee of subject matter experts is convened to develop the task analysis, often using the outcomes of the DACUM process.
Performance standards describe a task in enough detail to support the development of tools that will help evaluators fairly judge proﬁciency in performing a task. Deﬁning the standards is the cornerstone for developing the task analysis. A standard has three parts:
- Conditions—the context in which work is performed
- Performance—the task, behaviors, and actions involved in the work
- Criteria—the outcomes required for performance that is “done to standard”
Hale (2000) provides a checklist for evaluating the development of performance standards. (See Figure 1).
Checklist for Evaluating the Development of Performance Standards
Although developing a JTA is part of the curriculum development process, course developers, who may or may not be the same people as the curriculum developers, use the task analysis to decide which skills should be taught and in what depth. The same task analysis can be used to develop courses that last one day, two days, or one week by establishing the prerequisites that students need before a course begins. These prerequisites can often be taken directly from the JTA.
Prerequisites differ from entry skills. Prerequisites are speciﬁc lower-order tasks and skills that students must master to accomplish a more complex, or higher-order, skill or task. Skills generally refer to intellectual processes, whereas tasks refer to duties, jobs, or responsibilities. Both skills and tasks may be included in the JTA.
Entry skills, on the other hand, are general statements of what a student must be able to do to succeed in a course. Entry skills might include statements like “the ability to read technical documents at the 8th grade level,” “basic math skills including algebra,” or “good communication skills.”
One important component of a JTA is to identify how critical or how important each task is to the performance of the job. These critical and very important tasks can be selected from the task analysis for inclusion in a course. Correct selection of tasks and prerequisites helps insure that the students in a course reach the speciﬁed goal of the course or workshop. Appendix B provides a checklist that can be used to evaluate a job or task analysis. This checklist gives the steps that are required to conduct and document a JTA validation study. (See Appendix B).
NABCEP has produced several task analyses that can guide the curriculum and instructional development process. These include: PV Installer Job Task Analysis, Solar Thermal Task Analysis, PV Technical Sales Job Task Analysis, and Professional Small Wind Energy System Installer Task Analysis.
NABCEP-Certiﬁed Solar PV installers are required to specify, conﬁgure, install, inspect, and maintain a solar electric system that 1) meets the performance and reliability needs of customers; 2) incorporates quality craftsmanship; and 3) complies with all applicable safety codes and standards.
The NABCEP PV task analysis covers six major areas:
- Verifying system design
- Managing the project
- Installing electrical components
- Installing mechanical design
- Competing system installation
- Conducting maintenance and troubleshooting activities
This task list begins with performance standards: the installation contractor starts with an approved solar system design package, complete with major components, manufacturer installation manual, system schematics, and assembly and troubleshooting instructions. While the solar installation contractor may not design the system, the contractor must often be knowledgeable about many aspects of systems design and may be required to adapt certain designs to ﬁt a particular application or customer need.
NABCEP also has approved a task analysis for solar thermal installers that deﬁnes a general set of knowledge, skills, and standards that are typically required of practitioners who install and maintain solar hot water or pool heating systems.
The NABCEP Solar Thermal Task Analysis covers 12 major areas:
- Working safely with solar hot water and pool heating systems
- Identifying systems and their components
- Adapting a system design
- Conducting a site assessment
- Installing solar collectors
- Installing water heater and storage tanks
- Installing piping, pipe insulation, and connecting system piping
- Installing mechanical/plumbing equipment and other components
- Installing electrical control systems
- Installing operation and identiﬁcation tags and labels
- Performing a system checkout
- Maintaining and troubleshooting a solar thermal system
Full descriptions of these task analyses are available at www.nabcep.org.