Principles of Assessment: What This Means For RTOs

  • By: Jennifer Pazaratz

  • 10 August ‘20

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5 minutes read

The RTO Standards Guide is an important document in the VET industry. If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably come across it once or twice. Maybe you’ve read it front to back, or are tackling it in small chunks. You may be familiar enough with it to quote snippets at dinner parties, or you are in the beginning phase of trying to wrap your head around all the new information. 

Either way, this blog is aimed at summarising what we consider to be one of the most important sections of the RTO Standards Guide – Conduct Effective Assessment.

Here, we are starting with Clause 1.8, Principles of Assessment.

There are four Principles of Assessment; Fairness, Flexibility, Validity and Reliability.

We will be discussing each of these and what it means for RTO Assessment. Download this infographic for easy reference.

Principles of Assessment Fairness

The Fairness principle is based on the individual learner’s needs being considered during the RTO Assessment process. 

So, how do RTOs make sure that their assessment process is fair?

The RTO is to make reasonable adjustments to account for the individual learner’s needs. It is important to note that the term ‘reasonable adjustments’ is used and remember that adjustments that would compromise the integrity of the training or create undue hardship for the RTO are not included within this parameter.

The RTO must also ensure that the learner has a clear understanding of the assessment process and is allowed to challenge the result of the assessment. The RTO Assessment tool should provide evidence that this has been explained to the learner and they understand and agree to this process. If required, the learner is permitted to be reassessed.

This principle aims to create an environment of equality and provide learners with access to training, and that those learners that require additional assistance are not disadvantaged in the process. Essentially, it creates a level playing field. 

Principles of Assessment Flexibility

The Flexibility principle, much like the Fairness principle, involves considering the various needs of individual learners during the RTO Assessment process.

RTO Assessment is flexible and considers the individual learner by:

  • Reflecting their needs
  • Assessing their skills no matter how or when they were acquired
  • Considering a range of assessment methods and using those that best fit the context, unit, assessment requirements and the individual learner

Your RTO Assessment tool should allow for these considerations to be made. This can include the ability to submit photos, audio recordings, and video evidence as well as enable learner interaction with different mediums such as drawing boards, visual aids, and sound recordings as part of the assessment process.Principles of Assessment

Principles of Assessment Validity

The Validity principle ensures that the RTO Assessment decision is based on evidence of performance. Essentially, it means that the assessment process does what it claims, assesses the competency of the individual learner. In order for this process to be valid, the following is required:

Assessments cover the broad range of skills and knowledge required for competent performance

  • Assessment of knowledge and skills is integrated with practical application
  • Assessment concludes that the learner can demonstrate skills and knowledge when required
  • Competence is based on learner performance being aligned to unit/s of competency and assessment requirements
  • Your RTO Assessment tool must adequately cover all requirements of each unit, and be able to confirm repeatability of performance. To be valid, the assessment must not omit anything from the unit, nor expect anything above and beyond unit requirements. 

Principles of Assessment Reliability

The Reliability principle refers to the consistency of RTO Assessment outcomes, meaning that given the same conditions for the same unit of competency, all assessors should reach the same conclusion regarding the competency of the learner.

Your RTO Assessment tool should provide guidance for assessors in this regard, with instructions to guide their judgement on performance and answers to assessment questions. Providing assessors with written questions and answers, as well as making space for the assessor to make comments on assessment criteria allows RTOs to demonstrate the reliability of each learner’s assessment.

Your RTO Assessment tool should enable you to be confident about the Fairness, Flexibility, Validity and Reliability of your assessments. The Cloud Assess software is designed for RTOs to create, conduct and control assessment with these principles in mind. 

To read about ASQA’s Guide to Developing Assessment Tools, click here.

For more information about keeping your RTO compliant, check out these resources: 

What Are the Rules of Evidence and Why Are They So Important?

ASQA’s Strategic Direction To Ensure Quality in VET

Unpacking ASQA’s Guide to Developing Assessment Tools

ASQA Explained: RTO Audit Process

ASQA Student Survey: The What, Why and How Explained

How RTOs Can Involve Other Parties in Collecting Assessment Evidence

RTO Standards Guide: Top Tips for Compliant Marketing and Recruitment Practices 

Volume of Learning Explained for RTOs

Accessibility for People With Disabilities in Vocational Education

The What, Why and How of the ASQA Learner and Employer Questionnaires

ASQA Rapid Review: What This Means For RTOs

The How, What and Why of ASQA’s Annual Declaration on Compliance

Key Factors That Will Help Your RTO Stay Compliant

Principles of Assessment

UPDATED: 23 September 2021


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