RTO Standards Guide Made Simple: Conduct Effective Assessment
The Standards Guide for RTOs 2015 is an important document for the VET industry. It was developed to help RTOs understand their obligations as well as maintain quality related to the delivery of courses.
Here, we provide an overview of what we consider to be one of the most important parts of the guide, Chapter 4: Training and Assessment, Clauses 1.8-1.12: Conduct Effective Assessment.
Next read: Learn about clause 4.1 and RTO compliant marketing.
RTOs implement a system that ensures that assessments (and RPL):
- comply with requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited course
- conform with the Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence
1.8-1: Principles of Assessment
There are four Principles of Assessment; Fairness Flexibility Validity Reliability.
The Fairness principle is based on the individual learner’s needs being considered during the RTO Assessment process.
The Flexibility principle, much like the Fairness principle, involves considering the various needs of individual learners during the RTO Assessment process.
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.
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.
Clause 1.8-2: Rules of Evidence
There are four Rules of Evidence; Validity, Sufficiency, Authenticity and Currency.
The Rules of Evidence are very closely related to the Principles of Assessment and highlight the important factors around evidence collection.
The Validity rule is based on the assessor being confident that the learner has the skills, knowledge and attributes required in the module or unit of competency and assessment. Essentially, it means that the assessment process does what it claims, assesses the competency of the individual learner.
The Sufficiency rule, much like the Validity rule, is based on the assessor being confident that the quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence allows judgement to be made on a learner’s competency.
The Authenticity rule is based on the assessor being confident that the evidence presented in assessment is indeed the work of the learner.
The Currency rule is based on the assessor being confident that the evidence presented in assessment demonstrates current competency. The assessment evidence must be from the present or very recent past.
RTOs need to enact a plan that ensures assessments and judgements are validated in a continuing and structured manner for every training product on their scope of registration. This includes:
- When assessment validation will occur
- Which training products the validation will focus on
- Who will lead the validation and who else is required to participate in validation activities
- How the outcomes are documented and what action needs to be taken
As discussed in Clause 1.9, RTOs must ensure that validation of each training product occurs at least once every five years, with a minimum of 50% of products validated in the first three years of each five year cycle. This must account for all risks of all training products on the RTO’s scope of registration.
As discussed in Clause 1.9, this validation is to be done by one or more people who aren’t directly involved in the delivery and assessment of the product being validated. They must also have vocational competencies and current industry skills relevant to what they are validating, current knowledge and skills in vocational education.
RTOs must give RPL. This includes all skills and knowledge students have acquired through work and life experiences. These skills are assessed against industry standards by an RPL assessor and matched against a suitable qualification.
What does this section of the Guide mean for your RTO?
Essentially, the clauses above ensure that vocational students meet industry expectations upon graduation. RTOs must provide their students with training, development and assessment that enables them to not only master the required knowledge, but to gain the necessary practical skills that will allow them to work confidently in their chosen field.
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