Assessment Guidelines

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INTRODUCTION

These Assessment Guidelines provide the endorsed framework for assessment of units of competency in this Training Package. They are designed to ensure that assessment is consistent with the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration. Assessments against the units of competency in this Training Package must be carried out in accordance with these Assessment Guidelines. 


ASSESSMENT SYSTEM OVERVIEW

This section provides an overview of the requirements for assessment when using this Training Package, including a summary of the AQTF requirements; licensing and registration requirements; and assessment pathways.

Quality assessment underpins the credibility of the vocational education and training sector.  The Assessment Guidelines of a Training Package are an important tool in supporting quality assessment.

Assessment within the National Skills Framework is the process of collecting evidence and making judgements about whether competency has been achieved to confirm whether an individual can perform to the standards expected in the workplace, as expressed in the relevant endorsed unit of competency.

Assessment must be carried out in accordance with the:

  • benchmarks for assessment
  • specific industry requirements [where industry specific requirements are adequately covered by the Training Package Assessment Guidelines Mandatory Text, this dot point should be deleted]
  • principles of assessment
  • rules of evidence
  • assessment requirements set out in the AQTF

BENCHMARKS FOR ASSESSMENT

The endorsed units of competency in this Training Package are the benchmarks for assessment. As such, they provide the basis for nationally recognised Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications and Statements of Attainment issued by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). 


INDUSTRY REQUIREMENTS

Where necessary, Industry requirements additional to the Training Package Assessment Guidelines can be inserted here.

This may include advice on:

  • the context in which assessment is conducted, 
  • industry workplace conditions and expectations, 
  • realistic simulated work environments that are acceptable to industry; and 
  • in general terms, of suitable/current resources and equipment.

NOTE:  where industry specific requirements are adequately covered by the Training Package Assessment Guidelines Mandatory Text, this section should be deleted.


PRINCIPLES OF ASSESSMENT

All assessments carried out by RTOs are required to demonstrate compliance with the principles of assessment:

  • validity
  • reliability
  • flexibility
  • fairness
  • sufficiency

These principles must be addressed in the:

  • design, establishment and management of the assessment system for this Training Package
  • development of assessment tools, and
  • the conduct of assessment.

Validity
Assessment is valid when the process is sound and assesses what it claims to assess. Validity requires that:

  1. assessment against the units of competency must cover the broad range of skills and knowledge that are essential to competent performance 
  2. assessment of knowledge and skills must be integrated with their practical application
  3. judgement of competence must be based on sufficient evidence (that is, evidence gathered on a number of occasions and in a range of contexts using different assessment methods).  The specific evidence requirements of each unit of competency provide advice on sufficiency

Reliability
Refers to the degree to which evidence presented for assessment is consistently interpreted and results in consistent assessment outcomes. Reliability requires the assessor to have the required competencies in assessment and relevant vocational competencies (or to assess in conjunction with someone who has the vocational competencies). It can only be achieved when assessors share a common interpretation of the assessment requirements of the unit(s) being assessed.

Flexibility
To be flexible, assessment should reflect the candidate’s needs; provide for recognition of competencies no matter how, where or when they have been acquired; draw on a range of methods appropriate to the context, competency and the candidate; and support continuous competency development.

Fairness
In assessment requires consideration of the individual candidate’s needs and characteristics, and any reasonable adjustments that need to be applied to take account of them. It requires clear communication between the assessor and the candidate to ensure that the candidate is fully informed about, understands and is able to participate in, the assessment process, and agrees that the process is appropriate. It also includes an opportunity for the person being assessed to challenge the result of the assessment and to be reassessed if necessary.

Sufficiency
Relates to the quality and quantity of evidence assessed. It requires collection of enough appropriate evidence to ensure that all aspects of competency have been satisfied and that competency can be demonstrated repeatedly. Supplementary sources of evidence may be necessary. The specific evidence requirements of each unit of competency provide advice on sufficiency.   Sufficiency is also one of the rules of evidence.


RULES OF EVIDENCE 

The rules of evidence guide the collection of evidence that address the principles of validity and reliability, guiding the collection of evidence to ensure that it is valid, sufficient, current and authentic.

Valid
Evidence must relate directly to the requirements of the unit of competency.  In ensuring evidence is valid, assessors must ensure that the evidence collected supports demonstration of the outcomes and performance requirements of the unit of competency together with the knowledge and skills necessary for competent performance.   Valid evidence must encapsulate the breadth and depth of the unit of competency, which will necessitate using a number of different assessment methods.

Sufficient
Relates to the quality and quantity of evidence assessed. It requires collection of enough appropriate evidence to ensure that all aspects of competency have been satisfied and that competency can be demonstrated repeatedly. Supplementary sources of evidence may be necessary. The specific evidence requirements of each unit of competency provide advice on sufficiency.

Current
In assessment, currency relates to the age of the evidence presented by a candidate to demonstrate that they are still competent. Competency requires demonstration of current performance, so the evidence collected must be from either the present or the very recent past.

Authentic
To accept evidence as authentic, an assessor must be assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the candidate’s own work.


ASEESMENT REQUIREMENTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN QUALITY TRAINING FRAMEWORK

Assessment leading to nationally recognised AQF qualifications and Statements of Attainment in the vocational education and training sector must meet the requirements of the AQTF as expressed in the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Registration. 

The AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration can be downloaded from <www.training.com.au>

The following points summarise the assessment requirements:

  • Registration of Training Organisations
    Assessment must be conducted by, or on behalf of, an RTO formally registered by a State or Territory Registering Body in accordance with the AQTF. The RTO must have the specific units of competency and/or AQF qualifications on its scope of registration. 
  • Quality Training and Assessment
    Each RTO must provide quality training and assessment across all its operations. See the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration, Standard 1. 
  • Assessor Competency Requirements
    Each person involved in training and assessment must be competent for the functions they perform. See the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration, Standard 1 for assessor (and trainer) competency requirements.  See also the AQTF 2010 Users’ Guide to the Essential Standards for Registration – Appendix 2.
  • Assessment Requirements
    The RTOs assessments, including RPL, must meet the requirements of the relevant endorsed Training Package. See the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration.
  • Assessment Strategies
    Each RTO must have strategies for training and assessment that meet the requirements of the relevant Training Package or accredited course and are developed in consultation with industry stakeholders. See the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration. 
  • National Recognition
    Each RTO must recognise the AQF qualifications and Statements of Attainment issued by any other RTO. See the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration.
  • Access and Equity and Client Outcomes
    Each RTO must adhere to the principles of access and equity and maximise outcomes for its clients. See the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration. 
  • Monitoring Assessments
    Training and/or assessment provided on behalf of the RTO must be monitored to ensure that it is in accordance with all aspects of the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration.
  • Recording Assessment Outcomes
    Each RTO must manage records to ensure their accuracy and integrity. See the AQTF 2010 Essential Standards for Initial and Continuing Registration.
  • Issuing AQF qualifications and Statement of Attainment
    Each RTO must issue AQF qualifications and Statements of Attainment that meet the requirements of the current AQF Implementation Handbook and the endorsed Training Packages within the scope of its registration. An AQF qualification is issued once the full requirements for a qualification, as specified in the nationally endorsed Training Package are met. A Statement of Attainment is issued when an individual has completed one or more units of competency from nationally recognised qualification(s)/courses(s). See the AQTF and the edition of the AQF Implementation Handbook—available on the AQF Council website www.aqf.edu.au

PATHWAYS

The competencies in this Training Package may be attained in a number of ways including through:

  • formal or informal education and training 
  • experiences in the workplace
  • general life experience, and/or
  • any combination of the above.

Assessment under this Training Package leading to an AQF qualification or Statement of Attainment may follow a learning and assessment pathway, or a recognition pathway, or a combination of the two as illustrated in the following diagram.

Each of these assessment pathways leads to full recognition of competencies held – the critical issue is that the candidate is competent, not how the competency was acquired. 

Assessment, by any pathway, must comply with the assessment requirements set out in the Assessment Guidelines of the Training Package , the AQTF and, where relevant, the Australian Qualifications Framework. 

Learning and Assessment Pathways
Usually, learning and assessment are integrated, with evidence being collected and feedback provided to the candidate at anytime throughout the learning and assessment process.

Learning and assessment pathways may include structured programs in a variety of contexts using a range of strategies to meet different learner needs. Structured learning and assessment programs could be: group-based, work-based, project-based, self-paced, action learning-based; conducted by distance or e-learning; and/or involve practice and experience in the workplace. 

Learning and assessment pathways to suit Australian Apprenticeships have a mix of formal structured training and structured workplace experience with formative assessment activities through which candidates can acquire and demonstrate skills and knowledge from the relevant units of competency.

Credit Pathways 
Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content between different types of learning and/or qualifications which reduces the volume of learning required to achieve a qualification. 

Credit arrangements must be offered by all RTOs that offer Training Package qualifications.  Each RTO must have a systematic institutional approach with clear, accessible and transparent policies and procedures.

Competencies already held by individuals can be formally assessed against the units of competency in this Training Package, and should be recognised regardless of how, when or where they were acquired, provided that the learning is relevant to the unit of competency outcomes.  

Recognition of Prior Learning
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process which determines the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

The availability of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) provides all potential learners with access to credit opportunities.

The recognition of prior learning pathway is appropriate for candidates who have previously attained skills and knowledge and who, when enrolling in qualifications, seek to shorten the duration of their training and either continue or commence working.  This may include the following groups of people:  

  • existing workers;
  • individuals with overseas qualifications;
  • recent migrants with established work histories;
  • people returning to the workplace; and 
  • people with disabilities or injuries requiring a change in career. 

As with all assessment, RPL assessment should be undertaken by academic or teaching staff with expertise in the subject, content of skills area, as well as knowledge of and expertise in RPL assessment policies and procedures.

Assessment methods used for RPL should provide a range of ways for individuals to demonstrate that they have met the required outcomes and can be granted credit. These might include: 

  • questioning (oral or written) 
  • consideration of a portfolio and review of contents 
  • consideration of third party reports and/or other documentation such as documentation such as articles, reports, project material, papers, testimonials or other products prepared by the RPL applicant that relate to the learning outcomes of the relevant qualification component 
  • mapping of learning outcomes from prior formal or non-formal learning to the relevant qualification components 
  • observation of performance, and 
  • participation in structured assessment activities the individual would normally be required to undertake if they were enrolled in the qualification component/s. 

In a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) pathway, the candidate provides current, quality evidence of their competency against the relevant unit of competency.  This process may be directed by the candidate and verified by the assessor. Where the outcomes of this process indicate that the candidate is competent, structured training is not required.  The RPL requirements of the AQTF must be met.

As with all assessment, the assessor must be confident that the evidence indicates that the candidate is currently competent against the endorsed unit of competency. This evidence may take a variety of forms and might include certification, references from past employers, testimonials from clients, work samples and/or observation of the candidate. The onus is on candidates to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy assessors that they currently hold the relevant competencies. In judging evidence, the assessor must ensure that the evidence of prior learning is:

  • authentic (the candidate’s own work);
  • valid (directly related to the current version of the relevant endorsed unit of competency);
  • reliable (shows that the candidate consistently meets the endorsed unit of competency);
  • current (reflects the candidate’s current capacity to perform the aspect of the work covered by the endorsed unit of competency); and
  • sufficient (covers the full range of elements in the relevant unit of competency and addresses the four dimensions of competency, namely task skills, task management skills, contingency management skills, and job/role environment skills).

Credit Transfer
Credit transfer is a process which provides learners with agreed and consistent credit outcomes based on equivalences in content between matched qualifications. 

This process involves education institutions: 

  • mapping, comparing and evaluating the extent to which the defined learning outcomes and assessment requirements of the individual components of one qualification are equivalent to the learning outcomes and assessment requirements of the individual components of another qualification 
  • making an educational judgment of the credit outcomes to be assigned between the matched components of the two qualifications 
  • setting out the agreed credit outcomes in a documented arrangement or agreement, and 
  • publicising the arrangement/agreement and credit available. 

Combination of Pathways
Credit may be awarded on the basis of a combination of credit transfer plus an individual RPL assessment for additional learning. Once credit has been awarded on the basis of RPL, subsequent credit transfer based on these learning outcomes should not include revisiting the RPL assessment but should be based on credit transfer or articulation or other arrangements between providers. 

Where candidates for assessment have gained competencies through work and life experience and gaps in their competence are identified, or where they require training in new areas, a combination of pathways may be appropriate.

In such situations, the candidate may undertake an initial assessment to determine their current competency. Once current competency is identified, a structured learning and assessment program ensures that the candidate acquires the required additional competencies identified as gaps