Assessment validation

RTO Compliance Risks

By | Assessment validation, RTO assessments, RTO Compliance | No Comments

RTO Audits - RTO consultants are fully qualified auditorsRTO Compliance Risks

Based on ASQA figures, the majority of non-compliance issues are related to the practice of assessment and assessment instruments/tools. After undergoing many audits for RTOs nationally  we have also found the same trend. This is a shocking representation of our industry, especially as this is part of an RTO’s core product.

We have worked with hundreds of RTOs and I believe that when it comes to problems with assessment tools, the key issues generally relate to these areas.

  1. Purchase off the shelf resources 

When RTOs purchase assessment tools, they do so believing the assessment tools are audit ready. Unfortunately, this is most often not the case. We find serious compliance issues with the majority of tools that are on the market today, most are deficient and require serious modifications and amendments, as well contextualisation to meet the RTOs learner cohort, in order to pass audit.

Purchasing assessment tools off the shelf is a risky business unless the RTO uses due diligence, with a process in place to review, amend and validate the instrument.

  1. Poor understanding by Assessors

Most people would consider, those trainers and assessors who hold a current Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, know all there is to know about assessment, unfortunately this is not the case.

Working with or writing assessment tools is not an easy process. It’s a skill that requires in depth knowledge of industry, rules of evidence, principles of assessment, the context and application of assessment, the specific training package, resource development processes, the learner cohort, target market etc etc. So throwing an assessor into the assessment process without thorough screening, involvement in the assessment tool and review of its content is not conducive to effective due diligence by an RTO.

  1. Lack of Moderation

During the assessment process it is crucial to conduct moderation. Feedback, from students, trainers and assessors on their thoughts on the tool should be considered on a constant basis.  This will allow for modification and amendment during the process.

  1. Lack of Validation

Whilst most RTOs, by now, have met their 50%  and over, validation quota. We are still finding that the validation of assessment instruments has not been actioned and evidenced sufficiently by RTOs. We are all extremely time poor and the requirement to validate assessment instruments is a very lengthy process, but: maintaining a comprehensive validation process (both internal and external) will diminish risk, improve outcomes, assist with continuous improvement and maintain quality assurance.

Happy assessing!

RTO Validation

By | Assessment validation, RTO Validation | No Comments
RTO validation

RTO Validation

RTO Validation – Part 1
Whilst we are getting close to the business end of the first validation milestone (50% of all programs on scope by March 2018). We are still finding many RTOs are continuing to struggle with this process. I note that too many RTOs in Australia are non compliant in their assessment activities and instruments. This is a major issue, one we hope validation will fix.
In some cases we are finding RTOs do not even have a policy, validation checklist, identified validators, schedule or plan. Because of this,  over the coming weeks we will provide insights and checklists for you all to view and use.

We start off with the humble Policy & Procedure. Use this as a guide, a start point, to develop your own Policy & Procedure for Validation.

1.Policy Outline

This policy is designed to ensure that the RTO is able to ensure assessment instruments effectively address the requirements of the relevant Training Package (or accredited course) and the associated unit(s) of competency and qualifications on scope. This allows the RTO to ensure assessments are conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment and rules of evidence and identify areas for improvement.
The following procedure will ensure that the validation process occurs in a systematic and consistent manner with appropriate evidence of the validation activities being maintained in accordance with the Standards for RTO’s 2015.
Validation is a quality review process. It involves the checking of the assessment tool produces valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to enable reasonable judgements of competency to be made. The validation processes will review the assessment instruments and related documents to identify if any further changes are required to improve the quality and consistency of assessment outcomes.

2. Procedure and Overview
Assessment instruments for all Units of Competency or Qualifications on scope are to be validated at least once through the life of the associated Training Package or Accredited Course. Validation activities must be undertaken in a systematic manner and all validation activities will be scheduled through the ‘Validation Schedule’ including identifying the units or qualifications that are to be validated at each session.
The RTO Training Manager shall ensure that a ‘Validation Schedule’ is maintained that identifies when it is planned that each Unit of Competency/Qualification included on the RTO’s Scope of Registration is to undertake validation. The Validation Schedule is to be for a period of five years and must ensure that all units are validated over a five year period, with at least 50% of units scheduled for validation in the first three (3) years, and then the remaining 50% of units in the following Two (2) years.

2.1 The Validation Schedule<
The Validation Schedule must include the following details:
• Proposed dates for the validation of each unit
• The documents to be reviewed as part of the validation
• Participants in the validation activity
To ensure regular validation sessions occur, the sessions will be scheduled approximately every 3 months (each quarter) for each industry area the RTO is providing training and assessment services.
This schedule is to be updated annually.

2.2 Validation Process
All validation activities are to be documented using the ‘Validation Checklist’. The validation process of each Unit of Competency/Qulaification is to be documented by completing the ‘Validation Checklist’ which must be submitted to the Training Manager at the conclusion of each validation session. This checklist will ensure the Assessment instruments for an individual Unit of Competency are appropriate and address the Training Package requirements. Where any gaps are identified the required action is to be documented on the checklist.

The validation process is to include a review of:

  • The assessment system being implemented by the RTO
  • The assessment tools and processes for individual units
  • A sample of assessment judgements

The assessment instruments must be reviewed to ensure the assessment instruments:

  • Meet the Standards for RTO’s 2015
  • Meet the requirements of the relevant Training Package and Unit of Competency/Qualification
  • Meet the Principles of Assessment & Rules of Evidence requirements
  • Address and incorporate the Critical Aspects of Assessment and Evidence of the Unit of Competency/Qualification
  • Address and incorporate the Required Skills and Knowledge of the Unit of Competency/Qualification
  • Follow the unit of competency suggested assessment methods
  • Meets the Principles of Assessment
  • Meet the Rules of Assessment
  • Addresses Employability skills
  • Sufficient evidence is collected from the student

The validation sessions are also required to include the reviewing of previously conducted assessments from sample student files the assessments are being used in accordance with the Rules of Evidence. The number of student files to be reviewed must be sufficient to ensure that the result of the review of students’ work is reliable and an accurate reflection of all the assessments in the unit being reviewed.

2.3 Validators
Validation of all units (other than those from the Training and Education Training Package) are to be conducted by person(s) who do not deliver or assess the unit being validated for the RTO. The validator (s) must collectively have:

  •  Vocational competencies and current industry skills relevant to the unit being validated
  •  Current knowledge and skills in vocational teaching, learning and assessment
  •  The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or the Assessor skills Set (TAESS00001)

The responsibility for determining the validators will be the RTO Training Manager.

2.4 Results, Action, & Recording of Validation Activities

The results and outcomes of the validation activity must be documented using the ‘Validation Checklist’
Where the validation process identifies issues which need attention, measures will be implemented to ensure that all assessments comply with the requirements of accuracy, consistency and fairness. Measures may include:

  • Revision of the assessment system and processes
  • Revision of the assessment tools
  • Revision of marking guides
  • Development of additional assessment tools/tasks
  • Professional development activities for assessors
RTO validation review


2.5 Amending Relevant Documents
Once the results and outcomes are obtained through the validation activities, relevant RTO documentation may be required to be amended such as:

  • Training & Assessment Strategy
  • Assessment instruments
  • Assessment Resources

This process will be supported by the continuous improvement processes and relevant management and / or staff meetings. The Training Manager shall ensure that all evidence of validation activities are maintained appropriately. This includes Validation Checklists, copies of materials reviewed, and evidence of implementation of identified improvements. Version control will be amended to effect each reported change and amendment.All validation activities are to be recorded and documented using the ‘Validation Checklist’ and the Training Manager shall ensure evidence of all validation activities are collected and reviewed through the RTO meetings and quality assurance systems.


Happy validating!