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Assessment VET

 

Competency-based training and assessment

Competency-based training provides learners with the skills, knowledge and understanding to demonstrate competence against standards and performance criteria in an applied context. The national VET system is competency-based, built around nationally endorsed industry standards.

Competency-based assessment is the process of collecting evidence and making judgements about whether competency has been achieved. In this section you will find information that will help you design, conduct and validate competency-based assessments.

General assessment information and resources

All staff engaged in training and assessment will require access to the relevant training package. These can be purchased through TVET Australia or through the relevant Industry Skills Council. Training packages can also be accessed through the National Training Information Service website.

CDU's Assessment Rules aim to ensure that all processes for students’ assessment are flexible, fair and provide for University-wide quality and consistency in assessment.

A suite of ten Training Package Assessment Guides provides assessors with a range of practical tools and resources for improving assessment practices in both on- and off-the-job situations. Printed and/or CD-ROM versions of these guides are available from TVET Australia or individual chapters can be read/downloaded online by registering on the Resource Generator.

 

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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

One of the key objectives of the national training framework is to facilitate pathways to formal qualifications that are based on, or include, recognition of prior learning that has occurred outside formal education and training. CDU actively encourages RPL.

AQTF Standards state that:

Resources

A number of RPL guides, templates and exemplars are available in the Assessment folder of the VET section of the Staff Intranet.

 

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Rules of evidence

AQTF Standards state that assessment must be based on what is sometimes termed the 'rules of evidence' - validity, reliability, fairness and flexibility. This is also good teaching and assessment practice and ensures the best learning outcomes for students.

Resources

A number of assessment guides, templates and exemplars are available in the Assessment folder of the VET section of the Staff Intranet.

Assessment Evidence Game This activity has been adapted from Guide 4, ANTA Training Package Assessment Materials Kit which was originally designed for a unit of competency from the Construction Training Package. The activity has been adapted for: Information Technology; Community Services; Automotive/Transport; Tourism & Hospitality.

AssessItNow provides assessment resources for trainers, assessors, industry personnel and students.

Note: All delivery and assessment tools require version control and need to be kept as evidence of continual improvement. For information on how to administer version control on your resources, see the CDU Document History and Version Control Principles document.

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Types of evidence

Evidence is information upon which an assessor makes a judgement of competency.

Evidence may include:

Direct demonstration/observation

Performance of a task, or range of tasks, either in the workplace or in a simulated work environment, witnessed directly by an assessor

Indirect demonstration

Use of photographs, videos, etc. showing performance of a task when the assessor cannot be present

Products

Models, items, objects that have been made, fixed or repaired by the candidate

Workplace documents

Rosters, budgets, reports, standard operating procedures etc. developed by the candidate

Questions -  written and oral

Asking the candidate about real or hypothetical situations to check understanding, task management and contingency management skills. May be short answer, discussion, multiple choice, etc.

Assignments

Projects, reports, essays, etc. relevant to the LLN requirements of the unit of competency

Third party reports

Documented and verified reports from supervisor, colleague, subject expert, trainer or others

Self-assessment

A candidate’s personal statement on their performance (not generally sufficient in isolation)

Simulation

Simulated activity to accommodate difficult to demonstrate criteria e.g. emergencies, contingencies, difficult behaviours etc.

Portfolios

Collections of evidence compiled by the candidate

Adapted from Training Package Assessment Materials Kit, 2001. Department of Education, Training & Youth Affairs

Assessors can use the following steps to target appropriate evidence:  

It is good practice to adopt student-centred and workplace-centred approaches to the collection of evidence, rather than relying on a one-method-fits all approach. Negotiate with employers and learners to determine what evidence is already available, or to develop appropriate assessment methods.

Assessment activities may be undertaken in work or project teams, and therefore may provide evidence of competency for more than one candidate. In this situation a personal statement, additional questioning or third-party report may be required to confirm an individual’s contribution and performance.

Resources

The Unpacking units of competency template helps trainers/assessors break down the unit of competency, or clusters of units, into easy to understand sections. This provides important information that will help in designing meaningful assessment strategies and tools. OLT strongly recommends this activity to VET staff whenever they plan for delivery of a new unit, or apply a unit to a new training and assessment context.

A number of assessment guides, templates and exemplars are available in the Assessment folder of the VET section of the Staff Intranet.

Note: All delivery and assessment tools require version control and need to be kept as evidence of continual improvement. For information on how to administer version control on your resources, see the CDU Document History and Version Control Principles document.

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Sufficiency of evidence

One of the questions most frequently asked by assessors is – how much evidence is needed?

Some assessors are accused of collecting too little evidence while others collect too much. In fact, the volume of evidence collected will vary according to the competency being assessed, the candidate and the context of assessment.

Training package Assessment Materials Kit, 2001 Department of Education, Training & Youth Affairs

Although there are cases of specific training packages/units of competency where  required evidence is prescribed, generally there are no rules for quantity. Rather than focusing on the quantity of evidence, assessors need to ensure that assessment decisions are based on quality evidence that demonstrates the learner is competent against the criteria for the unit of competency.

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Language, literacy and numeracy in assessment

In the process of working out what evidence is required or when developing assessment tools, the assessor should pay particular attention to the language, literacy and numeracy skill level of the candidate and the requirements of the units of competency.

There is often a tendency to rely on written tests and essays – particularly in assessment of underpinning knowledge.  In many units of competency, however, writing is either not required or is a minimal requirement to perform the described work task.

Evidence that requires skills beyond those specified in the unit of competency should be avoided.

Resources

The Unpacking units of competency template helps trainers/assessors break down the unit of competency, or clusters of units, into easy to understand sections - including identification of LLN requirements of the task.

The information flyer Language, Literacy & Numeracy provides information about RTO and trainer obligations for LLN.

 

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Equity groups and reasonable adjustment

'Reasonable adjustment, sometimes called reasonable accommodation or allowable adjustment is designed to ensure that all people are treated equally in the assessment process – this means that, wherever possible, "reasonable", adjustments are made to the assessment process to meet the individual needs of students.'
Source: Training Package assessment materials: Kit to support assessor training, Commonwealth of Australia, 2001

Equity groups may include, but are not limited to:

Reasonable adjustment may mean:

Resources
O’Grady, C. & Honeywill, S. (2003) Acknowledging Diversity in Assessment Practices, NSW Adult Migrant English Service, Sydney.

This publication focuses on strategies for providing fair workplace assessment for all employees. It aims to assist trainers and assessors involved with plan, conduct and review assessment in ensuring fair assessment practices. An order form is available from the NSW AMES site.

 

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Evaluating and recording evidence

If the assessment process has been valid, reliable, fair, and flexible and the evidence is sufficient then the professional decision on a candidate’s competency should be a straightforward appraisal of the evidence.

CDU supports competency-based assessment – competent or not yet competent.
If an assessor is uncomfortable with making a decision they should review:

An unsuccessful assessment outcome should not be viewed as a failure by either the assessor or the candidate, but rather as a means to identify additional learning needs. Candidates should be given the opportunity for reassessment and detailed explanation of where weaknesses exist in performance.

Resources

Templates and exemplars for recording evidence are available in the Assessment folder of the VET section of the Staff Intranet.

An information flyer 'CDU VET Results and Frequently Asked Questions has been produced by the Accreditation and Quality Team.

 

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Informing students

What is the minimum assessment information that students need? AQTF Standards state that:

All pre-assessment information should be included in the Unit Information document that is provided to each student at the beginning of the unit.

Feedback on assessment outcomes can be provided on written assessments or the assessment feedback template can be used.

Resources

Templates and exemplars for recording evidence and providing students with feedback are available in the Assessment folder of the VET section of the Staff Intranet.

 

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Validation and moderation

Validation means confirming that something is fit for a purpose, and in this context an RTO should validate its assessment strategies by:

Validation may occur:

The term 'moderation' is used in this context to describe the process by which assessment tools, processes and judgements are validated. If the moderation process does not validate the assessment processes, tools and outcomes, then actions to be taken to improve the quality and consistency of assessment need to be documented.

Validation requires assessors to meet – physically or virtually – at least once a year to discuss and confirm that assessments (including RPL):

Resources

Validation and moderation report templates are available in the Validation and Moderation folder of the VET section of the Staff Intranet.

Assessment Evidence Game

This activity has been adapted from Guide 4, ANTA Training Package Assessment Materials Kit which was originally designed for a unit of competency from the Construction Training Package. The activity has been adapted for: Information Technology; Community Services; Automotive/Transport; Tourism & Hospitality.

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