Standard 1. The RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices are responsive to industry and learner needs and meet the requirements of training packages and VET accredited courses

Standard Comments
1.1. The RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices, including the amount of training they provide, are consistent with the requirements of training packages and VET accredited courses and enable each learner to meet the requirements for each unit of competency or module in which they are enrolled. Use mapping to show that both training and assessment addresses unit requirements:
  • While ASQA doesn’t prescribe a particular format, there seems to be a definite preference to a two-column layout. (I find it easier to label sections in the materials.)
  • You should be able to show which part of the materials addresses each unit.
  • It must be easy to find and clear at a glance, so that auditees don’t scramble to find something hard to find.
The plan must enable a student with the admission requirements to finish and pass the course.
The standard specifies "each learner." This means the strategy must be suitable for everyone in the cohort, with some scope to adapt for individuals. It does not mean that you need a separate strategy for each student.
Although it is permssible, and even prefereable, to contextualize units, some "contexualisations" stray so far from the original purpose of the unit that they might be inconsistent with the unit, despite detailed mapping.
1.2. For the purposes of Clause 1.1, the RTO determines the amount of training they provide to each learner with regard to:
a) the existing skills, knowledge and the experience of the learner;
b) the mode of delivery; and
c) where a full qualification is not being delivered, the number of units and/or modules being delivered as a proportion of the full qualification.
Amount of training should normally follow the AQF guidelines, but they are only notional and cannot be rigidly enforced. It is justifiable for students with more skills to do the course more quickly. Similarly, some kinds of students may need more time.
Either way, the plan must give someone with the admission requirements enough training to finish and pass their course.
(Viewed negatively, the purpose of 1.2 is to outlaw quickie courses.)
1.3. The RTO has, for all of its scope of registration, and consistent with its training and assessment strategies, sufficient:
a) trainers and assessors to deliver the training and assessment;
b) educational and support services to meet the needs of the learner cohort/s undertaking the training and assessment;
c) learning resources to enable learners to meet the requirements for each unit of competency, and which are accessible to the learner regardless of location or mode of delivery; and
d) facilities, whether physical or virtual, and equipment to accommodate and support the number of learners undertaking the training and assessment.
Note that "sufficient" is undefined, nor are any principles for determining how much is "sufficient." An ASQA auditor can say that anything is insufficient, just because he/she feels like it. He/she does not need to give a reason.
Each site needs enough personnel, support services, learning resources and facilities:
  • Personnel: At least one person with a full trainer qualification (e.g. Cert IV TAA) and other requirements. Larger student numbers need more staff. There is a risk is that trainer-assessors will drop out, so a back-up plan is normally necessary if a site has only one person.
  • Support services: Usually extra coaching from the trainer. May need to refer students for specialist help.
  • Learning resources: Usually text materials that cover all unit requirements for all units being offered. They can be commercial textbooks.
  • Some courses require specific equipment. They need to be listed and checked off before commencement. (Note: A few BSB units require office equipment that is useless in non-office delivery, but the auditee must still comply.)
  • Facilities: This is critical where space might become unavailable. Space must be sufficient for student numbers.
1.4. The RTO meets all requirements specified in the relevant training package or VET accredited course. See mapping above.
Some units specify particular equipment. See above.

Industry relevance

Standard Comments
1.5. The RTO’s training and assessment practices are relevant to the needs of industry This is the purpose that must be achieved in this section. Although not specifcally stated, it means the training and assessment reflects current industry practices and that graduates will be employable.
 
Some ASQA auditors suggest that this means that units must be contextualized to updated and local industry expectations, and may not be simply passing on the training package requirements.
and informed by industry engagement. "Industry" is not defined but generally refers to key people in organizations that employ graduates, or industry associations.
 
Industry consultation varies according to the kind of industry structure; these vary from highly regulated associations to loose networks of self-empoyed individuals, to individual employers.
 
Industry consultation also varies according to the kind of course:
• Campus-based courses must have substantial industry consultation and involvement if they should result in an employment outcome.
• It is much simpler for qualifications taught on the job to employees where the company/industry is closely involved in training. • It is less integral for qualifications that are not designed to result in employment, and are simply pathways to other qualifications (e.g. some Certificate I and II programs).
 
Some things are not considered adequate industry consultation, such as comparing courses of other similar colleges, or simply following only the training package or ACAS requirements. Otherwise, industry consultation can take many forms, which are taught in the Cert IV TAA and can overlap with other compliance activities (e.g. industry PD).
 
This means, at minimum, a meeting with an industry person to review:
  • the outline of content
  • the assessment activities
  • the materials
  • staff skills
Other:
  1. If the industry person wants changes to the training or assessment, then any changes should also be documented.
  2. Industry people can add more requirements, but they should not require additions that would fit only a higher level qualification.
  3. Beware industry people who use training as a way to get free workers and offer little training.
  4. To simplify the process, work with a specific job description that matches the qual.
It is also good practice to have some lind of liaison throughout the training and assessment process.
1.6. The RTO implements a range of strategies for industry engagement and systematically uses the outcome of that industry engagement to ensure the industry relevance of:
a) its training and assessment strategies, practices and resources; and
b) the current industry skills of its trainers and assessors.
This is usually the ongoing relationship with employers in practicum and perhaps their involvement in assessment.
Instructors need a way to keep their industry skills up to date. E.g. part-time work placement.
Note that only one kind of industry interaction is insufficient.

Learner support

Standard Comments
1.7. The RTO determines the support needs of individual learners and provides access to the educational and support services necessary for the individual learner to meet the requirements of the training product as specified in training packages or VET accredited courses. This means evaluating the needs of incoming students. It is not just for LLN but any other support services (e.g. disability). Some schools do so by checking the school records. Others simply ask the student.
What it does and does not mean:
• The terminology is "determines." This does not mean that the person doing admissions must conduct an assessment, although some auditors demand it.
• The institution is responsible to see that it is done. The responsiblity is not specifically designated to the person doing admissions. It could be done somewhere else, or by someone else, in the institution.
Extra support is usually extra coaching from the trainer, but trainers may need to refer students for specialist help.
It must be on an individual basis.

Assessment

Standard Comments
1.8. The RTO implements an assessment system that ensures that assessment (including recognition of prior learning):
a) complies with the assessment requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited course; and
b) is conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment contained in Table 1.8-1 and the Rules of Evidence contained in Table 1.8-2.
See mapping comments above.
You need to check and document compliance with the Principles of Assessment. This is stage one of the validation, so use the form for validating assessment tools. (State two is validation of the assessment judgement. It’s possible to validate assessment judgement before assessment if you already have assessment evidence, but it is normally done only after the assessment.)
1.9. The RTO implements a plan for ongoing systematic validation of assessment practices and judgements that includes for each training product on the RTO’s scope of registration:
a) when assessment validation will occur;
b) which training products will be the focus of the validation;
c) who will lead and participate in validation activities; and
d) how the outcomes of these activities will be documented and acted upon.
ACAS centre does this. This just means keeping a plan that meets these requirements.
  1. Systematic means that it may not be haphazard or serendipitous.
  2. It is best to validate all quals every year as part of the improvement process.
  3. The validation process is only complete when improvements have been implemented.
  4. Although it is not a requrement, validation works better if assessors make notes during assessments of things that need clarification or improvement.
1.10. For the purposes of Clause 1.9, each training product is validated at least once every five years, with at least 50% of products validated within the first three years of each five year cycle, taking into account the relative risks of all of the training products on the RTO’s scope of registration, including those risks identified by the VET Regulator. It is best just to validate all quals every year as part of the improvement process. Otherwise everybody forgets, even if there is a plan.
1.11. For the purposes of Clause 1.9, systematic validation of an RTO’s assessment practices and judgements is undertaken by one or more persons who are not directly involved in the particular instance of delivery and assessment of the training product being validated, and who collectively have:
a) on or prior to 31 March 2019:
  (i) vocational competencies and current industry skills relevant to the assessment being validated;
  (ii) current knowledge and skills in vocational teaching and learning; and
  (iii) the training and assessment credential specified in Item 1, or Item 2, or Item 4, or Item 5 of Schedule 1.
b) on or after 1 April 2019:
  (i) vocational competencies and current industry skills relevant to the assessment being validated;
  (ii) current knowledge and skills in vocational teaching and learning; and
  (iii) the training and assessment credential specified in Item 2 or Item 5 of Schedule 1.
Industry experts may be involved in validation to ensure there is the combination of expertise set out in a) or b) above.
This specifies who must be in validations.
Validations can be done internally if the RTO has a range of suitable personnel.
It is easy to use a tick-box form, but it seldom results in improved assessment processes.
1.12. The RTO offers recognition of prior learning to individual learners. This is part of the application process. It does not say "offer RPL to the general public," only to students.

Trainers and assessors

Standard Comments
1.13. In addition to the requirements specified in Clause 1.14 and Clause 1.15, the RTO’s training and assessment is delivered only by persons who have:
a) vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered and assessed;
b) current industry skills directly relevant to the training and assessment being provided; and
c) current knowledge and skills in vocational training and learning that informs their training and assessment.
Industry experts may also be involved in the assessment judgement, working alongside the trainer and/or assessor to conduct the assessment.
Trainers must have:
  • documented current vocational and industry skills that they teach
  • documented current VET knowledge.
Assessors can include industry experts.
1.14. The RTO’s training and assessment:
a) if delivered on or prior to 31 March 2019, is delivered only by persons who have the training and assessment credential specified in Item 1 or Item 2 or Item 3 of Schedule 1.
b) if delivered on or after 1 April 2019, is delivered only by persons who have the training and assessment credential specified in Item 2 or Item 3 of Schedule 1.
Qualifications of trainers-assessors.
It is increasingly the case that the TAE is very expensive, so each site has only one or two fully qualified trainer-assessors, and most staff are working under supervision.
It is fairly easy to get the "working under supervision" units if they are offered as electives in other quals.

 
Who needs a Cert IV TAA?
The Standards for Registered Training organizations are not very clear about who needs a qualification in training and assessment. I usually explain it like this:

    "The PQR Institute trains computer technicians:
    • Brad is an instructor on the campus. He teaches classes and practical sessions. Brad needs the Cert IV TAA or an equivalent.
    • Colin helps give instruction and oversee practical sessions on the PQR campus. He doesn’t have the Cert IV TAA or an equivalent, so he needs a relevant skillset and must work under Brad's supervision.
    • James is a supervisor at MNO Technology, and accepts PQR trainees for practicum placements. At the end of each practicum, he gives a report and reference to the PQR Institute. He does not need a qualification in training and/or assessment.

1.15. Where a person conducts assessments only, the RTO ensures that:
a) on or prior to 31 March 2019, the person has the training and assessment credential specified in Item 1, or Item 2, or Item 3, or Item 4, or Item 5 of Schedule 1; or
b) on or after 1 April 2019, the person has the training and assessment credential specified in Item 2, or Item 3, or Item 5 of Schedule 1.
Qualifications of assessors.
1.16. The RTO ensures that all trainers and assessors undertake professional development in the fields of the knowledge and practice of vocational training, learning and assessment including competency based training and assessment. Trainers-assessors must have documented evidence of PD in VET.

Individuals working under the supervision of a trainer

Standard Comments
1.17. Where the RTO, in delivering training and assessment, engages an individual who is not a trainer or assessor, the individual works under the supervision of a trainer and does not determine assessment outcomes. Role of assessor working under supervision.
1.18. The RTO ensures that any individual working under the supervision of a trainer under Clause 1.17:
a) holds the training and assessment credential specified in Item 6 of Schedule 1.
b) has vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered and assessed; and
c) has current industry skills directly relevant to the training and assessment being provided.
Role of trainer-assessor working under supervision.
1.19. Where the RTO engages an individual under Clause 1.17, it ensures that the training and assessment complies with Standard 1. When engaging someone to work under supervision, first check (and document) that everything mentioned in standard 1 is correct. An internal audit is the best way.
1.20. Without limiting Clauses 1.17 - 1.19, the RTO:
a) determines and puts in place:
i) the level of the supervision required; and
ii) any requirements, conditions or restrictions considered necessary on the individual’s involvement in the provision of training and collection of assessment evidence; and
b) ensures that trainers providing supervision monitor and are accountable for all training provision and collection of assessment evidence by the individual under their supervision.
See supervision policy

Delivery of the training and assessment qualifications for trainers and assessors

Standard Comments
1.21. Deleted.  
1.22. to deliver any AQF qualification or skill set from the Training and Education Training Package (or its successor) the RTO must ensure all trainers and assessors delivering the training and assessment hold the training and assessment qualification at least to the level being delivered. N/a (Refers only to TAE quals)
1.23. To deliver the training and assessment credential specified in Item 1 or Item 2 of Schedule 1, or any assessor skill set from the Training and Education Training Package (or its successor), the RTO must ensure all trainers and assessors delivering the training and assessment:
a) hold the training and assessment credential specified in Item 7 of Schedule 1; or
b) work under the supervision of a trainer that meets the requirement set out in a) above.
N/a (Refers only to TAE quals)
1.24. The RTO must ensure that any person working under supervision for the purposes of Standard 1.23 b):
a) does not determine assessment outcomes; and
b) holds the following:
(i) on or prior to 31 March 2019, the training and assessment credential specified in Item 1 or Item 2 of Schedule 1; or
(ii) on or after 1 April 2019, the training and assessment credential specified in Item 2 of Schedule 1.
N/a (Refers only to TAE quals)

Independent validation of training and assessment qualifications

Standard Comments
1.25. to deliver any AQF qualification or assessor skill set from the Training and Education Training Package (or its successor), the RTO must have undergone an independent validation of its assessment system, tools, processes and outcomes in accordance with the requirements contained in Schedule 2 (and the definitions of independent validation and validation). N/a (Refers only to TAE quals)

Transition of training products

Standard Comments
1.26. Subject to Clause 1.27 and unless otherwise approved by the VET Regulator, the RTO ensures that:
a) where a training product on its scope of registration is superseded, all learners’ training and assessment is completed and the relevant AQF certification documentation is issued or learners are transferred into its replacement, within a period of one year from the date the replacement training product was released on the National Register;
b) where an AQF qualification is no longer current and has not been superseded, all learners’ training and assessment is completed and the relevant AQF certification documentation issued within a period of two years from the date the AQF qualification was removed or deleted from the National Register;
c) where a skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course or module is no longer current and has not been superseded, all learners’ training and assessment is completed and the relevant AQF certification documentation issued within a period of one year from the date the skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course or module was removed or deleted from the National Register; and
d) a new learner does not commence training and assessment in a training product that has been removed or deleted from the National Register.
Compliance is tricky when a qualification is replaced with a new version.
It takes effect on the actual day of the change, so the timing of the change is critical. It means rapid changes in website and publicity documents.
Make sure that old quals are not advertised.
It is good practice to put in assessment materials the version number of the unit(s) it refers to, not just the unit code.
  • When new and old units are equivalent but the format is very different, the mapping can be all messed up.
  • When new and old units are not equivalent, the assessment material might need to be re-written.
 
The teachout period for endorsed quals is one year. If a qualification is offered over two years, and the qual is replaced during the first year, students cannot finish the qual they enrolled in. Options:
  • Equivalent units can be carried directly over.
  • If units are not equivalent, but the new unit is a subset of the old unit, students have met all requirements of the new unit.
  • Students might need to add units in the second year.
1.27. The requirements specified in Clause 1.26 (a) do not apply where a training package requires the delivery of a superseded unit of competency. No comment necessary.

Table 1.8-1: Principles of Assessment

Fairness

The individual learner’s needs are considered in the assessment process.

Where appropriate, reasonable adjustments are applied by the RTO to take into account the individual learner’s needs.

The RTO informs the learner about the assessment process, and provides the learner with the opportunity to challenge the result of the assessment and be reassessed if necessary.

Flexibility

Assessment is flexible to the individual learner by:

Validity

Any assessment decision of the RTO is justified, based on the evidence of performance of the individual learner.

Validity requires:

Reliability

Evidence presented for assessment is consistently interpreted and assessment results are comparable irrespective of the assessor conducting the assessment.

Validity

The assessor is assured that the learner has the skills, knowledge and attributes as described in the module or unit of competency and associated assessment requirements.

Sufficiency

The assessor is assured that the quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence enables a judgement to be made of a learner’s competency.

Authenticity

The assessor is assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the learner’s own work.

Currency

The assessor is assured that the assessment evidence demonstrates current competency. This requires the assessment evidence to be from the present or the very recent past.