At Charter Australia we recognise that assessment is a core service offered to our students and is at the centre of our operation as a Registered Training Organisation. Quality assessment ensures that the skills and knowledge of students are assessed using four principal determinants:
- That assessment decisions are based on the assessment of skills and knowledge compared with units of competence drawn from industry Training Packages or State accredited courses.
- That the target industry or enterprise requirements are contextualised and integrated within the assessment.
- That evidence is gathered that meets the rules of evidence.
- That assessment is conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment.
Principles of assessment
In the delivery of assessment services, Charter Australia applies the principles of assessment. Assessment strategies have been designed to ensure:
- We conduct assessment against the broad range of skills and knowledge identified within each unit of competence and which is integrated with their practical application.
- We seek to gather and interpret evidence in a consistent manner that provides for reliable assessment both for the student and for assessors. We achieve this by using assessors who have the required competencies in assessment and the relevant vocational competencies. Our assessment resources also provide for standardised outcomes supported by model answers to guide assessors in their judgements. Reliability is also supported by the moderation of assessment judgements across our assessors.
- We strive to provide assessment opportunities that reflect a student’s needs. Our chosen assessment strategies provide for recognition of a student’s current competence, employ a range of methods appropriate to the context of the industry, the competency and the student.
- Our assessment approach encourages fairness in assessment through consideration of the student’s needs and characteristics and through making reasonable adjustments when it is required. Assessors achieve this through clear communication with a student to ensure that the student is fully informed about, understands and is able to participate in, the assessment process, and agrees that the process is appropriate.
Benchmarks for assessment
Charter Australia uses units of competence drawn from nationally endorsed industry Training Packages as our primary benchmark for assessment. Supporting this are industry standards or codes of practice. These and other industry specific publications inform the context and standard of performance during assessment.
In order to identify the precise assessment criteria, we apply a methodology of unpacking a unit of competence in order to assess the full scope of the unit including elements of competence and performance criteria, incorporating range statement information and the specific requirements of the evidence guide. This process ensures that our assessment strategies accurately reflect the requirements of the relevant training package.
Engagement with industry
Charter Australia is well placed to leverage off current industry associations to incorporate industry requirements into the assessment process. Consultation with enterprises or industry will provide information about assessment requirements relevant to workplaces. Regulatory requirements that relate to specific units of competence will be incorporated to ensure our students are well prepared for their workplace duties. Further information on industry engagement can be found in the Industry Engagement Policy and Industry Engagement Tools sections earlier in this manual.
Collecting evidence that counts – the rules of evidence
In collecting evidence, Charter Australia applies the rules of evidence to inform the assessment strategy. Assessment strategies have been designed to ensure:
- We prioritise the collection of enough appropriate evidence to ensure that all aspects of competency have been satisfied and that competency can be demonstrated repeatedly.
- We collect evidence that is specified in the benchmarks for assessment. Charter Australia places significant emphasis on direct evidence that is gathered in a workplace through observation and compilation of a portfolio of work outcomes. Where this is impractical due to geographic distance, other forms of evidence are used such as industry evidence and detailed assessment of underpinning knowledge.
- We seek evidence that is authentic. To support this, assessors must be assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the student’s own work. Where documentary evidence is relied on it must be certified or supported by two other forms of evidence which demonstrate the same skill or knowledge (triangulation). In all instances, where work is submitted external to Charter Australia (i.e.; electronically, distance assignments, online) this is to include a signed statement by the student that they certify the work as their own.
- We must be satisfied that the student currently holds the skills and knowledge relating to a particular assessment. This will mostly relate to recognition applications where a student has been in the workplace for many years and is seeking recognition of skills and knowledge obtained through workplace experience or previous training. We will apply assessment strategies which satisfy currency through the gathering of direct evidence in the workplace.
Charter Australia recognises the importance of establishing the right context for students during their assessment. Assessment context refers to the physical and non-physical environment in which skills and knowledge are assessed. This may be a workplace such as an office setting. The non-physical environment refers to things such as workplace policy and procedure, workplace tempo and culture.
It is our responsibility to ensure that students are provided with the right context to undertake their assessment activities. To achieve this, we will apply the following strategies:
- Incorporation of the student’s own workplace policies and procedures into the assessment scenario or activity.
- Conduct of the assessment by using the student’s workplace project and tasks.
- Integration of relevant industry codes of practice and other industry information into the assessment activity.
- Incorporation of industry job descriptions for students to align with during realistic simulated workplace scenarios and case studies.
- Incorporation of certification from professional bodies which applies to some qualifications.
- Tailoring the program outcomes to meet the organisational training needs of the enterprise without compromising the Training Package requirements.
- Creating assessment activities which require the student to conduct specific research relating to industry situations and occurrences.
- Provide a realistic simulated workplace when necessary.
Recognition of prior learning
Charter Australia will provide all students the opportunity to seek recognition of their prior learning. Recognition is viewed simply as another method of assessment and therefore is conducted in accordance with this policy. Further information can be found in Recognition Policy & Procedures under Training & Assessment.
Charter Australia will recognise and award credit for students presenting with current competence. Where a student is seeking credit for a unit of competence that is on our scope of registration and the student can provide satisfactory evidence that the unit has been previously awarded to the student, credit will be awarded. Further information can be found in Credit Transfer Policy & Procedures under Administration.
Competence of assessors
In accordance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, assessors are required to hold the minimum competencies for assessment as outlined by the National Quality Council and the vocational competencies at least to the level being assessed. Charter Australia has appropriate systems in place to ensure that all staff members are appropriately qualified to meet our requirement under the Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations. Further information can be found in Staff Qualification Policy under Staff Management.
Assessment validation is the process where assessors compare and evaluate their assessment methods, assessment procedures and assessment decisions. Charter Australia will facilitate regular assessment validation opportunities to maintain a quality assessment and to continuously improve assessment strategies. Further information can be found in Assessment Validation & Moderation Policy & Methods under Continuous Improvement.
Assessment tools are the media (electronic or hard copy) used to gather evidence about a student’s competence. We have developed assessment tools which support the assessment of applicable units of competence in accordance with the requirements of industry Training Packages. It is important for Charter Australia staff members to acknowledge that these are generic tools which provide us with a starting point for the development of other supporting tools which will reflect the needs of our clients or target industry group. Charter Australia staff members must be satisfied that tools developed for assessment fit with the requirements of the target industry and enterprise requirements. Some units of competence are associated with licensing requirements and whilst this is not always stipulated in the unit of competence, we will need to be informed of the additional requirements this imposes during assessment.
The following are examples of assessment tools which may be incorporated into an assessment strategy to meet the Training Package and industry requirements, the rules of evidence and the principles of assessment:
- Portfolios of evidence by using Assessment Record Book;
- Project tasks;
- Case studies
- Written questionnaires;
- Direct observation checklist;
- Simulation exercises or role-plays;
- Project outlines and explanation sheets;
- Verbal questionnaires;
- Workplace samples/products; and
- Industry/workplace evidence reports.
This list of assessment tools identifies only a small number of assessment tools which are in use in the VET sector today. These are however the more common tools and support holistic assessment methods favoured by Charter Australia.
Assessment information is the information provided to both students and assessors to guide their conduct of the assessment and the completion of assessment activities. This information is used to draw out a response from a student.
Examples of assessment information include:
- Instructions to set the framework for the assessment activities such as who, what, where, when and how.
- The expected outcomes refer to the ‘what’ and it is critical that from reading the assessment information, the required (expected) outcome is straight forward and in line with the student’s preparation during learning or through other competency development pathways.
- Scenario information includes information that sets the context for a simulated assessment activity. This may be a simple case study or a deep scenario which requires analysis and interpretation. It is important to note that the higher the AQF qualification level, the greater the requirement to analyse and apply cognitive skills to produce workplace outcomes. Scenario information used to support assessment at a Diploma level, for example, should be relatively deep and complex to allow the student to exercise their analytical skills and produce viable workplace products and outcomes.
At Charter Australia our assessment activities are to be supported by clear assessment information that will ensure a reliable assessment across our operation. Ultimately, the quality of assessment outcomes produced by a student will be directly affected by the quality of the information provided at the commencement of the activity. Charter Australia staff are to prepare suitable assessment information for all assessment activities and are to gain approval from the Charter Australia Chief Executive Officer for the use of assessment resources.
Collecting industry evidence
At Charter Australia we place a high value on the assessment evidence that is gathered by supervisors or employers in the workplace. This evidence is usually very current and valid and contributes to the assessment decisions made by a qualified assessor. We do not however advocate the use of industry evidence (also referred to as third party evidence) as a substitute for the gathering of direct evidence by an assessor. In all areas of our operation, industry evidence is only to be used to complement and support the evidence being gathered by an assessor.
In addition to this, during the development of assessment tools, assessors are to ensure that the observation criteria used within industry evidence reports is wholly task orientated. These observation criteria should reflect the tasks that the supervisor would issue to an employee and monitor during normal workplace duties. The industry evidence report is not to contain assessment criteria drawn from an industry Training Package as these assessment criteria are suitable only for trained and qualified assessors.
There are two outcomes of assessments: S = Satisfactory and NS = Not Satisfactory (requires more training and experience). Students will be awarded C = Competent on completion of the unit when the assessor is satisfied that the student has completed all assessments and has provided the appropriate evidence required to meet all criteria. If the student fails to meet this requirement he will receive the result NC = Not Competent and will be eligible to be re-assessed.
It is inevitable that some students will not meet the requirements of the assessment evidence and will be judged as not-competent. At Charter Australia, our approach to these situations is the work with the student in order to address deficiencies and to build their skill and knowledge in preparation for additional assessment. This will be undertaken within the scheduled training plan or may be completed under alternative arrangements agreed between the student and the assessor.
In some rare circumstances, students may find it difficult to develop the necessary skills and knowledge within the constraints of the scheduled training plan. When this occurs, arrangements may be agreed to that allows the student to undertake additional learning in their own time and return for additional assessment at a time suitable time for Charter Australia. This may be during a period of reduced training activity or at a time when planned assessments are occurring and it is convenient to facilitate the additional assessment of the student. As a general guide, assessors are to make alternative arrangements to provide opportunities for assessment within the constraints of available time and resources. In all circumstances, the assessment is to be a planned activity that is conducted in accordance with the assessment procedures in the following section.
In some cases, after alternative arrangements have been exhausted, it will be suitable to find a student as not-competent and record this result with their statement of attainment.
Students will be allowed two (2) further attempts at an assessment for which the outcome is Not Satisfactory, within the timeframe of due date of the assessment. No additional fees will be charged.
Students who require re-assessment beyond the delivery timeframe of due date of an assessment, unless it is due to medical reasons, will be given the opportunity to request an additional 14 days to resubmit and in this time they can request a mentoring session if required. After that they will be charged a re-assessment fee.
Should a student require further time for medical reasons, he or she must request it in writing to their trainer - assessor.
Students should be aware that any extension may mean that they are at danger of not completing their course within the timeframe or of not making satisfactory course progress. Student should speak to their trainer-assessor or the Student Support Officer if they are not able to complete assessments on time.
Any students who have special needs will be allowed reasonable adjustment in line with the RTO policies.
Following completion of each assessment, assessors are to fill out the appropriate Marking Guide and/or Record Sheet; provide a copy to the student with feedback; and ask student to sign it.
Once the unit of competency has been completed, student results are to be updated in the Student Portal.
Students are required to submit all assessment documents electronically via the Student Portal. Assessors must ensure the completeness of assessment documents including record sheet and feedback are stored in the Student Record Management System after the assessment is completed.