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Your Competency Based Assessment Essentials

What is a competency based assessment?
And how do I create, manage, and deliver one?

Your Competency Based Assessment Essentials

What is competency based assessment?

A competency based assessment is a way to measure competency for a vocational skill. To prove their competency, the learner must demonstrate an ability to work through specific units of competency using the benchmarks provided by industry-defined standards.

The emphasis on competency-based training is on the learner’s ability to receive, respond to and process information whilst consistently applying their skills and knowledge. Therefore, the process of collecting evidence and making judgements drives the creation, delivery, and management of competency based assessment that aligns with the application.

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How to create competency based assessment

The assessment process is that the final step a learner takes to confirm that their skills and knowledge align with performing a specific task, and, are in fact competent. Your role, as an assessor, is to create assessment that allows the learner to demonstrate their competency in numerous scenarios and situations. Multiple and varied assessment methods will be required to capture enough valid, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to articulate this competency.
Competency based assessment should be developed in line with current industry standards––it is essential your students are equipped with the most up-to-date and relevant knowledge for the workplace. Therefore, it is extremely beneficial to conduct an industry consultation with industry representatives in the development stage. Industry consultation with a variety of stakeholders is highly recommended as it will increase the quality and relevancy of your assessment to align with current methods, technologies, products and performance expectations.

A student management system (SMS) that integrates seamlessly with a learning management system (LMS) will make the process of creating competency based assessment a lot easier.

If your SMS and/or LMS have the following features, then you’re on the right track:

  • A “create online assessment” tool or “assessment authoring software” that allows you to create an assessment, and deliver it online
  • An assessment mapping matrix that allows you to map ASQA’s training components to assessments (with an assessment mapping tool, you don’t need a competency assessment checklist)
  • A selection of competency based assessment methods, including observation checklists, online quizzes, short answers, marking criteria or RPL evidence
  • A selection of grading methods, ranging from numerical scoring, custom grading scales, percentages, and customisable marking rubrics
competency based assessment creation and mapping

How to deliver competency based assessment

The delivery of competency based assessment is all about collecting the right evidence. Supporting the learner throughout this process by providing sufficient guidance is essential in leading their pathway to competency. Clear instructions should be provided that outline the task(s) that prompt a learner to say, do, write, or create something. A well-designed assessment will minimise this variation and minimise any misunderstanding that could impact evidence collection.

Whether this evidence is submitted by the learner or observed by the assessor, the outline of the evidence needs to clarify what the assessor should be looking for. An ‘observation checklist’ is a common method to aid in evidence collection.

Ultimately, the delivery of a competency based assessment will be guided by key evidence criteria, also known as the ‘assessment decision-making rules’. These rules not only determine whether competency has been achieved but to ensure consistent outcomes and clarity for assessment judgements. This criteria will also inform your feedback––clear, articulated feedback helps further support your students by identifying any areas of improvement for reflection and action.

Many training organisations are utilising online assessment throughout the delivery of their competency based assessment to respond to increased distance-learning options. However, creating engaging content that is delivered and assessed in a variety of ways to support different learning styles can be very challenging.

Translating the traditional classroom-based training to an online environment will require sufficient software and technology to assist this, with clear requirements in place for assessment conditions.

To provide the best online assessments for students, you’ll need to

  • Give them easy access to their assessments, whether on a desktop computer, laptop, iPad or mobile (iOS or Android through an assess app)
  • Ensure the design is easy to use so that it doesn’t get in the way of the assessment itself
  • Give your students access to their results and feedback and allow them to review their course progress
  • Allow students to upload evidence for RPL assessments
competency based assessment delivery via online quiz

How to manage competency based assessment

You could have the most comprehensive plan set in place for your assessment but without the right technology to help manage and facilitate this, your plan could easily fall apart. Technology that enables easy, intuitive management will ensure that the journey towards competence is a positive one––for both the assessor and the learner.

Once your assessment is delivered, the storage and management of any captured evidence is crucial. Securely storing and monitoring all completed assessment items ensures your evidence collection and judgement of competence can be revisited if necessary. Where possible you should retain the completed evidence criteria as well as the actual piece(s) of work completed by the learner.

A learning management system (LMS) that captures all assessment evidence and stores this against the student record should be utilised.

As a trainer or assessor, having your finger on the pulse of your learners at all times is extremely convenient. As an example, you can track attendance and progression, mark assessment in bulk, capture and record evidence, and provide feedback when required.

By capturing and uploading all documentation or photo and video evidence in one system, both the assessor and the learner have access to the most current submissions so outcomes, feedback and authentication can be conducted effortlessly.

To effectively manage competency based assessment, investing in the correct system should allow your trainers and assessors to:

  • View their calendar schedule, and drill into events for more info
  • Conduct and mark assessments with ease, including bulk marking
  • Use a feature that works as student assessment tracking software, showing all students for a course, and their progress
  • Check course notes, get directions to course locations
  • Capture student attendances
  • Apply their electronic signature to authenticate the assessment
  • Capture photo and video evidence, and upload against specific assessment criteria
competency based assessment management and marking


If you are still trying to gather as much information as possible on competency based assessments and how they relate to your training organisation, we have got you covered.

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