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Are Assessment Templates Sabotaging Your Compliance?

January 14, 2020

Anni Yaringa, Vocational Educator
14th Jan 2020 — 2 min read

Many RTOs assume that templates are a panacea for VET assessment compliance, and are baffled when an auditor tells them otherwise. After all, their assessment templates have been developed by internal experts, or purchased from reputable consultants, so they must be compliant! Assessment templates are a great way to create consistent documentation, but if they’re filled in with rubbish, all the template does is make the rubbish look pretty.

I’ve seen hundreds of assessment templates over the years, and no two are alike. And yet, in every case the designer expects them to solve their RTO compliance problems, with frustration ensuing. RTO executives assume that once their teachers and trainers have filled in a suite of assessment templates, they have a fool-proof benchmark of assessment—an impeccable example of compliance that’ll wow auditors.

Unfortunately, the principles of assessment are harder to pin down. What they’re lacking is a proper assessment design process, which can be summarised as follows:

  1. Understand the unit of competence, the context of assessment and the characteristics of the intended cohort. 
  2. Identify the type of evidence required, and develop the assessment criteria, being sure to add clear instructions for the assessor and candidate. 
  3. Once you’re confident that you’ve satisfied the assessment criteria, and covered the rules of evidence in your assessment, complete one final review, and then add your work to an assessment template.

The internet is overflowing with memes on the subject of “garbage in, garbage out,” which apply to many RTOs usage of assessment templates. They cannot be a starting point for the development of assessment tools. Their value is realised during the final stages of an effective assessment design process, when your content is already compliant.

If you’re lacking a tried and tested assessment design process, consultants can help. To find the right consultant, you’ll need to know how many assessments they’ve developed, and for which training packages and AQF levels. Some consultants may have years of assessment design experience, but a limited scope for course areas or AQF levels. Their assessment design process must be versatile enough to work for a range of your training products, covering the required dimensions of competency. 

It’s critical to understand that assessment templates are not a foolproof solution for assessment compliance. They're a small part of a wider assessment design process, and an even wider training and assessment strategy (TAS). Once this is realised, you can get to work on a design process that’ll benefit your RTO in the long-run, using it to produce compliant assessment tools. It can even be enhanced further by incorporating accessibility, branding LLN, cultural sensitivity, and other important aspects, ending up as a sturdy assessment tool that’ll get ASQA on your side, and help to create valuable training services for your students.

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