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Assessment validation for your RTO

June 16, 2021

The assessment validation process ensures an RTO’s assessment system can consistently produce valid assessment judgements, so that learners are assessed against all tasks identified in a unit of competency and the evidence outlined in the associated assessment requirements. This usually happens after assessment is complete so that the training organisation can consider the validity of both assessment practices and judgements.

Assessment validation is highly important for RTOs to complete, but many get it wrong and are surprised when auditing assessors come in and find a mountain of issues.

What are the assessment validation responsibilities of an RTO?

RTOs need to check that their assessment tools have produced valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence. By reviewing this evidence on statistically valid samples of the assessments to make reasonable validation judgements, the RTO can then make recommendations for future improvements to the assessment tool, process and outcomes.

What does a validation team within an RTO need to consider?

As a part of validation, your RTO must have a documented plan which describes:

1. Who will lead and participate in the validation activities – this can be one person or a team, external or employees of the RTO, collectively holding: 

  • vocational competencies and current industry skills relevant to the assessment being validated
  • current knowledge and skills in vocational teaching and learning, and
  • the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (or its successor) or the TAESS00001 Assessor Skills Set (or its successor)

2. Which training products will be the focus of the validation

3. When assessment validation will occur

  • An RTO's validation schedule is a five year plan, meaning each training product needs to be reviewed at least once in that five year period, with at least half of the training products needing to be reviewed in the first three years of the schedule. 

4. How the outcomes of those activities will be documented and acted upon 

  • make sure you have a template to guide staff in what they need to look for when validating assessments and to record the outcomes
  • RTOs also need to ensure they are validating a statistically valid sample, which is a sample that is large enough that the validation outcomes of the sample can be applied to the entire set of judgements, and is taken randomly from the set of assessment judgements being considered. Find ASQA’s validation sample size calculator here.

The validation team also needs to focus on whether the principles of assessment (fairness, flexibility, reliability and validity) are adhered to. 

RTOs must have a records management process to retain evidence of the validation. RTOs should retain evidence of:

  • the person/people leading and participating in the validation activities (including their qualifications, skills and knowledge)
  • the sample pool
  • the validation tools used
  • all assessment samples considered, and
  • the validation outcomes.

RTOs with a student management system integrated with a learning management system will find the scheduling and management of the validation process, and retention of evidence, easier and more streamlined.

How to systematically monitor assessment practice

RTOs should develop a planned and ongoing process to systematically evaluate and improve assessment. 

According to the Department of Training and Workforce Development WA[1], systematic approaches that support improvement include:

  • planning where data will be collected from, how it will be collected, the form it will take, how often it will be collected, and how it will be collated, analysed and used
  • ensuring that data collection and analysis confirm good practice and show where improvements need to be made
  • making improvements where analysis demonstrates that they are needed
  • regularly reviewing data collection to assess its usefulness for improving products and services
  • giving feedback to those who have contributed to the data.

Risk indicators

An RTO might choose to validate its training products more often, for example, if risk indicators demonstrate that more frequent validation is required. Indicators of risk might include:

  • the use of new assessment tools
  • delivery of training products where safety is a concern
  • the level and experience of the assessor, or
  • changes in technology, workplace processes, legislation, and licensing requirements.

Implementing recommendations

If the validation outcomes recommend improvements to the assessment tool, these recommendations should be implemented across all training products, not only those included in the sample. If changes are made to the assessment tool, quality checks need to be completed and the revised tool should be reviewed prior to implementation.

What happens when positive changes from the validation process are implemented?

Your learners will want to leave glowing reviews about their student experience. This is because learners will be clear about what is expected of them, they will better engage with the assessment because they can see how it relates to the world of work, and learner outcomes will be maximised[1].   

To read about assessment validation in more detail, read ASQA’s information here.

Want more info? Check out this great video on tips for validation from Lauren Hollows.


  1. Assessment in the VET sector
  2. Your 6 step guide to Training and Assessment Compliance

If your RTO is ready to take your business success to the next level – and elevate assessments, compliance and the student experience – learn how aXcelerate's One System solution can help you here.

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Want to know more about assessment and compliance? Check out these articles:

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