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A quick guide on how to create competency-based assessment

January 27, 2021

The VET industry is essentially defined by the fact that it is competency-based – we all know learners follow units of competency with training packages and accredited courses, which sets VET apart from Australia’s other education sectors. However, delivering successful and compliant competency-based assessment can sometimes be a challenging process. Right now in VET, competency-based assessment is key for ensuring learners become work and industry-ready, often incorporating work-based learning for successful outcomes. Although there has been some debate about the effectiveness of competency-based assessment in terms of the extent of its focus for learning[1], competency-based training is likely to remain a core component of VET in the future.

If you’re a newbie to creating compliant and effective competency-based assessment, here’s a quick guide on how you can get started.

Assessment mapping & compliance

Assessment mapping can be an extremely valuable tool for developing and reviewing assessments, and for easily showing auditors evidence of compliance, or as ASQA defines it, demonstrating ‘the validity of...assessment tools’[2]. Mapping assessments to the units within the qualification is a sure-fire way of staying compliant. Mapping also allows assessors to easily see where learner knowledge gaps are after marking and grading.

Assessment Mapping

Conduct an industry consultation

Industry consultations with relevant industry representatives are highly beneficial to have in the development stage, to ensure the competency-based assessment is developed in line with current industry standards. This will help to ensure learners are equipped with the most up-to-date and relevant knowledge for the workplace. A good tip is to consult with a variety of stakeholders, as this will increase the quality and relevancy of the assessment to align with current methods, technologies, products and performance expectations.

Create an observation checklist

Assessors can support the learner by providing sufficient guidance, such as clear instructions that outline the tasks that prompt a learner to do something. A well-designed assessment will minimise this variation and any misunderstanding that could impact evidence collection. Observation checklists are a common method to help with collecting the right evidence from competency-based assessment. 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. Checklists will make sure ASQA sees that the assessment clearly states the levels of performance required to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Observation Checklist example by Velg Training[3]

Assessment decision-making rules

Assessment decision-making rules are key evidence criteria – this is what the assessment will ultimately be guided by. These rules not only determine whether competency has been achieved, but also ensure consistent outcomes and clarity for assessment judgements. This criteria will also inform your feedback to further support your students by identifying any areas of improvement for reflection and action.

Consider online assessment

Many RTOs have now transitioned to online or blended training since the COVID-19 pandemic, but if you’re still unsure about moving assessment online, be assured that there are many benefits to acquiring online training capabilities. For competency-based training, multiple and varied assessment methods will be required to capture enough valid, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to articulate this competency. With an online assessment platform, you’ll have access to tools such as:

  • a range of assessment modes
  • various question types
  • embedding images and video
  • automatic marking
  • instant feedback
  • capturing photo and video evidence, and
  • electronic signature authentication.

These tools will make meeting competency-based assessment compliance requirements a breeze for you, and more engaging and effective for your learners.

Use an SMS that is integrated with an LMS

We recommend using a Student Management System (SMS) that integrates seamlessly with a Learning Management System (LMS). This will make the process of creating competency based assessment a lot easier with features such as online assessment tools, an ASQA-compliant assessment mapping matrix, a selection of competency-based assessment methods, and a selection of grading methods. An LMS can capture all assessment evidence and store this against the student record.

As a trainer or assessor, having your finger on the pulse of your learners at all times is extremely convenient. 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.

Want to know more about how you can use Competency Based Assessment in aXcelerate for your training organisation? Learn more here.


  1. CBT in Australian VET, Uni of Melbourne
  2. Do I need to map learning resources to the assessment requirements of the units of competency for audit purposes?
  3. Designing assessment tools for quality outcomes in VETwww.velgtraining.com › knowledge › download (PDF)
  4. Competency based assessment essentials

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