We're hiring for a range of exciting new roles - if you'd like to join the team, click here to learn more



Stay in the loop

Never miss a beat with the latest in VET news delivered straight to your inbox.

How to implement the 4 Principles of Assessment in your RTO

May 14, 2021

Clause 1.8 in the Standards states the four principles of assessment are:

  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
  • Validity
  • Reliability

Let’s break them down. 


Firstly, your RTO needs to tell your learners about the assessment process, and provide the learner with the opportunity to challenge the result of the assessment and be reassessed if necessary.

If appropriate, your RTO should apply reasonable adjustments in the assessment process to take into account the individual learner’s needs. ‘Reasonable adjustments’ essentially means an RTO should enable learners with disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as learners without disability. 

This practice of inclusivity must be reasonable, meaning it should be based on the individual’s needs and abilities while being balanced with the interests of all parties affected (including the training provider, trainers and other learners). Some examples of reasonable adjustments include rest breaks, additional time, a sign language interpreter, and more


The Standards state assessment is flexible to the individual learner by:

  • reflecting the learner’s needs
  • assessing competencies held by the learner no matter how or where they have been acquired
  • drawing from a range of assessment methods and using those that are appropriate to the context, the unit of competency and associated assessment requirements, and the individual.


A valid assessment judgement is one that confirms a learner holds all of the knowledge and skills described in a training product.

Validity requires:

  • assessment against the unit/s of competency and the associated assessment requirements covers the broad range of skills and knowledge that are essential to competent performance
  • assessment of knowledge and skills is integrated with their practical application
  • assessment to be based on evidence that demonstrates that a learner could demonstrate these skills and knowledge in other similar situations
  • judgement of competence is based on evidence of learner performance that is aligned to the unit/s of competency and associated assessment requirements.

Sometimes when auditors (now assessors) complete assessment validation, they find many issues that were missed. Here is why we miss things that are easily found by auditors/assessors.


The principle of reliability means a training provider’s assessors should consistently interpret assessment evidence, and that no matter who is assessing, assessment results are comparable. 

Implementing the Principles of Assessment 

To implement these principles in your assessment process, your RTO needs an assessment tool. 

There are three main steps to developing an assessment tool: 

  1. Planning
  • What are the assessment requirements of the training package/accredited course?
  • What does feedback from industry identify? 
  • What assessment methods are most appropriate for your learners? Think about who your learner cohort are, who will collect the evidence and where the assessment will be conducted. Using a range of assessment types and question types can help to produce valid decisions and recognises that learners can demonstrate competence in various ways. 
  • In planning for assessment your RTO needs to consider how a learner will demonstrate the task, know what they need to do to complete the task and why, and demonstrate they have the ability to perform the tasks in different contexts and environments.
  1. Design and development: How does each component of an assessment tool come together? 
    Your RTO should consider:
  • Context and conditions of assessment
  • Task to be administered to the student
  • An outline of evidence to be gathered from the candidate
  • Evidence criteria used to judge the quality of performance
  • Administration, recording and reporting requirements
  1. Quality Checks: How to review a tool prior to implementation
  • Reviewing the tool with industry and other trainers and assessors can help with clarity, accuracy, relevance, appropriateness and more. 

Learn more about developing assessment tools here

Overall, developing a well thought out assessment tool is key for implementing the principles of assessment in your RTO’s assessment practices. (We might be biased, but using a good learning management system to create and manage your online assessments is a sure-fire way to succeed at staying compliant and delivering engaging assessment to your learners). 

To learn more about how aXcelerate’s award-winning Online Assessments can take your assessment to the next level, including authoring, mapping and assessing, take a look here

Learning Management System aXcelerate Online Assessments

Did you know?

aXcelerate is Australia’s number 1 cloud-based Student Management System and Learning Management System. Why pay for two systems when aXcelerate can be your all in one SMS AND LMS solution? 

From starting out as an RTO, to developing our software and continuing to grow through many changes in the VET sector over the past 30 years, we’ve helped almost 1000 training organisations thrive with aXcelerate’s One System SMS/LMS solution.

Learn how we can help your training organisation here, or request a demo to see how we can work with you to reach your training management goals here

Want to know more about assessment and compliance? Take a look at these articles:

Your 6 step guide to Training and Assessment Compliance

How to implement the Rules of Evidence in your RTO

Are Assessment Templates Sabotaging Your Compliance?

A quick guide on how to create competency-based assessment

Stay Compliant Without Complaint

3 Common Non-Compliances You Need to Know, Direct from Auditors

What are Learning Plans and how can they help your RTO?

LMS Essentials

Be the first to know when we post important insights on VET:eXpress by subscribing and following us on social media.

Get the latest VET news and insights

VET moves fast. Stay informed, with blogs straight to your inbox.

Enjoy this blog? Please share using the buttons below