We’ve already talked about assessment validation and why RTOs do it in another post. Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty and talk about how to validate assessment tools.
Pre-assessment validation vs Post-assessment validation
Validation addresses two key requirements of Clause 1.8 the Standards:
• compliance to the Principles of Assessment and the Rules of Evidence.
• compliance to assessment requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited course;
To properly address these requirements, assessment validation is split into two processes.
As you can see in the figure above, the first half of the requirements can be addressed through pre-assessment validation. The second half can be addressed through post-assessment validation.
To check if your assessments meet the first half of Clause 1.8’s requirements, check if your assessment tools for a given training package meet its unit of competency and assessment requirements. You need to do this before you use the assessment tools for actual assessments, hence, “pre-assessment validation”. Because this process focuses on assessment tools, it can also be called “assessment tool validation”.
On the other hand, you can only check if your assessment methods follow the Principles of Assessment and the Rules of Evidence after you have conducted assessments. Hence, “post-assessment validation”.
Click here to read more about post-assessment validation.
For now, let’s focus on how to do pre-assessment validation.
STEP 1: Gather all resources to be validated
What resources do you validate?
Before we can check the reliability and validity of assessment tools, we must first know what tools to validate. These are usually made up of the following:
Check the student workbook for its suitability as an assessment tool. If multiple versions of the workbook exist, check the one that your students are currently using.
The marking guide must have proper benchmarks for all assessment items. It must also give additional instructions to assessors whenever necessary.
The mapping document shows which assessment items address which unit requirements. These items should be in either the student workbook, the marking guide, or a separate assessment resource.
Other assessment resources (if any)
Additional resources, like reading materials, checklists, registers, etc., may be required to complete the assessment. Validate them to make sure they are appropriate for the assessment and sufficient.
STEP 2: Check each resource for compliance
Assessment requirements of a training package or VET accredited course
The National Register of VET divides a unit of competency’s details into the following categories:
It’s not enough for your assessment tool to only address a unit’s performance criteria, or for it to test a student’s knowledge. A good assessment tool must be able to meet all these requirements. Your validator must look at each assessment item to see if they can collectively draw evidence of the required knowledge and skills from a student.
Note that, in the illustration above, Foundation Skills may also be embedded in a unit’s Performance Criteria. This is, however, not always the case. Even if it is, ASQA still checks the Foundation Skills separately from the Performance Criteria. You need to make sure that your assessment tool can meet both requirements separately.
Click here to read about the common problems encountered in assessment tools.
STEP 3: Reporting
Evidence that validation took place
After you have finished validating, summarise your findings into a report. This report can include details related to:
• the compliance of the assessment tools to unit requirements
• the effectiveness of the assessment’s instructions and benchmarks
• the compliance of the assessment tools to the Standards for RTOs 2015.
This report will serve as evidence that you have validated a set of assessment tools.
More importantly, it can serve as evidence that you have a process for systematically validating your assessment resources for each training product that your RTO delivers. Aside from your findings, your validation report must also include the following information:
• the training product being validated
• the profile of the validator(s), including relevant qualifications
• your RTO’s process for assessment validation
• a reference to your RTO’s validation schedule
• how the outcome of the validation will be documented.
Note that the lead validator assigned to validate an assessment must not be (or have been) involved in its delivery.
Note that Clause 1.10 of the Standards requires each training product to be validated at least once every five years. In addition, you must finish validating half of all your training products by the third year of every five year cycle.
When this five year cycle begins will depend on two things:
• your date of registration; and
• your date of application.
If your RTO has only been recently registered, or if you’re just about to file your application, then the five year cycle begins on your date of registration.
However, if your RTO was registered before 1 January 2015, or if you filed its application before 1 January 2015, then the cycle begins on 1 April 2015.
You can refer to this quick guide if you’re not sure when your validation schedule begins.
ASQA regularly audits RTOs to make sure they comply with the Standards. This is why you need to produce up-to-date evidence of compliance. Validation reports not only provide evidence that the RTO’s assessment tools have been validated. They also provide evidence that you comply with all of the Standards’ validation requirements.
We hope this guide helped you in learning about the assessment validation process.
For enquiries regarding 360RTO’s validation services, please contact us through:
1300 931 604 or firstname.lastname@example.org