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AIM Policy: Assessment
The purpose of this policy is to provide AIM students and staff clear information about AIM’s position and obligations in relation to assessment, including validation and moderation. The policy provides information to students about their obligations when undertaking assessments leading to the award of a nationally recognised qualification or statement of attainment.
The policy applies to prospective AIM students and AIM students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses with AIM. The policy refers to assessment activities conducted by AIM staff including contractors providing services on behalf of AIM.
- AIM complies with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 including the clauses related to implementing, monitoring and evaluating training and assessment strategies and practices (clauses 1.1 to 1.4 and 2.2) and conducting effective assessment (clauses 1.8 to 1.12).
- AIM complies with all relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to its operations.
- AIM is committed to and guided by principles of access, equity, fairness and ethical behaviour
- As a Registered Training Organisation AIM is committed to operating within a competency-based training system which encompasses competency-based assessment in compliance with the Standards.
- Assessment at AIM is conducted in accordance with the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) Framework and meets national standards as articulated in relevant training packages.
- Assessment tasks will be designed to ensure a positive student experience and will be developed to be clear and consistent. The assessment and the criteria against which assessment decisions are made available to students.
- Assessors at AIM are expected to provide constructive feedback to students to: (1) confirm satisfactory performance; (2) improve otherwise satisfactory performance; (3) help achieve satisfactory performance where the required standard has not been met.
- Assessment at AIM will be aligned to the course’s vocational outcomes. Assessments allow students to provide evidence of their competency in a way that is relevant to their current work and career aspirations, and meet the standards of performance required by the workplace.
- AIM is committed to ensuring:
- Assessment procedures for assessment are explicit, sufficient, valid and reliable
- assessment tasks reflect the learning outcomes as stated in the unit outline and unit of competency
- students are made aware of assessment requirements when they are given access to their course materials upon enrolment
- internal moderation should occur across qualifications at the level of individual unit assessment tasks
- Transparent and fair mechanisms for marking and moderating assessments
- Validation and moderation processes are evaluated informally and formally.
The assessment strategy is a critically important and defines how evidence will be gathered from students and demonstrate how the assessment will meet the requirements of Training Packages, the rules of evidence and be conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment.
Best practice assessment applied by AIM:
- Evidence is gathered over time involving a number of assessments rather than on one assessment occasion.
- Evidence is gathered using a range of assessment methods to allow for differences in candidate performance.
- Evidence is gathered in the holistic performance of workplace tasks not on isolated performance which does not realistically reflect the way tasks are performed in the workplace.
- Evidence is gathered based on the candidate’s own performance in a real or a simulated workplace.
In developing the content for the assessment strategy, AIM course developers consider:
- Assessment Method. At the beginning of the assessment strategy, the strategy should identify the assessment methods selected to gather evidence from the candidate. The choice of assessment methods will be informed by a range of factors including the evidence guide requirements in the unit of competency, the assessment guidelines in the applicable Training Package and importantly the scope and nature of the skills and knowledge being applied. Assessment methods may include:
- Direct observation of workplace tasks being performed;
- Structured activities that will lead to the demonstration of workplace tasks;
- Questioning of required knowledge (verbal and/or written);
- Development of a portfolio of evidence which may include workplace products, samples of work, statements by supervisors;
- Review of products workplace products, samples of work; and
- Workplace feedback (industry evidence).
- Assessment Mapping. An assessment map is a useful piece of information to include, as it provides a point of reference to all involved as to what evidence is to be collected to meet the requirements of each unit of competency. Assessment mapping will indicate the relevance of the assessment activities to the components within the applicable unit of competency. This information should provide a holistic picture of the evidence gathering which is occurring across the entire training program. In doing this, it will expose opportunities where assessment activities may be combined or clustered to create efficiencies in the assessment process. It will also demonstrate how holistic assessment may be possible to allow the assessment of multiple units of competency in one assessment event.
- Environment. In this section, the environment in which assessment will be conducted should be identified. The environment includes the physical surrounds where an assessment occurs. This may include the actual or simulated workplace. The environment may also refer to the tempo of activity such as a busy call centre or reception desk. Most Training Packages require that the assessment environment is either a simulated workplace or the workplace. Both options will carry special requirements for assessment such as the facilities and role play scenarios in a simulated environment and special arrangements to support workplace assessment.
- Process. The process for assessment is simply the steps the assessor takes when gathering evidence of a learner’s competence. Typically, this is outlined in the assessment guide within the Training Package and should be unpacked here to provide clear guidance to assessors on AIM’s expectation of the assessment process and to showcase to external stakeholders the process AIM applies. It is important to note that whilst AIM may have a set process for gathering evidence, the process does need to be negotiated with each candidate to ensure it reflects the individual needs of each person. The timing of assessment is determined by the assessor in consultation with the candidate. Assessment may begin after learning or may be timed to occur during a learning pathway. In some cases, there is no learning and the assessor and candidate will move directly to assessment. An example of this is recognition of prior learning. A typical assessment process will include:
Step 1: Prepare for assessment;
Step 2: Prepare the candidate;
Step 3: Plan and prepare the evidence-gathering process;
Step 4: Collect the evidence and make the assessment decision;
Step 5: Provide feedback on the assessment;
Step 6: Record and report the result;
Step 7: Review the assessment process;
Step 8: When required, participate in the reassessment and appeals process.
- Resources. The resources section should outline the physical resources identified to deliver assessment. Key sources of information which will guide the identification of resources are the evidence guide, as included within each unit of competency, and the scope and nature of the tasks being performed. Typical resources include:
- Workplace location or simulated workplace;
- Materials relevant to a fully functioning workplace;
- Equipment and tooling appropriate to a functioning workplace;
- Specifications, work instructions and workplace sources of information;
- Workplace specific resources;
- Qualified assessor with the relevant vocational and training and assessment competence;
- Appropriate evidence gathering tools, exercises and instructions; and
- A suitable environment to support candidate performance.
- Validation. The validation of assessment practices is a critically important process which must be closely managed by AIM. The validation process ensures that assessment strategies, resources and tools are continuously improved and meeting the needs of industry. Further information on validation is provided later in this section. Validation methods may include:
- Field testing of assessment strategies, resources and tools;
- Learner and employer satisfaction survey;
- Internal audit of assessment strategies; and
- Moderation meetings and forums between assessors to promote consistent judgements and interpretation of evidence.
- RPL. This section should outline the arrangements AIM has in place to assess RPL applications. This includes processes of lodgement through to decision and may outline the tools and resources to be used to assess RPL.
- Reasonable adjustment. This section should outline the relationship of reasonable adjustments to the assessment process. Reasonable adjustment may take into account the following:
- Learner’s language, literacy, numeracy requirements;
- Provision of personal support services, for example, reader, interpreter, scribe, support person;
- Use of adaptive technology or special equipment;
- Flexible assessment sessions to allow for fatigue or administering of medication;
- Adjustment of assessment materials, for example, in Braille, first language, use of audiotape/videotape;
- Adjustments to the physical environment or venue;
- Considerations relating to age and gender; and
- Considerations relating to cultural beliefs, traditional practices and religious observances.
- Assessors. Like the training strategy, the assessment strategy should clearly identify (by name) the assessors who will be conducting the assessments. This should also include a statement about their vocational qualifications and experience applicable to the skills and knowledge being assessed and their competence to conduct assessment in accordance with the Standards. If a team or partnership arrangement is to be used which allows the pooling together of suitable persons to conduct the assessment, this should be clearly explained to inform the reader of what skills and knowledge (competence) each member of the team brings to the assessment.
AIM is committed to delivering training programs that build industry capacity. It is important to demonstrate that AIM’s strategy has been developed in direct consultation with employers. This not only supports AIM’s strategy to deliver workplace relevant skills and knowledge, but is also important to capture a record of the consultation we have conducted for compliance purposes. This section of the strategy will be updated continuously as industry engagement occurs and informs the ongoing development of training.
The following information is identified for inclusion to demonstrate AIM’s industry consultation:
- Industry needs
- Staff involvement with industry
- Visits to industry sites
- Industry representatives on RTO governing bodies
- Industry validation of resources
- Complaints received from industry.
Assessment at the centre of AIM’s operations as a RTO. Quality assessment ensures that the skills and knowledge of candidates are assessed using four principal determinants:
- Assessment decisions are based on the assessment of skills and knowledge compared with units of competency drawn from nationally endorsed Training Packages or accredited courses.
- The target industry or enterprise requirements are contextualised and integrated within the assessment.
- Evidence is gathered that meets the rules of evidence.
- Assessment is conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment.
Assessing units of competency
AIM uses units of competency from nationally endorsed Training Packages as the benchmark for assessment. These may be supported by relevant industry standards or codes of practice.
To identify the precise assessment criteria, a methodology of unpacking a unit of competency in order to assess the full scope of the unit is applied. This process ensures that assessment strategies accurately reflect the requirements of the relevant training package and are valid. To ensure alignment with all components of a unit of competency, unit mapping is undertaken during the design and development of assessment (and when carrying out assessment validation). Unit mapping shows the relationship between the planned assessment activities and each component of the unit.
Assessment context refers to the physical and non-physical environment in which skills and knowledge are assessed. This may be a workplace such as an office setting or a manufacturing workshop. The non-physical environment refers to things such as workplace policy and procedure, workplace tempo and culture. Many units of competency may be applied in any workplace such as skills and knowledge relating to workplace safety or leadership. AIM ensures that candidates are provided with the right context to undertake their assessment activities. To achieve this, the following strategies are applied:
- Incorporation of the candidate’s own workplace policies and procedures into the assessment scenario or activity
- Conduct of the assessment in the candidate’s workplace performing real workplace tasks where possible.
- Integration of relevant industry codes of practice and other industry information into the assessment activities
- Incorporation of industry job descriptions for learners to align with during realistic simulated workplace scenarios and case studies
- Incorporation of regulatory information relating to licensing which applies to the unit of competency
- Tailoring the program outcomes to meet the organisational training needs of the enterprise without compromising the Training Package requirements
- Creating assessment activities which require the learner to conduct specific research relating to industry situations and occurrences where applicable
- Provide a realistic simulated workplace within AIM facilities
Principles of assessment
In the delivery of assessment services, AIM applies the principles of assessment. Assessment strategies have been designed to ensure:
- Validity. We conduct assessment against the broad range of skills and knowledge identified within each unit of competency and which is integrated with the performance of workplace tasks. We ensure that the assessment is transferable to different context and situations and all components of the unit of competency are being assessed.
- Reliability. We seek to gather and interpret evidence in a consistent manner that provides for reliable assessment both for the candidate and for assessors. We achieve this by using assessors who have the required competencies in assessment and the relevant vocational competencies. Our assessment resources also provide for standardised outcomes supported by model answers to guide assessors in their judgements. Reliability is also supported by the moderation of assessment judgements across our assessors.
- Flexibility. We strive to provide assessment opportunities that reflect a candidate’s needs. Our chosen assessment strategies provide for recognition of a candidate’s current competency, employ a range of methods appropriate to the context of the industry, the unit of competency and the candidate themselves.
- Fairness. Our assessment approach encourages fairness in assessment through consideration of the candidate’s needs and characteristics and through making reasonable adjustments when it is required. Assessors achieve this through clear communication with a candidate to ensure that the candidate is fully informed about, understands and is able to participate in, the assessment process, and agrees that the process is appropriate.
The Rules of Evidence - collecting evidence that counts
In collecting evidence, AIM applies the rules of evidence to inform the assessment strategy. Assessment strategies have been designed to ensure:
- Sufficiency. We ensure the collection of valid assessment evidence in such quantity to ensure that all aspects of competency have been satisfied and that competency can be demonstrated repeatedly. The collection of sufficient assessment evidence will be supported by using a range of assessment methods which lead to the collection of evidence over time based on a range of performances.
- Validity. We collect evidence that directly aligns with the components documented within each unit of competency. The collected assessment evidence must replicate the outputs of the task as though it were being performed within an actual workplace. This may include the observation of the candidate performing the tasks relevant to the unit of competency or the collection of a completed workplace products. Assessment evidence that is purely academic in nature should be given a lesser priority to the collection of evidence that relates directly to the candidate performing the tasks indicative to the unit of competency.
- Authenticity. We seek evidence that is authentic. To support this, assessors must be assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the candidate’s own work. Where documentary evidence is relied on it must be certified or supported by two other forms of evidence which demonstrate the same skill or knowledge. In all instances, where work is submitted external to AIM (i.e.; electronically, distance assignments, online) this is to include a signed authenticity statement by the candidate that they certify the work as their own.
- Currency. We must be satisfied that the candidate currently holds the skills and knowledge relating to a unit of competency. Assessment evidence is to be based on the candidate’s performance either at the time of the assessment decision or in the very recent past. Questions of evidence currency will mostly relate to recognition of prior learning applications where a candidate has been in the workplace for many years and is seeking recognition of skills and knowledge obtained through workplace experience or previous training. In all situations, assessors must validate the currency of a candidate’s knowledge and skills.
Employers and other parties contributing to assessment evidence
Where industry representatives are engaged to contribute toward assessment evidence, AIM will use a standard approach to collect this evidence. We place a high value on the assessment evidence that is gathered by supervisors or employers in the workplace. This evidence is usually very current and valid and contributes to the assessment decisions made by a qualified assessor. We do not however advocate the use of industry evidence (also referred to as third party evidence) as a substitute for the gathering of direct evidence by an assessor. In all areas of our operation, industry evidence is only to be used to complement and support the evidence being gathered by an assessor and is not to be used as primary evidence.
During the development of assessment tools, assessors are to ensure that the observation criteria used in industry evidence reports is wholly task orientated. These observation criteria should reflect the tasks that the supervisor would expect to issue to an employee and monitor during normal workplace duties. The industry evidence report is not to contain assessment criteria drawn from a unit of competency as these assessment criteria are suitable only for trained and qualified assessors to interpret.
It is also not desirable to collect industry evidence simply by providing a document to be completed. This leads to the collection of insufficient evidence and is an annoyance to industry. Where possible assessors are to engage with industry representatives directly and collect evidence about a candidate’s performance through discussion with supervisors. This discussion will be based on observable workplace tasks and evidence is to be recorded by the assessor. These discussions may be undertaken face-to-face or over the phone. The assessor must record the industry representative’s details, contact information and the date/time of the engagement.
Engagement with industry
AIM is well placed to leverage off current industry associations to incorporate industry requirements into the assessment process. Consultation with enterprises or industry will provide information about assessment requirements relevant to workplaces. Regulatory requirements that relate to specific units of competency will be incorporated to ensure our learners are well prepared for their workplace duties.
Recognition of prior learning
AIM provides all learners the opportunity to seek recognition of their prior learning. Recognition of Prior Leaning (RPL) is viewed simply as another method of assessment and therefore is conducted in accordance with this policy. Further information about RPL can be found on the AIM website in the Student Information section.
AIM will recognise and award credit transfer for candidates presenting with current competence in units in their course of study that they have already completed. It is important to note that credit transfer is not an assessment. It is an administrative function that determines the equivalence of a unit of competency the candidate has been previously awarded to units of competency in their AIM course. If the unit is the same or is equivalent, then the unit may be issued as a credit transfer. Further information about credit transfer can be found on the AIM website in the Student Information section.
Competence of assessors
In accordance with the Standards for RTOs, assessors are required to hold the minimum competencies for training assessment and the vocational competencies at least to the level being assessed. AIM has systems in place to ensure that all staff members are appropriately qualified to meet the requirements of The Standards for RTOs.
Where an assessor does not hold the required training and assessment competence, but is a recognised industry expert, we will put appropriate compliant supervision arrangements in place to support the gathering of valid evidence.
Assessment tools are the media (electronic or hard copy) used to gather evidence about a candidate’s competence. We have developed assessment tools which support the assessment of applicable units of competency in accordance with the requirements of industry Training Packages. AIM acknowledges that these are generic tools which provide us with a starting point for the development of other supporting tools which will reflect the needs of our clients or target industry group. AIM staff involved in assessment must be satisfied that tools developed for assessment fit with the requirements of the target industry and enterprise requirements. Some units of competency are associated with licensing requirements and AIM will need to be informed of the additional requirements this imposes during assessment.
The following are examples of assessment tools which may be incorporated into an assessment strategy to meet the Training Package and industry requirements, the rules of evidence and the principles of assessment:
- Direct observation checklist
- Simulation exercises or role-plays
- Project outlines and explanation sheets
- Workplace templates
- Written questionnaires
- Verbal questionnaires
- Portfolios, for example collections of work samples by the candidate
- Product with supporting documentation or journal/log book
- Workplace samples/products
- Industry/workplace evidence reports.
This list of assessment tools identifies only a small number of assessment tools which are in use. These are however the more common tools and support holistic assessment methods favoured by AIM.
Assessment information is the information provided to both candidates and assessors to guide their conduct of the assessment and the completion of assessment activities. This information is used to draw out a response from a candidate. Examples include:
- Instructions to set the framework for the activity such as who, what, where, when and how. The expected outcomes of the assessment should be included in these instructions and it is critical that they are straight forward and in line with the candidate’s preparation during learning.
- Scenario information includes information that sets the context for a simulated assessment activity. This may be a simple case study or a deep scenario which requires analysis and interpretation. It is important to note that the higher the AQF qualification level, the greater the requirement to analyse and apply cognitive skills to produce workplace outcomes.
- Industry information includes items such as codes of practice, policies and procedures, legislation and regulations. Whilst this may not be provided in hard copy to every candidate, they should be provided contacts, web sites or hyperlinks to access this information
AIM’s assessment activities are to be supported by clear assessment information that will ensure a reliable assessment across our operation. Ultimately, the quality of assessment outcomes produced by a candidate will be directly affected by the quality of the information provided at the commencement of the activity.
Overview of assessment at AIM
Step 1: Prepare for assessment.
- Establishes the context and purpose of the evidence to be collected
- Identifies and analyses the units of competency, Training Package and AIM assessment strategy to identify the evidence requirements
- Review the assessment tools and confirm their currency and adequacy in meeting the rules of evidence.
Step 2: Prepare the candidate.
The assessor will:
- Explain the context and purpose of the assessment and the assessment process
- Explain the units of competency to be assessed and the evidence to be collected
- Outline the assessment procedure and the preparation the candidate should undertake, and answer any questions
- Assess the needs of the candidate and, where applicable, negotiate reasonable adjustment for assessing people with disabilities without compromising the competency outcomes
- Seek feedback regarding the candidate’s understanding of the units of competency, evidence requirements and assessment process
- Determine if the candidate is ready for assessment and, in consultation with the candidate, decide on the time and place of the assessment.
Step 3: Plan and prepare the evidence-gathering process.
The assessor will:
- Establish a plan for gathering sufficient quality evidence about the learner's consistent performance to make the assessment decision
- Source or develop assessment materials to assist the evidence-gathering process
- Organise equipment or resources required to support the evidence-gathering process
- Coordinate and brief other personnel involved in the evidence-gathering process.
Step 4: Collect the evidence and make the assessment decision.
The assessor will:
- Establish and oversee the evidence-gathering process to ensure its validity, reliability, fairness and flexibility
- Collect appropriate evidence and match compatibility to the elements, performance criteria, range statement and evidence guide in the relevant units of competency
- Evaluate evidence in terms of the four dimensions of competency - task skills, task management skills, contingency management skills and job/role environment skills
- Incorporate allowable adjustments to the assessment procedure without compromising the integrity of the competencies
- Evaluate the evidence in terms of validity, consistency, currency, authenticity and sufficiency
- Consult and work with other staff, assessment panel members or technical experts involved in the assessment process
- Record details of evidence collected
- Make a judgement about the candidate’s competence based on the evidence and the relevant unit(s) of competency.
Step 5: Provide feedback on the assessment.
The assessor must provide advice to the learner about the outcomes of the assessment process. This includes providing the candidate with:
- Clear and constructive feedback on the assessment decision
- Information on ways of overcoming any identified gaps in competency revealed by the assessment
- The opportunity to discuss the assessment process and outcome
- Information on reassessment and the appeals process if applicable.
Step 6: Record and report the result.
The assessor will:
- Record the assessment outcome according to the policies and procedures of AIM
- Maintain records of the assessment procedure, evidence collected and the outcome according to the policies and procedures of AIM
- Maintain the confidentiality of the assessment outcome
- Organise the issuance of certification documentation according to the policies and procedures of AIM.
Step 7: Review the assessment process.
On completion of the assessment process, the assessor should:
- Review the assessment process. Report on the positive and negative features of the assessment to those responsible for the assessment procedures
- If necessary, suggest ways of improving the assessment procedures through AIM continuous improvement mechanisms, or by providing input to the next scheduled assessment validation.
Step 8: Participate in the reassessment and appeals process.
The assessor will:
- Provide feedback and counselling to the candidate, if required, regarding the assessment outcome or process, including guidance on further options
- Provide the candidate with information on the reassessment and appeals process
- Report any assessment decision that is disputed by the candidate to appropriate AIM personnel
- Participate in the reassessment or appeal according to the policies and procedures of AIM.
Re-assessment refers to the opportunity provided to candidates for a second assessment attempt after a 'Not Yet Competent' result was received from the first assessment attempt or where the student has failed to submit an assessment task within the specified time-frames.
Students receiving an assessment result of ‘Not Yet Competent’ will be provided with feedback and additional training then arrangements will be made for re-attempting the assessment. Such second attempts must be within 10 working days of the release of the original result.
If the same student does not demonstrate the standard set for competency within that supplementary assessment, the student will be scheduled to recommence that unit and additional fees will be applied. The fee charged for supplementary attempts is the prevailing fee for that unit as set out in the Schedule of Fees available on the College website.
If the student is again deemed ‘Not Yet Competent’, immediate counselling will occur and assistance will be offered in the form of a course progression plan.
AIM acknowledges that there may be certain special circumstances that impact a students’ re-assessment performance that may result in a ‘Not Yet Competent’ grade. Students who are in this situation should contact their Trainer to discuss their circumstances.
If the Trainer deems it appropriate a request for an additional assessment attempt form can be completed by the Trainer for review. AIM will review the application and may award the student a third and final attempt.
For information about AIM’s assessment appeals process, students should refer to the AIM Assessment Appeals Policy on the AIM website in the Student Information section.
Cheating is the taking of any unauthorised material or electronic device into an assessment activity, irrespective of whether this is used by the student to assist him/her to complete that assessment.
After investigation, any student found to be cheating will have his/her assessment activity cancelled, and no re-submission of assessment will be accepted. The assessment outcome of ‘Not Yet Competent’ will be recorded for that unit, and he/she will be placed on probation. He/she will be scheduled to re-commence that full unit, and additional fees will be applied.
Any further incidence of proven cheating or other unacceptable behaviour will result in cancellation of the student’s enrolment. In this event, there will be no refund of fees.
The written notice of AIM’s decision will inform the student that he or she is able to access AIM’s Complaints, Process.
Plagiarism occurs when someone presents the thoughts or writings of another person as his/her own. Students are, therefore, required to acknowledge all direct quotations, ideas, paraphrased writings and statistical information.
Plagiarism is a form of cheating, and is one of the most serious offences any writer can make. Any student found to be plagiarising will be regarded as having cheated, and the same conditions will be applied as recorded in the Cheating section above.
Submission of assessment tasks
All assessment tasks required for completion of a unit are to be completed and submitted by the scheduled due date and following the instructions contained in the course assessment kit.
To safeguard against accidental loss of assignments, it is expected that students will keep a copy of each assignment either soft copy (on computer) or a hard copy. Students are reminded to save their work on an ongoing basis when logged in to the AIM Learning Management System (LMS). In the event of loss occurring, the student will be required to submit a new copy of the assignment concerned.
Retention of assessment records
Assessment Validation is the quality review of the assessment process. Validation involves checking that the assessment tool/s produce/s valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to enable reasonable judgements to be made as to whether the requirements of the training package are met. It includes reviewing a statistically valid sample of the assessments and making recommendations for future improvements to the assessment tool, process and/or outcomes and acting upon such recommendations.
Assessment Validation forms part of AIM’s review of assessment strategies in accordance with the requirements of the Standards for RTOs and industry training package. The process of validating assessments will also serve to moderate assessment decisions made by assessors.
AIM uses group assessment validation as our preferred method of reviewing assessment. These activities may be conducted using teleconference or conducted face-to-face. This includes groups of assessors and subject matter experts coming together to examine a statistically valid sample of completed assessments, assessment instruments, processes and outcomes of assessment and to reach consensus about the compliance of current assessment arrangements. These sessions also provide an opportunity for assessors to discuss and present ideas about how they each apply their professional judgement to reach an assessment decision. This serves to moderate assessment practices across AIM.
AIM validation processes rely on the review of quantitative data and qualitative based questions framed around the principles of assessment and the rules of evidence to examine how assessment for unit is occurring. The Standards for RTOs specify that assessment validation includes reviewing a statistically valid sample of the assessments. This implies that validation is being conducted after a period of implementation of assessment and that the review is based on actual completed assessments. We are not only validating the arrangements for assessment, but are validating the actual conduct of assessment and the outcomes being produced.
The following provides is a guide to how validation activity may occur:
Based on the AIM Validation Plan, an event will be scheduled that identifies the training product to be validated, the time and place for the meeting and who is designated to lead and assist with the validation. A reminder email should be sent to those identified to participate no later than on month before the scheduled event. The suggested group size for an assessment validation activity is 3-5. It is also suggested that the assessment validation activity only focus on one unit of competency for each session.
The person nominated to lead the validation activity will plan the day and begin to gather the required documentation and validation sample and provide to participants beforehand. This will include:
- the complete assessment tools and resources
- any available assessment mapping
- relevant references relating to the unit requirements
- available data on completion rates
- the relevant training and assessment strategy
- the selected statistically valid sample of completed assessments.
This will allow each participant to make their own notes and refer to the resources individually. The venue for the validation activity should also be arranged.
Participants will gather for the assessment validation where the lead validator will provide an outline of the process to be followed. The lead validator will issue each participant and themselves with the assessment tools and resources and an equal number of sampled assessments. The lead validator will brief the participants on the use of the assessment validation tool and the criteria which comprise the tool and need to be responded to.
At the beginning of the activity, each participant should be allocated an hour or so to individually review the assessment tools and resources, the training and assessment strategy and their allocated sample of completed student assessment items relevant to the training product being validated. During this time each participant will make their own notes against the criteria within the assessment validation tool. Whilst this is a time for individual review it is acceptable for participants to ask each other questions and exchange views about the assessment and the evidence they are reviewing. At the end of this initial time it is expected that each participant will have formed their own views and recorded their notes within an assessment validation tool and be ready to contribute to a group discussion.
After each participant has completed reviewing the evidence individually, the lead validator will then facilitate a discussion about the assessment of the training product following the points identified within the assessment validation tool. As each point is presented it provides an opportunity for participants and the lead validator to exchange their views based on their own review of evidence indicating if the current assessment practice is suitable or needs improvement. The lead validator will note these discussion points and facilitate the discussion to attempt to arrive at a consensus. This is recorded within the assessment validation record which becomes the official record of validation activity. It is important that any suggested improvements to the assessment arrangement are clearly stated so that the original intent of the improvement carries through to the continuous improvement process.
At the conclusion, the lead validator is to summarise the collective findings of the assessment validation activity and identify the recommended opportunities for improvement for the assessment arrangements relevant to the training product being validated. It is important that the final assessment validation tool records the details of all evidence reviewed including the assessment sample and the names of those who to suppose in the assessment validation. The lead validator is then responsible raising a continuous improvement report to be considered at the next management meeting. These opportunities for improvement will then be considered and implemented in a systematic way utilising the continuous improvement and management meeting process.
Assessment validation is to be undertaken by one or more persons who are not directly involved in the instance of delivery and assessment of the training product being validated. Persons selected to conduct assessment validation must have vocational competencies and current industry skills relevant to the assessment being validated. Persons must also be competent in training and assessment as per The Standards for RTOs.
Scheduling assessment validation and moderation
In consultation with assessors, the validation co-ordinator will formulate a schedule that identifies:
- When/Where meetings are to occur
- What units of competency or modules are to be included
- Who will lead anticipated in assessment validation
- How identified improvements will be made.
Assessment validation is to be scheduled using RTO Data using the event register. AIM is required by the Standards for RTOs to validate training products at least once every five years, with at least 50% of products validated within the first three years of each five-year cycle.
Assessment validation meetings are to occur not less than once each quarter.
Outcomes of the meetings will be recorded using the assessment validation tool to provide a record for retrospective review. This is to include raising continuous improvement reports as required.
Assessment sampling involves choosing a selection of assessed work from a sample of target units of competency. Samples are to be selected using the following criteria:
- A range of students in the selected program
- A range of assessors across different sites
- Include any apparent anomalies or borderline cases.
Equally the sample size must be large enough that the validation outcomes can be applied to the entire sample applicable to the unit of competency being validated. When calculating a sample size, the sample size calculator provided by ASQA (available on their website) will be used.
Assessment validation tools
To support a consistent approach to Assessment Validation, standard tools have been developed and are to be used. The Assessment Validation Record is available within AIM compliance records. The tools provide the basis for the group discussion based on the qualitative questions aligned with the rules of evidence and the principles of assessment.
Relationship to the continuous improvement process
Often improvements will be identified as an outcome of assessment validation. These improvements are to be fed into to our systematic approach to continuous improvement by raising a continuous improvement report and submitting this to the management meeting. Outcomes identified as a result of assessment validation must be recorded within the assessment validation tool and then collated into a continuous improvement report.
The process of collecting evidence and making a judgement as to whether competency has been achieved, to confirm that student can perform to the standard required within a unit. Types of assessment include:
Formative Assessment - evaluation occurring during the provision of the training and education service to ascertain areas of learning difficulty as a basis for further instruction.
Summative Assessment - used at the end of an AIM unit to give a final indication of a student’s progress. It is an appraisal of the extent to which the total competency outcomes have been achieved.
Holistic Assessment (also known as Integrated Assessment) – covers the ‘whole of job’ role or function that draws on a number of units of competency.
This consists of the specific questions or activity developed to allow the student to clearly demonstrate the attainment of competency. Each assessment instrument must be supported by relevant objective criteria on which the assessor will base the assessment decision, such as model answers, listing the key points. Assessment instruments may address a cluster of competencies as applicable for holistic assessment.
Any resources that assists in some part of the assessment process. They may include information for the student or assessor, assessment tools or resources for the quality assurance strategies of the assessment system.
The agreed series of steps that is undertaken within the assessment delivery, recording and reporting cycle.
AIM assessment tools incorporate both the instruments and the instructions for gathering and interpreting of evidence.
The consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills to new situations and environments.
The national standards that define the work skills and underpinning knowledge required for effective performance in the workplace. The standards, otherwise known as units of competency, are determined in consultation with industry and are a fundamental component of AIM courses and training products (national units of competency, qualifications or accredited courses).
Completed assessment items
The actual piece of work completed and submitted by the student for the purpose of assessment.
The basic component of each unit of competency that describes the tasks that make up the broader function or job described by the unit.
Evaluative statements that specify the components and required level of performance each element that occurs within each endorsed unit of competency.
AIM may cluster together complementary endorsed units of competency for the purpose of quality delivery, more holistic assessment and enhanced student experience. The minimum number of units in a cluster is one. These clusters are referred to as AIM learning units.
The process which involves assessors in a discussion and reaching agreement about assessment processes and outcomes in a particular industry. This enables assessors to develop a shared understanding of the requirements of specific Training Packages, relevant competency standards and assessment guidelines, the nature of evidence, how evidence is collected, and making assessment decisions are made. Conducting moderation ensures quality and consistency in assessment.
Reviewing, comparing and evaluating assessment processes, tools and evidence contributing to judgements made by a range of assessors against the same standards and documenting any action taken to improve the quality and consistency of assessment.