Assessment activities can take many forms. While most RTOs have a particular way that they go about their assessments, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every learner is going to fit into that mold. The Australian VET system is designed to be flexible enough to allow trainers to make the necessary adaptations to accommodate a wide range of situations, while still maintaining an adequate level of training across the board.
Whenever assessment activities are undertaken, it is important to verify that the planned activities meet the specific learners’ needs. Failure to do so could eliminate the fair and reasonable requirement for the assessment. There are many steps to complete to do a full and accurate assessment, some of which may seem like unnecessary details. However, if those details are eliminated, the whole system could be compromised.
Take revision checking for example. If the RTO you work for has revised their assessment for a particular qualification a number of times, an old assessment may work correctly with a newer version of the training. That could mean that the learners are being tested on material that wasn’t covered, creating a very difficult situation for them, and an unfair assessment.
Pat’s RTO was contracted by a company they worked with regularly to provide assessment on a group of factory workers. The company’s Human Resources Director, who was also a qualified trainer, felt that their on-the-job experience and in plant training should be enough to qualify this group of workers, without having to take the courses. He wanted as many workers as possible to be qualified, because that would make the company look better to investors and customers.
When Pat showed up at the first planning meeting, along with the other trainers who were to be involved in the assessment, she realized that they really weren’t ready to go. While they had qualified learners before on the knowledge and skills that they were to qualify these candidates on, they had never done so in a mass setting like they were about to.
This was going to require a new approach to their assessment procedures. So, the first task was going to be to review all their policies and procedures, in order to determine how to modify them to meet the needs of this contract. They were going to need to streamline their system, creating masses of materials for the validation, without diluting the quality of service they were providing.
The actual assessment evaluation ended up taking several parts. First of all, there was a review of each candidate’s work history, in-house training, and the testing that the quality assurance department provided. This became the RPL component of the assessment. Then they developed a test, combining the assessment tests that they had previously used for the various units of competency. Finally, they decided to do a simulation, along with an on-the-job observation. All of this was based upon the steps outlined in TAEASS403A, Participate in Assessment Validation.
The assessment required a lot of coordination between the various team members. Each candidate’s qualification was actually the results of several different assessors work. When they met together, each assessor would share what they had observed and they would determine whether the candidate was actually qualified. In a few cases, some additional training was needed to qualify the individual.
All in all, the assessment was a great success. They were able to provide the client company with the qualifications of their production workforce, while ensuring that the individual workers had the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the tasks.
This article was published in Equipped, Fortress Learning’s free monthly magazine for success.