Assessment Validation Made Simple: Guide to Validating Assessments

Assessment Validation Made Simple: Guide to Validating Assessments

Blog Article

After gaining registration, RTOs need to monitor several aspects including annual declarations, AVETMISS reporting, and marketing compliance, with validation being a major concern.

Though we've written extensively on validation, let's clarify it again. ASQA describes it as a quality assessment review.

Put simply, validation checks which parts of an RTO's assessment process are accurate and spots areas for enhancement. A proper understanding of its main elements can make validation less daunting.

The 2015 SRTOs Clause 1.8 requires RTOs to make sure their assessment systems, including RPL, are compliant with training package requirements and conducted per the Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence.

According to the standards, two types of validation are necessary.

The primary type of assessment validation verifies that your RTO's assessment meets the training package requirements.

The second kind of validation ensures assessments are carried out in accordance with the principles of assessment and rules of evidence.

This shows that validation happens pre- and post-assessment. We will focus on the first type—assessment tool validation.

What are the Two Types of Assessment Validation?

Defining Assessment Validation

As discussed before and in previous blogs, validation includes two processes: (1) assessment tool validation and (2) post-assessment validation.

Assessment tool validation, known as pre-assessment validation, pertains to the first part of the clause, focusing on meeting all unit requirements and ensuring total workbook compliance.

On the implementation side, post-assessment validation ensures Registered Training Organisations conduct assessments according to the Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence.

We will dedicate this article to assessment tool validation.

The Process of Assessment Tool Validation

With a clear understanding of the two types of validation, let’s focus on assessment tool validation.

When is Assessment Tool Validation Conducted?

The aim of assessment tool validation is to ensure that all elements, performance criteria, and performance and knowledge evidence are covered by your assessment tools.

Hence, whenever new learning resources are bought, assessment tool validation is necessary before student use.

There's no necessity to wait for the next 5-year cycle validation schedule. Validate new resources immediately to ensure they are appropriate for student use.

Still, this isn't the only reason to perform this type of validation. Conduct assessment tool validation also when you:

- you update your resources
- adding new training products on scope
- you review your course against training product updates
- your learning resources get identified as a risk during your risk assessment

ASQA's risk-based approach to regulation necessitates regular risk assessments by RTOs. If there are student complaints about learning resources, it's an opportune time for assessment tool validation.

How to Choose Training Products for Validation

Keep in mind, this validation ensures compliance of all learning resources before use. All RTOs must validate resources for each unit.

What Do You Need for Assessment Tool Validation?

Teaching Materials

For validation of your assessment tools, you will require the full set of your learning resources:

Mapping tool – the initial document to investigate. It identifies which assessment items address unit requirements, helping speed up validation.

Learner/student workbook – validate its suitability as an assessment tool. Ensure instructions are clear and answer fields are adequate. This is a frequent gap.

Assessor guide/marking guide – ensure sufficient instructions for assessors and clear benchmarks for each assessment item. Clear benchmarks are vital for reliable assessment outcomes.

Other related resources – could include checklists, registers, and templates developed apart from the workbook and marking guide. Validate them to confirm they fit the assessment task and meet unit requirements.

Assessment Validation Team

Clause 1.11 sets out the requirements for validation panel members, stating that validation can be conducted by one or more individuals. RTOs generally require all trainers and assessors to be involved, sometimes including industry experts.

As a group, your validation panel must possess:

Vocational competencies and current industry skills that relate to the unit being validated

Current expertise and skills in vocational teaching and learning

Either one of the following training and assessment credentials:

TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or its updated version

Validation form/template
Having a validation tool helps you with both the validation process and documentation. Using a validation tool makes it easier to look at how each assessment item maps against each unit requirement.
Using a validation tool benefits both the validation process and documentation. It makes it easier to comprehend how each assessment item aligns with each unit requirement.
At the same time, it can serve as your document evidence that you have validated your resources before letting the students use them.
Simultaneously, it can serve as proof that you have validated your resources before they are used by students.

ASQA does not provide a specific template for assessment tool validation, but numerous templates can be found online. These tools often have validators look at the tools as a whole to verify if they meet the principles of assessment.

Principles of Assessment Yes/No/Partially Comments
1. Fair
2. Flexible
3. Valid
4. Reliable

Though these templates make validation easier, they can lead to judgment errors because they provide little room for comments on each assessment item.

A more detailed template is recommended to thoroughly inspect each unit requirement and the assessment items that align with them. Below is an example:

Element Performance Criteria Instructions for Assessment Benchmarks Assessment Tools Rectification Recommendations
What do you Need to Check?
What Requires Checking?

As we covered in our blog post Common Problems In Assessment Tools, your assessment tools must ensure trainers adhere to assessment principles and evidence rules.

Assessment Basic Principles
Fairness – Does the assessment process provide equal opportunity and access to everyone?

Flexibility – Does the assessment offer various options to demonstrate competence based on different needs and preferences?

Validity – Does the assessment evaluate what it is meant to evaluate? Is it a valid tool for measuring the required skill or knowledge?

Reliability – Will the assessment yield the same results each time, no matter who conducts the training? Will different assessors make consistent decisions on skill competence?

Evidence Core Rules

Validity – Does the evidence confirm that the candidate has the skills, knowledge, and attributes described in the unit of competency and associated assessment requirements?
Sufficiency – Is there enough evidence to ensure that the learner has the skills and knowledge required?
Sufficiency – Is the evidence adequate to ensure the learner has the required skills and knowledge?

Authenticity – Is the assessment tool proving that the work is the candidate’s own?

Currency – Are the assessment tools updated to reflect current units of competency and industry practices?

Despite being regularly covered in VET professional development and nationally recognised training, many tools still have issues with these requirements.

To prevent using learning resources that do not address some unit requirements, ensure you adhere to these guidelines:

Practice What You Preach

Pay attention to the verbs in the unit requirements and ensure they are addressed by the assessment item. For instance, in the unit CHCECE032 Nurture babies and toddlers, one performance evidence requirement requires students to:

Perform each of the following activities at least once with two different babies under 12 months old in a safe environment, using age-appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication according to service and regulatory requirements:

diaper changing

bottle preparation, bottle-feeding infants, and cleaning equipment

prepare solid food and feed babies

respond properly to infant signs and cues

prepare and settle babies for sleep

monitor and encourage age-appropriate physical exploration and gross motor skills

Having students describe changing nappies for babies under 12 months doesn’t directly address the unit requirement. Unless it’s meant to assess underpinning knowledge (i.e., knowledge evidence), students should be performing the tasks.

Plurals Matter!
Pay attention to the numbers. In our example on one of the unit requirements of CHCECE032, this single unit requirement calls for the students to complete the tasks at least once on two different babies under 12 months of age. Having students complete the tasks listed twice on just 1 baby won’t cut it.
Mind the numbers. In our CHCECE032 example, one unit requirement asks students to complete the tasks at least once with two different babies under 12 months old. Doing the tasks twice with one baby won’t suffice.

Full or Not Competent

Mind the lists. In the previous example, if students perform only half the tasks listed, it’s non-compliant. Each assessment item must address all requirements, or the student is not yet competent and the assessment tool is non-compliant.
Can you be more specific?
Add More Specificity

Every assessment item should have clear and specific benchmark answers to guide the assessor’s judgment on student competence. Thus, make sure your instructions do not confuse students or assessors. For example:
What kind of information can be included in a work package?
What kinds of information can be included in a work package?

The answer may include:

Essential resources

Related costs

Time span of activities

Assigned duties and responsibilities

When an assessment item calls for multiple answers, indicate the number of answers a student needs to provide. This way, your assessment is reliable, and the evidence gathered is valid.

The same is true for assessment items with double-barrelled questions or those asking for multiple answers at once. Such questions can confuse both students and assessors, as demonstrated in the sample question below:

Name a hazard and/or environmental concern in the workplace and choose the most effective hazard control hierarchy.

Possible answers check here can include, but are not limited to:

Weather conditions – isolation of work area, engineering controls, personal protective equipment

Work area and ground conditions – elimination, isolating, engineering controls

People – isolation, use of engineering controls, administrative controls

Structural hazards – substitution, isolating, engineering controls

Chemical hazards – isolating, use of engineering controls, administrative controls

Equipment or machinery – isolating, use of engineering controls, administrative controls

Steering clear of double-barrelled questions makes it easier for students to respond and for assessors to judge student competence accurately.

Considering these requirements, you might wonder, “Don’t learning resource developers have audit guarantees?” But these guarantees mean you have to wait for an audit to rectify noncompliance. This impacts your compliance history, so it’s wiser to take a safe and compliant approach.

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