Developing a System
Assessment Validation is one of the most important aspects of any successful RTO. All RTOs need to ensure that the assessment system they have in place is working well. However, ASQA makes it clear that assessment is still the number one area that auditors will focus on when it comes to compliance – this leads to business owners focusing on meeting minimum compliance expectations, rather than aiming for best practice through discussions with stakeholders and through the development of robust, student-centred practices.
What is Validation?
Validation is a review process that focuses on the quality of assessment judgements made by assessors and the overall validity of the assessment system. If assessment is judged as valid, this means that the veracity of documentation stating that learners are competent in regard to knowledge and skills in a course does not need to be called into question.
In most cases, validation processes occur after assessments have been completed. This means that an RTO can monitor and rectify if necessary both the process and judgement of assessments. In short, validation processes are designed to make a conclusion on whether or not your assessment system accurately describes student learning.
How is this conclusion reached?
Questions are asked and results tabulated. The two basic questions asked are:
- Are students being asked the right questions?
- What evidence of learning is being collected?
Developing a validation plan
RTOs need to ensure that all training products on scope need to undergo validation every 5 years.
In addition, your plan must ensure that at least 50% of all your training products on scope are validated in the first 3 years of a 5 year cycle.
- They must comply with training product requirements
- They must be fair, flexible, reliable and valid
- They must be designed to show valid evidence of learning
- They must be appropriate to the educational context of the learners
- They must provide clear information and instructions to assessors and learners
- They must allow for changes in the assessment system for specific learners if required, particularly with regard to required evidence.
Assessment Validation – 3 Steps
A clear plan
A good plan will outline which training products will be examined and by who; when they will be examined; how findings will be reported and recorded; and what steps will be taken in the event that the findings show sub-standard practices. All relevant stakeholders need access to this plan – both the content and the timing.
The primary goal of assessment validation should not be to meet compliance regulations. It should be to make an RTO successful by focusing on positive student outcomes and maintaining best practice systems.