Glossary

The following terms, definitions and acronyms are used in the VET sector in Australia and by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

They are provided as general information only and this is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

A

accreditation

The formal recognition of a course by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), in accordance with the Standards for VET Regulators 2015 and the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012.

accredited VET course

An accredited VET (Vocational Education and Training) course is:

  • a structured sequence of training developed to meet training needs that are not addressed by existing training packages
  • a course accredited by the national VET regulator or by a delegated body of the national VET regulator, and
  • a course that has been assessed by ASQA as compliant with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

AQF

Australian Qualifications Framework

AQTF

Australian Quality Training Framework

ASQA

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector.

ASQA Info line

ASQA’s contact centre, which responds to general enquiries and emails from ASQA’s providers and stakeholders.

Contact the ASQA Info Line on 1300 701 801, Monday to Friday, between 9.00 am and 7.00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).

asqanet

ASQA’s online application and registration management system for vocational education and training providers.

asqanet is also ASQA’s internal business system for managing and maintaining application, registration and regulatory processes, decisions, activity and information.

asqanet allows you to submit applications, pay fees, and track the progress of your applications online.

audit, see compliance audit and registration audit

Further information is available in the Fact sheet—ASQA audits.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

The national policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system.

The AQF incorporates the quality assured qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. Further information can be found at www.aqf.edu.au

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C

change of scope

Making changes to a provider’s scope of registration.

‘Changes of scope’ include:

  • adding or removing courses
  • making changes to the duration of a course (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS))
  • changing the mode of delivery*
  • changing student tuition fees (CRICOS)
  • changing student capacity (CRICOS), or
  • adding or removing a delivery site (CRICOS).

* This change must be requested using asqanet.

COAG

Council of Australian Governments (COAG). COAG is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia.

The members of COAG are the Prime Minister, State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)

An online database of courses and educational institutions or providers in Australia that are registered to offer courses to overseas students with student visas.

‘CRICOS providers’ are registered on CRICOS and can offer courses to overseas student with student visas. 

competency

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 and knowledge to new situations and environments.

compliance audit

The systematic and documented process ASQA uses to assess a provider’s ongoing compliance with the VET Quality Framework and other relevant standards.

Compliance audits are scheduled at ASQA’s discretion. The cost of ASQA undertaking a compliance audit of a registered training organisation is chargeable to that provider.

ASQA also has the authority to undertake compliance audits of providers outside of Australia. 

Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS)

A document prepared for significant cost recovery arrangements to demonstrate compliance with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.

CRICOS

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students

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D

delivery site

Permanent training site, owned or leased by a provider.


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E

ELICOS

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

English language programs for students who require English language training before commencing formal studies in Australia. 

ESOS

Education Services for Overseas Students

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F

financial viability risk assessment(s)

Structured risk assessments of common indicators of financial performance, which determine an organisation’s likely business continuity and its financial capacity to deliver quality outcomes. 

Further information is available in the Fact sheet—Financial viability risk assessment.

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G

general direction

A direction given by the Australian Skills Quality Authority, under Section 28 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (the Act), which outlines the way in which the VET Quality Framework and other conditions defined in the Act are to be complied with.

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I

Internal review

ASQA internal review of a reviewable decision. Only ‘reviewable decisions’ specified in section 169AB of the ESOS Act can be internally reviewed.

Further information is available in the Fact sheet—Reviewing ASQA’s decisions.

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L

learner

A person being trained and/or assessed by the RTO for the purpose of issuing AQF certification documentation.

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M

moderation

Moderation is a quality control process aimed at bringing assessment judgements into alignment. Moderation is generally conducted before the finalisation of student results as it ensures the same decisions are applied to all assessment results within the same unit of competency.

The requirement in the Standards for RTOs 2015 to undertake validation of assessment judgements does not prohibit your RTO from undertaking moderation activities, or any other process aimed at increasing the quality of assessment.

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N

National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (National Code)

A set of nationally consistent standards that governs the protection of overseas students and delivery of courses to those students by providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

national register

training.gov.au, the official national register on vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. It is the authoritative source of information on training packages, qualifications, accredited courses, units of competency, skill sets and registered training organisations (RTOs).

training.gov.au helps people to find information about RTOs that are registered to deliver a particular nationally recognised training (NRT) product.

National Standards for ELICOS Providers and Courses 2011 (ELICOS Standards)

The English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) National Standards are the standards that set nationally consistent requirements for ELICOS within Australia.

These standards operate as an adjunct to the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (National Code). 

national VET regulator

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the national body responsible for registering training providers and accrediting courses in Australia. 

National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011

National legislation that governs the regulation of the vocational education and training sector in Australia.

NSSC

National Skills Standards Council

NVR

national VET regulator

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P

provider

‘Provider’ may refer to:

  • a registered training organisation (RTO), or
  • an RTO that is also registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) to deliver to overseas students, or
  • an organisation that is registered on CRICOS and delivers English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

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Q

qualification

Formal certification, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs.

Quality indicator reporting

All registered training organisations (RTOs) registered with ASQA are required to provide an annual summary report to ASQA of their performance against three quality indicators:

  • learner engagement
  • employer satisfaction, and
  • competency completion quality.

Quality indicator data is used by registering bodies to inform each RTO’s risk assessment.

Further information is available in the General Direction—Quality indicators.

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R

recognition of prior learning (RPL)

An assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

reconsideration

ASQA internal reconsideration of a reviewable decision. Only ’reviewable decisions’ (as specified in section 199 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011) can be reconsidered. 

Further information is available in the Fact sheet—Reconsideration of a decision by ASQA.

registered training organisation (RTO)

An organisation, registered with ASQA in accordance with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework, to provide specific vocational education and training and/or assessment services. 

registration

ASQA registers vocational education and training (VET) providers as ‘registered training organisations’. VET registration is confirmation that a training organisation can deliver, assess and issue the qualifications it is registered to provide, or statements of attainment to a nationally agreed standard.

ASQA also registers providers seeking to enrol overseas students who are on student visas as Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) providers.

registration audit

The systematic and documented process used to assess a provider’s compliance with the required national standards. A registration audit may be triggered by an application for initial registration, renewal of registration or change to scope of registration. 

risk assessment

An assessment of a registered training organisation (or applicant) conducted by ASQA to identify, analyse, evaluate and treat risks of it breaching its regulatory obligations under the VET Quality Framework.

risk rating

A rating assigned to each provider by ASQA to indicate the comparative level of risk (as a product of potential impact and likelihood) of the provider not complying with its legislative obligations.

Risk ratings are assigned based on verifiable performance, governance and operational profile data to assist ASQA in determining:

  • how it should assess registration applications from the provider, and
  • the form, focus and frequency of compliance monitoring activities.

RPL

recognition of prior learning

RTO

registered training organisation

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S

scope of registration

The particular services and products that a provider is registered to provide.

SCOTESE

Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

SES

Senior Executive Service

Skills Service Organisations

Skills Service Organisations develop and maintain training package content – including qualifications, skill sets, and units of competency.

Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015

The national standards against which applicants for registration as a VET (vocational education and training) provider, and existing VET providers, are assessed.

Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012

A legislative instrument used to formally identify the requirements for accrediting VET (vocational education and training) courses.

Standards for VET Regulators 2015

A legislative instrument used to formally identify the standards for VET (vocational education and training) regulators performing functions under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.

statement of attainment

A statement given to a person confirming that the person has satisfied the requirements of units of competency or modules specified in the statement.

strategic review

Industry-wide reviews undertaken by ASQA to obtain information about areas of the training sector that may require targeted regulatory action. 

superseded training products

Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) may revise training packages. When a training package is revised, the new version is published on the national register, training.gov.au.

When qualifications and units of competency contained in the revised training package replace the previously endorsed qualifications and units of competency, those previously endorsed products are referred to as ‘superseded’.

The Skills Service Organisation must indicate whether the revised qualifications and units of competency are equivalent or not equivalent to the superseded product:

  • Equivalent means that the outcomes of the new and old (superseded) products are equivalent.
  • Not equivalent means that the outcomes of the new and old (superseded) products are not equivalent.

The national register may also use the term ‘superseded’ for a qualification or unit of competency that has been deleted from its training package without having been replaced.

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T

TAFE

Technical and Further Education

TEQSA

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) regulates and assures the quality of Australia’s higher education sector.

testamur

An official certification document that confirms that a qualification has been awarded to an individual.

third party

Any party that provides services on behalf of the RTO but does not include a contract of employment between an RTO and its employee.

training package

Training package means the components of a training package endorsed by the Industry and Skills Council or its delegate in accordance with the Standards for Training Packages. The endorsed components of a training package are: units of competency; assessment requirements (associated with each unit of competency); qualifications; and credit arrangements. The endorsed components form part of the requirements that an RTO must meet under these Standards. A training package also consists of a non-endorsed, quality assured companion volume/s which contains industry advice to RTOs on different aspects of implementation.

transition period

Transition period means, where a training product has been superseded, removed or deleted from the National Register, the allowable timeframe within which the learner’s training, assessment, and AQF certification documentation issuance must be completed or, in the case of a superseded training product, within which the learner is transitioned into the replacement training product.

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U

unit of competency

The specification of the standards of performance required in the workplace as defined in a training package.

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V

validation

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 or VET accredited courses 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.

VET

vocational education and training

VET Quality Framework

A set of standards and conditions used by ASQA to assess whether a registered training organisation meets the requirements for registration.

The VET Quality Framework comprises:

  • the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015
    • the Quality Standards
  • the Australian Qualifications Framework
  • the Fit and Proper Person Requirements
  • the Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements, and
  • the Data Provision Requirements.

vocational education and training (VET)

Post-compulsory education and training (excluding degree and higher level programs delivered by further education institutions) which provides people with occupational or work-related knowledge and skills.

VRQA

Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, the VET regulator in Victoria.


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