Guide to using other parties to collect assessment evidence
This guide provides information about clause 1.8 of the Standards for RTOs 2015 on using other parties to collect assessment evidence. For further information on assessment and clause 1.8 requirements please refer to the Users’ Guide to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015.
To inform a judgement about whether a student has demonstrated competence, a provider needs to gather a range of evidence. This evidence is gathered from a variety of sources in accordance with the provider’s strategies for training and assessment.
The evidence is then assessed to determine whether a student can perform to the standard expected in the workplace, as expressed in the relevant endorsed unit of competency or module.
Assessment of evidence, and judgement about competence, needs to be undertaken by a person who meets the specific requirements for an assessor in the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015.
In some cases, an assessor cannot directly gather all the required evidence that supports a competency judgement. In these cases, the evidence may be gathered or reported by other people.
This type of evidence is categorised as supplementary evidence.
Evidence is defined in the Standards:
Evidence is information which, when matched against a unit of competency or module, provides proof of competency.
Evidence can take many forms and be gathered from several sources.
It is important to understand that when it comes to assessment, there is no ‘hierarchy of evidence’. However, it would be difficult to make a judgement of competence without some evidence actively assessed or supervised by the assessor. While training packages and accredited courses describe the standard of performance required in the workplace and provide information about the scope and context for assessment, neither the Standards for RTOs 2015 nor training product guidelines prescribe exactly what type of evidence, or how much evidence, needs to be collected.
How to meet the rules of evidence
To determine how to meet the rules of evidence for your organisation, you need to design an assessment system to ensure that, overall; the assessment evidence collected meets the rules of evidence. This includes evidence that demonstrates:
- validity: evidence is directly related to the competency being assessed and addresses the Dimensions of Competency
- sufficiency: there is enough evidence to make a valid judgement of competence
- authenticity: the evidence is from or of the candidate and not another person, and
- currency: the evidence is from either the present or the very recent past.
Collecting quality evidence from multiple sources
Quality over quantity: It is the quality of all evidence collected (including any supplementary evidence collected by another party) that is important to making a sound judgement about competence. This means a focus on quality rather than the quantity, type and form of evidence, where it was collected or who collected it.
Multiple sources are best: It is important to note that it is hard for a single form or source of evidence to satisfy all the rules of evidence. To ensure reliable judgement of competency, assessors are likely to require multiple sources and forms of evidence collected over time to ensure the rules of evidence are met.
When and why might an assessor use other parties to collect evidence?
Involving another party in the collection of evidence allows assessors to gather authentic and valid evidence in difficult circumstances in a cost-effective way.
It is common to use another party for evidence-gathering in cases where workplace evidence is required, but where it is not possible for the assessor to directly observe the student at work. For example, in cases where:
- the presence of an observer may compromise workplace safety, or
- where work activities involve issues of patient confidentiality and privacy.
The use of other people in collecting evidence is also a valuable strategy for collecting evidence of ‘everyday performance’ in addition to demonstrations of skills and knowledge conducted in a more formal assessment event.
Using another party to collect evidence
Using another party to collect evidence that will contribute to a pool of assessment evidence means:
- an assessor and another party (usually an industry expert) work together to conduct assessment
- it is still the role of the assessor to make the judgement about whether competency has been achieved based on the collected evidence
Co-assessment arrangement to collect evidence
It is also acceptable under clauses 1.13 and 1.14 of the Standards for a ‘co-assessment’ arrangement to take place where:
- an appropriately qualified trainer and assessor to work with an industry expert to conduct assessment
- the industry expert is involved in the assessment judgement.
Under a co-arrangement, an industry expert, who has the relevant vocational competencies and has current industry skills directly relevant to the training and assessment being provided, but who may not have the appropriate training and assessor competencies, works alongside a trainer and/or assessor to conduct the assessment. The judgement about whether competency has been achieved is made by both parties together.
It is expected that, where such a co-assessment arrangement exists, there is some form of agreement in place to facilitate and describe each party’s relevant roles and responsibilities. However, this type of arrangement does not constitute a third-party arrangement as described in clauses 2.3 and 2.4 of the Standards for RTOs 2015, because the final assessment decision is made by the assessor working for the provider.
Using evidence collected by other parties
When deciding to work with another party to collect assessment evidence, you must first determine if it is appropriate for your training organisation. Then ensure the assessment processes lead to the collection of quality evidence.
Tips for providing sufficient guidance to both assessors and the other party
The appropriate person to observe or report on the performance of the student is someone who is in a position to make a valid comment on the student’s performance, for example, a line manager.
These materials need to seek/solicit/allow for feedback that is directly related to the relevant unit(s) of competency or module on the student’s performance, without necessarily replicating the performance criteria
This includes providing clear guidance and instruction on when, how, how often and over what period of time the evidence is to be collected. The materials need to explain the form in which the evidence is to be collected. For example, a structured supervisor report or an observation checklist that clearly identifies what is observed or performed.
This should include confirmation that the other party has agreed to participate in the evidence-gathering process and that they understand when and how to collect evidence.
Training package information is written for a specific purpose including to guide assessors and the language is sometimes complex. Therefore, the behaviours and/or knowledge that the other party is being asked to collect evidence of needs to be ‘interpreted’ to ensure the other party is collecting quality evidence. The ‘interpreted’ information should describe how a competent worker would perform the task described by the unit. This may include describing how a competent worker might meet standards in effect in the specific workplace (for example, standards relating to the speed or amount of work to be undertaken or other quality measures).
Units of competency and modules describe work outcomes. Each of these units/modules describes:
- a specific work activity
- the conditions under which this work activity is conducted
- the evidence that may/must be gathered in order to determine whether the activity is being performed in a competent manner.
This means setting requirements for assessors to confirm that evidence is the student’s own work. Where another party is involved in the collection of evidence, there should be instructions for assessors on how to verify this evidence to ensure it is a true and accurate reflection of the student’s skills.
Case study 1
Collecting assessment evidence in underground mining
XBC Training Pty Ltd is delivering the RII30320 Certificate III in Underground Metalliferous Mining to a group of students in rural NSW.
Several units in that qualification require students to be assessed in the context of the sector's work environment, such as underground mines (e.g. RIIBHD302E Conduct underground development drilling).
Due to safety considerations and cost constraints, assessors cannot go underground to directly observe the students. The provider decides to use the mine supervisors to collect evidence that students can perform certain tasks as required in the relevant units. The supervisors are not making any assessment decisions, nor are they involved in a co-assessment arrangement. They are simply collecting evidence because they are in a position to observe the students in a real workplace setting.
The provider develops a Supervisors’ Guide that explains to the supervisors what their role is. The guide includes information about the tasks that need to be demonstrated by the students, as well as when the supervisor should observe, and over what period of time.
The provider also prepares an observation checklist for each task, with clear instructions to the supervisor on time allowance for the task, and performance expectations.
The checklists include specific observable behaviours that the supervisor can comment on, with additional space for free commentary along with student and supervisor signatures. The checklists include instructions for capturing additional detail using photos and/or videos where appropriate.
The assessor verifies the authenticity of this evidence with an interview with the supervisor once all tasks are completed and the checklists collected.
The completed supervisor checklists and any photos or videos provided are used to supplement direct evidence collected by the assessor.
Case study 2
Collecting assessment evidence in early childhood education
AKY Training is delivering CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Several units in the qualification require demonstrated evidence that the student has performed certain tasks in a regulated education and care service on more than one occasion.
The students undertake 160 hours of work placement over a six-week period. The assessor visits the students on multiple occasions to conduct direct observation assessments and knowledge testing, and students are required to submit a portfolio of evidence based on workplace projects they undertake. The assessor supplements this evidence with reports from the workplace supervisors.
The supervisors are briefed about their role at an initial meeting. They are given written information about the units of competency that make up the qualification, as well as the various tasks the student needs to perform while on work placement.
The supervisors are asked to complete a fortnightly report. Each report includes questions that relate to a cluster of units being worked on by the student in that fortnight.
The questions in the supervisor’s report elicit responses about the number and ages of children the student provided care to in that fortnight, the number of families the student interacted with, and the activities the student performed.
It requires the supervisors to provide examples of where they have observed the student using certain identified skills, and how well they performed relative to what is normally required in the workplace.
The skills outlined in the report are derived from the performance evidence described in the Assessment Requirements for each unit in the cluster and are paraphrased so that the supervisors can understand what is expected and what they are commenting on.
At the next meeting the assessor talks to the supervisor about the report, and clarifies any statements made. Where insufficient or unclear information is provided by the supervisor, the assessor clarifies with the supervisor. The additional information gathered via this interview is transcribed onto the supervisor report. The student also has an opportunity to discuss the supervisor’s findings with the assessor. Based on the supervisor’s comments, the assessor may ask additional questions of the student to clarify the findings, or to seek additional information that is then used towards making a final judgement.
The provider keeps copies of the supervisors’ reports, along with the student’s portfolio of evidence and the completed assessor checklists.
For further information about ASQA, visit asqa.gov.au.
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