Focus on compliance

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C H A P T E R    1

Spotlight On assessment validation:
Achieving an effective approach


Chapter 1 looks at how to use validation to get the best out of your assessment systems 

Assessment Validation is a quality review process aimed to assist you as a provider to continuously improve your assessment processes and outcomes by identifying future improvements.

Validation and moderation explained

Validation and moderation have both been used in VET to promote and enhance quality practices in assessment.

Watch this short video to help understand the differences between these important processes, and keep reading this page to gain further insights.

Validation confirms quality

The Standards define validation as the quality review of the assessment process. 

Validation includes:

  • reviewing a statistically valid sample of the assessments
  • making recommendations for future improvements to the assessment tool
  • improving the process and/or outcomes of the assessment tool
  • acting upon those recommendations.

Validation ensures that there is continuous improvement in the assessment undertaken by your provider.

A valid assessment judgement is one that confirms that a student demonstrates all of the knowledge, skill and requirements of a training product.

A statistically valid sample is one that is taken randomly from the set of assessment judgements under consideration. It should be sufficiently large so that the validated outcomes can be applied to the entire set of judgements. 

The compliance obligations of validation are described in clauses 1.9, 1.10, 1.11 of the Standards for Registered Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (the Standards), but effective validation can also help to ensure compliance across other obligations.

Effective Validation

An effective validation process will both confirm what is being done right, but also identify areas for opportunities for improvement.

To achieve an effective validation approach, you should ensure that assessment tools, systems and judgements:

  • have complied with the requirements of the training package and the Rules of Evidence and Principles of Assessment
  • are appropriate to the contexts and conditions of assessment (this may include considering whether the assessment reflects real work-based contexts and meets industry requirements)
  • have tasks that demonstrate an appropriate level of difficulty in relation to the skills and knowledge requirements of the unit
  • use instructions that can clearly explain the tasks to be administered to the learner resulting in similar or cohesive evidence provided by each learner
  • outline appropriate reasonable adjustments for gathering of assessment evidence
  • assessment samples validate recording and reporting processes with sufficient instructions for the assessor on collecting evidence, making a judgement, and recording the outcomes
  • the quality of performance is supported with evidence criteria. (If the assessment samples demonstrate the judgements made about each learner are markedly different, this may indicate that decision-making rules do not ensure consistency of judgement)
  • adhere to the requirements of the RTO’s assessment system

Validation occurs after assessment

Validation activities, as a quality review process described in the Standards, are generally conducted after assessment is complete. This is so that you can consider the validity of both assessment practices and assessment judgements, to identify future improvements to the assessment tool, process and outcomes.

Validation processes and activities include:

  • gathering sufficient sample of completed assessment tools
  • testing how the tools and the systems in place, including assessment instructions and resources, impact the assessment findings
  • check whether assessments were conducted as intended
  • check whether the outcomes reflect students are fully competent.

Completing your validation process after assessments have been conducted also allows the validation team to consider whether the assessment tool could be updated to better and more effectively assess a student, while still collecting the evidence intended.


Thoroughly check and revise your assessment tools prior to use

Verify that the planned tools:

  • meet the requirements of the training package
  • are designed to ensure assessment is conducted with the Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence.


This will ensure that:

  • future students can be accurately and consistently assessed
  • your assessment system meets the compliance obligations in clause 1.8 of the Standards.
  • New or revised assessment tools used by your provider must be thoroughly checked prior to use. By verifying that the planned tools meet the assessment requirements of the training package, and are designed in a way that will ensure assessment is conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence, you can be assured future students will be accurately and consistently assessed. It also ensures your assessment system meets the compliance obligations in clause 1.8 of the Standards.

Validation vs Moderation


Validation and moderation have both been used in VET to promote and enhance quality practices in assessment.


  • occurs after assessment is finalised
  • remains a requirement of the Standards
  • retrospectively reviews an assessment system and practices to make future improvements
  • requires a structure to ensure the review process is successful.


  • a quality control process conducted before assessments are finalised
  • no longer a regulatory requirement but supports meeting compliance obligations of clauses 1.8 and 3.1
  • helps you conduct fair, flexible, valid and reliable assessments
  • ensures agreement that the assessment tools, instructions and processes meet the requirements of the training package or accredited course.

The requirement in the Standards to undertake validation of assessment practices and judgements does not impact your ability to also undertake moderation activities, or any other process aimed at increasing quality of assessment.

Visit other chapters from this series:





Still have a question? Check out the Users’ guide to the Standards for RTOs 2015, or send through a question for consideration for our webinar via our website.


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