Go to top of page

FAQs

What is the difference between validation and moderation? (Clauses 1.9 - 1.11)

A valid assessment judgement is one that confirms a learner holds all of the knowledge and skills described in the training package or accredited course.

Validation is a process to confirm that your RTO’s assessment system is able to consistently produce valid assessment judgements.

Validation is the quality review of the assessment process and is generally conducted after assessment is complete.

Validation involves checking that your assessment tools have produced valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence, enabling your RTO to make reasonable judgements to about whether training package (or VET accredited course) requirements have been met.

Validation 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.

A statistically valid sample is one that is taken randomly from the set of assessment judgements being considered and that is sufficiently large that the outcomes of validation of the sample can be applied to the entire set of judgements. There are a number of online tools you can use to generate the size of your sample, one of which is ASQA’s validation sample size calculator.

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 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.

How do I submit an annual declaration on compliance? (Clause 8.4)

ASQA has sent an email containing a unique URL to every RTO’s registered email address for its CEO contact, as listed on training.gov.au.

RTOs have until midnight AEDT 31 March 2018 to complete and submit the declaration.

The declaration must be completed by the person who is legally responsible for the registration of the RTO (the Chief Executive Officer).

If an RTO has not received the email from ASQA, it should take the following steps:

  1. Check their spam/junk mail folder.
  2. Check that the email address for its CEO contact is correctly listed on training.gov.au. If the address is incorrect, the RTO should update the contact details in asqanet, and then contact the ASQA Info Line to request that ASQA re-send the email.
  3. If the RTO has previously unsubscribed from ASQA emails, they should contact web.feedback [at] asqa.gov.au and ASQA will reactivate the subscription to ASQA emails.
  4. If none of the above apply, the RTO should contact the Info Line and advise that the RTO has not received the email.

How will I know if my provider is closing?

When a provider closes it is sometimes formally announced and you may receive correspondence informing you of the situation. However, in some cases students may find out the provider has closed because:

  • there are media reports on the closure
  • word-of-mouth news circulates
  • no one turns up to teach classes
  • no one replies to emails or answers phone calls to the RTO

In each of these circumstances it is important to verify what the situation actually is. You can contact ASQA on 1300 701 801 or email via enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au. ASQA can tell you the most up-to-date information we have received or investigate further.

The register of student records shows which student records ASQA has access to from providers that have closed over the past 12 months.

Can I deliver a qualification in a shorter timeframe than listed in the AQF volume of learning? (Clauses 1.1 – 1.2)

Each learner must gain and be assessed against all the knowledge and skills described in the training package or accredited course. Depending on the circumstances and the characteristics of your learners, it may be possible to achieve this in a shorter period than that described in the AQF.

Your RTO may structure a course to be completed in a in a shorter time period than that described in the AQF. In this case, you will need to clearly describe, using a rationale based on the previous skills and knowledge and the needs of learners, how a specific learner cohort:

  • has the characteristics to achieve the required rigour and depth of training, and
  • can meet all of the competency requirements in a shorter timeframe.

Your description must take into account the need to allow learners to reflect on and absorb the knowledge, to practise the skills in different contexts and to learn to apply the skills and knowledge in the varied environments that the ‘real world’ offers before being assessed.

For more information, refer to Clauses 1.1 - 1.4 of the Users' Guide.

How does "amount of training" compare to the AQF "volume of learning"? (Clauses 1.1 – 1.2)

The AQF provides the volume of learning allocated to a qualification. This includes all teaching, learning and assessment activities that are required to be undertaken by the typical student to achieve the learning outcomes. These activities may include guided learning (classes, lectures, tutorials, online or self-paced study), individual study, research, learning activities in the workplace, and assessment activities.

The amount of training provided by an RTO is part of the overall volume of learning and relates primarily to formal activities (including classes and other activities, as well as workplace learning). Your RTO is required to comply with the AQF in applying the volume of learning to training programs and must therefore develop and implement strategies for training and assessment that are consistent with the AQF.

For more information, refer to Clauses 1.1 - 1.4 of the Users' Guide.

What does ‘requirements of the training packages’ mean? (Clauses 1.1 – 1.2)

The ‘requirements of the training package’ are dependent on your strategy for delivery.

If your RTO is delivering a full qualification, ’requirements of the training package’ would include:

  • the qualification requirements
  • any unit of competency requirements, and
  • any other requirements specified in the endorsed components of the training package (in “old” training packages have Assessment Guidelines)
    • 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.

Clause 1.1 should also be read in conjunction with Clauses 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6.

For more information, refer to Clauses 1.1 - 1.4 and Clauses 1.5 - 1.6 of the Users' Guide.

Are there any particular training products that need to be validated more frequently?

ASQA has identified systemic risks with training in the following areas: equine, security, early childhood education and care, aged and community care, construction industry (‘white card’ training) and training and education (TAE). For the purpose of Clause 1.10, training products in these areas may need to be validated more frequently.

Do applicants applying for initial RTO registration need to meet financial viability requirements?

Yes, every initial registration process includes an assessment of financial viability. All applicants for initial registration need to complete and submit a Financial viability risk assessment pack (DOC).

Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements means the requirements made under section 158 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.

An RTO is required to present an acceptable level of financial risk at all times. ASQA can require an RTO to submit to a financial viability risk assessment at any time. Each RTO’s financial viability risk is assessed by ASQA to evaluate the likelihood of business continuity and the RTO’s capacity to achieve quality outcomes.

If I am delivering training under supervision, do I need the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment? (Clauses 1.17 - 1.20)

No, but you must either:

  • hold the TAESS00007 Enterprise Trainer—Presenting skill set (or its successor)
  • hold the TAESS00008 Enterprise Trainer—Mentoring skill set (or its successor)
  • hold the TAESS00003 Enterprise Trainer and Assessor skill set (or its successor), or
  • prior to 1 January 2016, be able to demonstrate equivalence of competencies.

In addition, you must have:

  • vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered or assessed, and
  • current industry skills directly relevant to the training and assessment being provided.

You must also be working under the supervision of a trainer and assessor who meets the requirements of Clauses 1.13 - 1.16.

What is ‘learner support’ and how do I know if my RTO is providing enough? (Clause 1.7)

‘Learner support’ includes any educational and support services that a learner may need to assist them in their training.

Prior to a learner's enrolment or commencement, your RTO needs to identify any additional support required and make the support available to the learner.

At minimum, you should:

  • identify any particular requirements such as literacy, numeracy, English language or physical capabilities that learners would need to complete each course, and
  • develop strategies to make support available where gaps are identified.

Your RTO must be able to demonstrate how it identifies support needs. For example, you could require learners to complete a self-assessment as part of the enrolment process. You also need to be able to demonstrate that additional support has been made available.

For further information, refer to Clause 1.7 of the Users' Guide.

As part of our strategy for training and assessment, my RTO clusters the assessment of units of competency. Do I need to offer Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in one unit of competency that is clustered with other units, or is there a discretionary el

Under the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, your RTO must offer recognition of prior learning (RPL) to individual learners—unless the requirements of the training package or licensing requirements prevent this.

Offering RPL ensures the learner has the opportunity to participate in assessment that is flexible and fair. Where units, and assessments, have been clustered:

  • In developing the assessment tools, your RTO should have a mechanism for ensuring all requirements of each unit of competency are addressed—for example, a mapping process. An RTO could use this mechanism to identify which components of an assessment have been addressed by awarding RPL for a unit, and which tasks are still required to be completed.
  • It is possible the units have been clustered because of their similarities. A student may be able to demonstrate competency by RPL for all units in the cluster.

For further information, refer to Clauses 1.8 - 1.12 of the Users' Guide.

Can I enrol new learners in a qualification that has been deleted from the National Register, training.gov.au?

Clause 1.26(d) of the Standards for RTOs 2015 states that an RTO must not allow a new learner to ‘commence training and assessment in a training product that has been removed or deleted from the National Register’.

Does my RTO need to have a written agreement with a third party if that party delivers only one unit out of a full qualification? (Clauses 2.3 - 2.4)

Yes, you must have a written agreement with any third party that provides services on behalf of your RTO.

For more information, please refer to Clauses 2.3 – 2.4 of the Users’ Guide.

Are RTOs able to provide RPL for their own trainers and assessors?

The VET Quality Framework or the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 do not prevent RTOs from providing and granting RPL and issuing AQF qualifications or statements of attainment to their own trainers and assessors. However, RTOs must be able to provide evidence which demonstrates how competence was determined prior to issuing AQF qualification or statement of attainment. For example, the RTO must be able to demonstrate compliance with Clause 1.8, ensuring that assessment complies with the requirements of the training package, is conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment and rules of evidence. In addition, the trainer and assessor delivering the training and conducting assessment must comply with Clauses 1.13 – 1.16.

As a trainer and assessor, do I need to hold the unit TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills? (Clauses 1.13 - 1.16)

The Standards do not require trainers/assessors to hold specific units of competency within the qualification.

Until 1 January 2016, trainers and assessors must:

  • hold the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, or its successor or
  • be able to demonstrate equivalence of competencies, or
  • hold a diploma or higher level qualification in adult education.

From 1 January 2016, trainers and assessors must:

  • hold the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, or its successor, or
  • hold a diploma or higher level qualification in adult education.

For more information, refer to Clauses 1.13 - 1.16 of the Users' Guide.

To be considered to be ‘vocationally competent’; does a trainer and assessor need to hold the qualification and each unit of competency they are delivering? (Clauses 1.13 – 1.16)

Under the Standards, each trainer and assessor is required to have vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered and assessed. This does not mean the trainer and assessor is required to hold that exact qualification or any specific unit of competency (unless this is specified in the training package).

In some cases, people may have significant industry experience but not hold any formal qualifications—in such cases, an RTO would need to analyse the skills and knowledge the trainer and assessor delivers and compare it to the trainer and assessor's actual industry skills and knowledge. Consider all units of competency (including electives) in this analysis to ensure that requirements for trainers and assessors specified in the training package or accredited course are met.

As an example, if an RTO offers the unit of competency SISFFIT310A Plan and deliver water based fitness activities within SIS30313 Certificate III in Fitness, but the trainer and assessor does not hold the unit SISFFIT310A:

  • Consider the specific skills and knowledge a person who can competently plan and deliver water-based fitness activities would hold. The person would need the knowledge and skills required to plan, deliver and evaluate water-based fitness activities for mainstream clients. They would be able to effectively apply aquatic instructional techniques and hydrodynamic principles on muscles, joints and cardiorespiratory system to ensure safe and effective fitness outcomes for clients (note – this is from the Unit Descriptor of the unit).
  • If you believe the trainer/assessor’s skills and knowledge match the description of a competent person in that unit, your RTO may be able to demonstrate that the trainer and assessor is vocationally competent.
  • The RTO may choose to create a ‘mapping tool’ to describe all of the requirements of the unit, and give a documented analysis of how the trainer and assessor has the required skills and knowledge.
  • As always, consider the currency of knowledge and skills.

For more information refer to Clauses 1.13 - 1.16 of the Users' Guide.

Note that different requirements apply to any AQF qualification or skill set from the Training and Education Training Package.

What is ASQA's policy on a provider issuing AQF qualifications to its own trainers and assessors?

The VET Quality Framework and specifically the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 do not prevent RTOs from providing training and assessment and issuing AQF qualifications to their own trainers and assessors; however, RTOs must be able to provide evidence of how competence was determined prior to issuing AQF qualifications or Statements of Attainment. For example, the RTO must be able to demonstrate compliance with Clause 1.8, ensuring that assessment complies with the requirements of the training package, is conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment and rules of evidence. In addition, the trainer and assessor delivering the training and conducting assessment must comply with Clauses 1.13 – 1.16.

What are the transition arrangements for non-equivalent training products?

The period to transition to the TAE-Training and Education Training Package (Release 2.0) has been extended from 12 months to 18 months. The transition period applies from the date the training products were released on training.gov.au. The revised TAE Training Package was endorsed by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) on 18 February 2016 and was released on 6 April 2016.

As such, the transition period for TAE Training Package products ends on 5 October 2017.

RTOs that have the relevant superseded training products on scope of registration and are transitioning to the new, non-equivalent training products are required to meet the additional evidence requirements outlined on ASQA’s website.

How do I measure the amount of training or length of time for online courses? (Clauses 1.1 – 1.2)

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) provides a guide to the volume of learning, which describes how long a learner who does not hold any of the competencies identified in the relevant units of competency would take to develop all the required skills and knowledge.

The amount of training provided by your RTO is part of the overall volume of learning. The amount of training relates primarily to formal activities including online or self-paced study.

The amount of training required for an online delivery mode comprises the formal, guided learning as well as any workplace learning. To ensure learners are able to obtain and absorb the required knowledge and skills prior to assessment, carefully choose and plan the resources you will use to guide them.

When designing a course for online delivery:

  1. Analyse the nature of your learner cohort.
  2. Consider any specific requirements of the training product (the qualification and each unit of competency).
  3. Use the analysis to determine how you will schedule training and assessment activities to ensure learners are able to fully develop the required skills and knowledge prior to being assessed.

Are RTOs applying to add TAE Training Package products to scope required to provide independent validation if they have TAE40110 or TAE50111 on their scope now that they have been superseded?

If your RTO has had the superseded TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or TAE50111 Diploma of Vocational Education and Training on scope in the previous 12 months, it must provide evidence of independent validation of these TAE Training Package products.

Can ASQA provide examples of best practice for checking the authenticity of online assessments?

Some examples of best practice for checking authenticity of online assessments might include: calling the learner and asking questions relating to assessment submitted or using the student’s webcam to take photos of the student at random intervals during the online assessment process.

What is the difference between an assessment tool and an assessment instrument? (Clause 1.8)

Assessment tools include the following components:

  • the context and conditions of assessment
  • the tasks to be administered to the student
  • an outline of the evidence to be gathered from the candidate
  • the evidence criteria used to judge the quality of performance (i.e. the assessment decision-making rules).

This term also takes in the administration, recording and reporting requirements of the assessment. An assessment tool may address a cluster of competencies as applicable for holistic assessment.

The tasks to be administered to the student, the outline of the evidence to be gathered from the student and the evidence criteria used to judge the quality of performance are sometimes referred to as the assessment instrument.

In providing assessment, your RTO must implement an assessment system. An assessment system:

  • is a coordinated set of documented policies and procedures (including assessment tools and other materials needed to perform the task), and
  • ensures assessments are consistent and are based on the Principles of Assessment and the Rules of Evidence.

Do I need a separate training and assessment strategy for each learner cohort or can I develop one that covers multiple learner cohorts?

RTOs must develop and implement strategies for training and assessment for each training product they are registered for. If the needs of different learner cohorts require different approaches to the delivery of training and/or assessment, your RTO may need to develop multiple training and assessment strategies.

There is currently a major problem with RTOs offering very short courses, which results in insufficient training. How do the new Standards address this issue? How is ASQA going to address "long weekend diplomas"? (Clauses 1.1 – 1.2)

The new Standards include stronger requirements for RTOs in relation to how they advertise and deliver courses to ensure learners actually have the skills and knowledge their certification describes.

In particular:

  • There is now a direct relationship between the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) volume of learning and an RTO's training and assessment strategies and practices (meaning that where providers are choosing to deliver courses shorter than the recommended AQF volume of learning period, they must be able to clearly describe, using a rationale based on the previous skills and knowledge and the needs of learners, how a specific learner cohort has the characteristics to achieve the required rigour and depth of training and can meet all of the competency requirements in this shorter timeframe).
  • Standards relating to marketing and advertising have been enhanced.
  • Increased measures to ensure the protection of consumers using VET recruiters have been introduced.

ASQA will address the issue of very short courses that do not deliver sufficient training through:

  • enforcing the increased provisions of the revised Standards
  • providing additional information and advice to help providers understand the requirements of the standards in relation to volume of learning, and
  • reviewing providers’ marketing and advertising materials as part of the risk assessment process in order to identify providers promoting excessively short courses.

What comprises ‘amount of training’? E.g. can amount of training include face-to-face, online learning, time spent on assessment and so on?

The amount of training provided by your RTO relates primarily to formal teaching and learning activities such as face-to-face classes, online lectures or tutorials and workplace learning. It does not include research or assessment activities.

The amount of training provided by an RTO is part of the overall ‘volume of learning’ as defined in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). You must consider the volume of learning when determining the amount of training your RTO will provide. You must be able to provide a rationale for any significant variation.

As part of the Rules of Evidence, under Currency, the Standards refer to ‘the very recent past’. What does this mean? (Clause 1.8)

The Standards require that evidence demonstrating current competency is from the present or the ‘very recent past’. The Standards do not specify the time that would be considered ‘very recent past’, as this may vary between industries.

However, trainers and assessors who have currently relevant skills and knowledge should be able to determine what constitutes ‘very recent past’ for their particular industry area. Your RTO must determine whether the evidence is recent enough to show the learner is competent at the time the assessor makes an assessment decision. For example, a computer programmer who has 10 years’ experience but has not been directly involved in hands-on programming work for the past three years may not have current skills in, or knowledge of, contemporary programming methods. However, the programmer may be able to update their skills and knowledge though a ‘gap training’ program.

This does not mean older evidence cannot be included in the evidence used to make an assessment judgement. However, older evidence must be supported by evidence that the person has the required skills and knowledge at the time of the assessment.

Can my RTO use third-party evidence to assess competence? Is a written agreement required to use third-party evidence? (Clause 1.8)

Using third-party evidence is different to using a third-party provider to provide services on behalf of your RTO.

To inform a judgement about whether a learner has achieved competency, evidence is often collected by the assessor. However, other people (such as workplace supervisors) can also report what they see or hear to the assessor. Evidence collected in this manner is called third-party evidence (it is also sometimes called ‘supplementary evidence’).

A person collecting third-party evidence is not conducting any assessment. It remains the role of your RTO's assessor to make the judgement about whether competency has been achieved.

Your RTO does not require a written agreement to collect third-party evidence.

ASQA has developed a Fact Sheet about using third party evidence to assess competence. This tool provides valuable guidance as to how to develop an assessment system that will lead to the collection of quality evidence.

However, a third-party provider is any party who provides services under your RTO's registration, including undertaking assessment of training products.

Your RTO does require a written agreement to use a third-party provider.

Can you provide some examples of how my RTO can authenticate online assessment? (Clause 1.8)

Showing authenticity in assessment means ensuring the evidence presented for assessment is the learner's own work.

ASQA does not prescribe the methods RTOs should use to ensure an assessment is authentic.

However, your RTO must consider how it will:

  • ensure that the evidence gathered "belongs" to the learner being assessed and that it provides evidence of that person's skills and knowledge, and
  • verify that the person you are enrolling, training and assessing is the same person that will be issued with a qualification or statement of attainment.

You may choose to utilise a mix of security measures to ensure authenticity.

One example might be:

  • confirming a student's identity by using an accredited third party to confirm the student is the person who registered for and completed the assessment, and
  • storing this confirmation with the assessment results.

There are many other security measures which RTOs can use.

If a student is enrolling in a diploma qualification and the entry requirement is a certificate IV qualification, can my RTO provide training and assessment in the entry requirement qualification to that student?

Your RTO can deliver the certificate IV in this case if:

  • the certificate IV is on your RTO's scope of registration
  • the student completes the certificate IV before starting the diploma qualification (as specified in the Department of Education and Training’s Training Package Products Policy).

What does a ‘training product’ mean?

The glossary in the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 defines the term ‘training product’ as including an ‘Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification, skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course [or] module’.

Pages