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Do you ever wonder how, in 2018, we still have the majority of RTOs failing miserably in demonstrating they appropriately assess their students? Or why they can’t meet the required standards set out in a unit of competence (UOC) or assessment requirement document?
They seem to be unable to show how they meet the rules of evidence and principles of assessment. Are RTOs taking their role in assuring competent outcomes seriously? Do RTOs understand how to validate assessments against UOC and assessment requirements?
The latest ASQA stats would show that the answer to these questions is NO. The majority of RTOs either don’t care OR have no idea or inclination of how to ensure their assessments meet the requirements.
ASQAs 2017 report shows that:
- Around 72% of RTOs FAIL audit on Assessment
- Approximately 50% of those FAIL to be able to rectify their assessment tools on resubmission under the OLD audit model
The RTO implements an assessment system that ensures that assessment (including recognition of prior learning):
a) complies with the assessment requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited course.
b) is conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment contained in Table 1.8-1 and the Rules of Evidence contained in Table 1.8-2.
So, before proceeding, I think I should point out some of the very serious consequences RTOs face.
Under the new ASQA Audit model:
- There may be NO opportunity to rectify critical non-compliances
- Initial registration clients with critical non-compliances are unlikely to get an opportunity to rectify and potentially would be unable to reapply
- Registered RTOs risk sanctions, conditions, or even worse cancellations for critical non-compliances on the first audit
With these consequences in mind, it is really important to understand that there are very few assessment tools that you can take off the shelf and pass an audit. RTOs MUST validate and rectify ALL resources prior to use. “Running the Gauntlet” in the hope that your stuff is compliant is madness, and will likely cost you your RTO.
So why do we still see this every day? Why are 90% of RTOs who contact us wanting the cheapest resources without any consideration of compliance? Where is the quality focus, given the massive risk? To me, as the owner of three RTOs, I find this perplexing! I decided I would list some tips I believe RTOs must follow to ensure they minimise risk, as well as deliver quality training and assessment.
Tips to Avoid Having Non-Compliant Assessment Tools at ASQA Audits
- Avoid making resource buying decisions on cheapest price alone. Price does not necessarily indicate quality and price should not be the determining decision making factor. Quality must be paramount.
- Shortlist your resources based on quality first (eg. Compliance with the unit of competency requirements).
- Have an experienced and reputable RTO Consultant validate the TWO best supplier assessment tools against unit requirements. Choice of Validator is critical. Your resources are only as good as the person validating them!
- Purchase the resource that performs best from your validation outcomes.
- Once purchased, have an experienced and reputable RTO Consultant validate all assessment tools against unit requirements.
- Rectify and issues found prior to audit OR using them to ensure 100% compliance
When we give RTO’s advice like this, we generally hear that they don’t have the budget to spend money on quality resources. I would argue the opposite, you simply can’t afford to buy rubbish.
ASQA spend 90% of their time at a one or two day audit looking at assessment tools and assessment evidence from completed students. This is the one area you cannot afford to cut corners.
With this, I will pose a few questions I often ask our clients:
- How can you validate and rectify a printed resource?
- How can you contextualise a printed resource?
- Have you had an experienced RTO Consultant validate the resources you currently use?
- Have you considered the scrutiny your assessment tools will be under by ASQA?
- Are you aware that if you have a critical non-compliance in an assessment tool (eg. This is as simple as having one gap) you may not get a chance to rectify and will likely have your application rejected for new RTO registrations OR sanctions/cancellations or conditions imposed for registered RTOs?
We are in a VERY different regulatory climate now. ASQA is clamping down on new RTO applications, particularly RTOs who are not ready to deliver, train and assess with a quality TAS that aligns with their resources, or don’t have all their resources validated and ready to go.
The risks are now greater than ever eg. failed application due to no ability to rectify, and potentially, no chance to even reapply for registration. ASQA will forensically audit complete assessment tools from two units from each qualification on your scope. If you haven’t done the same forensic scrutiny on ALL units and rectified issues, you will be in a lot of trouble come audit.
The game has stepped up and your RTO needs to keep up. If you haven’t had an ASQA audit for a couple of years, I sincerely suggest you get up to speed with the new level of requirements. The training materials and compliance processes that you passed with two years ago will likely no longer pass audit now.
You need to use a risk-based approach to selecting your resources to ensure your RTO will survive into the future. Choose your learning resources wisely and do your homework to ensure that you are selecting the correct learning and assessment tools that will survive ASQA audit.
Learning Resources Providers who promise you will pass audit cannot be trusted and have nothing to lose if you fail. Most just promise to rectify for you, however, those days have changed. Your RTO is 100% responsible on audit day and YOU need to be absolutely sure all your assessment tools meet the grade. The penalties are just too great! Your RTO is too valuable to leave in the hands of suppliers.
At totalVET we partner with our Premium Publishing Partner Compliant Learning Resources, who has some of the best quality and most compliant RTO training resources around. We recommend that you check them out when considering new training resources or materials for your RTO. You should still validate them. Never leave anything to chance. Only move forward with the best.
I hope that this article has inspired you to review your current assessment tools and to ensure you will make the grade. This is the only way you can truly say you deliver quality training and assessment.