by Sandy Welton
The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 is the legislative instrument that all RTOs must comply with.
Clauses 1.9 to 1.11 of the Standards requires assessment judgements to be validated according to a documented plan, so that all “training products” (qualifications etc. listed on training.gov.au as the RTO’s explicit scope) are validated at least once every 5 years.
RTOs need to validate a “statistically valid sample” of the assessment judgements for each of the qualifications – so not every unit and every candidate but enough to be a valid sample of the whole. The ASQA site has a sample calculator. For 100 judgements, using the default settings on the calculator, 31 must be validated.
The reason I mention this is to emphasise that a validation meeting needs to achieve a great deal in a short time, which brings me to my question – what exactly does validation of assessment judgements involve?
The Standards define validation as follows:
Validation is 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.
You can see that this definition is open to interpretation.
Clearly, a review cannot be a re-assessment of the candidate’s work. If this were done for 31 assessments it would never be achieved in a validation meeting. It is not practical to go back over all the evidence to see whether we agree with the assessor’s judgement.
Remembering that this is a “quality review of the assessment process”, validation is mainly making sure that all the instruments in the tool are correctly completed and that the assessor has documented their decisions and justified their reasons for the decisions. Once this is done, the meeting can decide whether the tool produced valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence and consider areas for future improvement.
This is why assessors need to carefully document not just their judgement but how they came to that judgement.
Please feel free to share your experiences regarding validation.