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VET Assessment Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) Assessment for learning at La Trobe University is central to subject and course design, to promote, reinforce and reward student learning. Assessment in VET courses differs from assessment in traditional higher education subjects and courses. It follows a national competency-based structure.

(2) Assessment in all VET courses is criterion-referenced and based on National Competency Standards drawn from either Training Packages endorsed by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).) or courses accredited by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA).

(3) Assessment in VET programs complies with the Principles of Assessment (Table 1.8.1) and the Rules of Evidence (Table 1.8.2) of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015.

(4) To articulate the University’s approach to assessment of student work in Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs.

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Section 2 - Scope

(5) Applies to:

  1. All campuses 
  2. All coursework VET subjects
  3. All staff assessing student work in VET subjects
  4. All students completing VET assessment tasks

(6) Applies to all assessment for Vocational Education and Training (VET) AQF Awards.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(7) Criteria for success in VET courses are defined at a national industry level and endorsed by the National Quality Council or, in the case of Accredited courses, the Registration Authority.

(8) Assessment of VET students must meet the requirements of Standard 1 of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) 2013 ‘Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration.

(9) It should:

  1. meet the requirements of training packages and VET accredited courses; and 
  2. be responsive to industry and learner needs.

(10) Assessment should reflect the principles of validity, fairness, flexibility and reliability.

(11) Assessment outcomes are either ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent’ and learners have opportunities for further training and re-assessment.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Principles of Assessment

(12) The Senior Educator for each VET course ensures that assessment complies with the Principles of Assessment (validity, reliability, flexibility and fairness) by ensuring that:

  1. evidence presented for assessment is consistently interpreted and results are comparable irrespective of the assessor conducting the assessment(reliability);
  2. assessment is against the unit/s of competency and the associated assessment requirements covers the broad range of skills and knowledge that are essential to competent performance, is of knowledge and skills integrated with their practical application, is to be based on evidence that demonstrates that a learner could demonstrate these skills and knowledge in other similar situations; and the judgement of competence is based on evidence of learner performance that is aligned to the unit/s of competency and associated assessment requirements(validity);
  3. assessment reflects the learner’s needs, addresses the competencies held by the learner no matter how or where they have been acquired and draws from a range of methods and using those that are appropriate to the context, the unit of competency and associated assessment requirements and the individual(flexibility);
  4. reasonable adjustments are made where necessary to take account of individual learner’s needs; the candidate fully understands and can participate in the assessment process; and the candidate can appeal the result and/or be reassessed if necessary (fairness).

Part B - Rules of Evidence

(13) Rules of evidence provide guidance on the collection of evidence to ensure that it is valid, sufficient, authentic and current. To accept evidence as authentic, an assessor must be assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the candidate's own work. Competency requires demonstration of current performance, so the evidence collected must be from either the present or the very recent past (i.e. within the last three years). The quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment is sufficient to enable a judgement to be made of a learner’s competency

Part C - Assessment Strategy

(14) An assessment strategy is developed for each course, clearly outlining the methods of assessment for each unit of competency or group of competencies, the needs of the client/s, the context of assessment and the validation process. Consideration is given to the Evidence Guide outlined in each unit of competency.

Part D - Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

(15) Information on RPL is made available to students before they enrol. An RPL Manual outlines La Trobe RTO's approach to RPL for VET Students. The Manual also includes information and advice for assessors, information for students, a self-assessment form and an application form.

Part E - Assessment Methods

(16) Assessment methods may include: direct questioning combined with review of portfolio of evidence; third party reports of on-the-job or simulated workplace performance; direct observation of work performance; evaluation of candidates’ completed review/evaluation of case studies and reports; oral presentations; and written assignments or questioning to ascertain knowledge.

Part F - Assessment Tools

(17) Appropriate instruments and procedures are used to gather and interpret evidence of competence.

(18) Instruments are the specific questions or activities used to assess competence by the assessment method selected. An instrument may be supported by a profile of acceptable performance and the decision-making rules or guidelines to be used by assessors.

(19) Procedures are the information or instructions given to the student and the assessor about how the assessment is to be conducted and recorded.

Part G - Holistic Assessment

(20) Where appropriate a number of units of competency may be grouped together for holistic assessment. Training Packages and accredited courses provide advice on units that may be assessed together.

Part H - Students with Special Needs

(21) Assessors will make reasonable adjustment to assessment methods and tools to enable students with special needs to demonstrate competence.

Part I - Preparing for Assessment

(22) Clear information is provided to students regarding the method, context and timing of the assessment.

Part J - Conducting Assessment

(23) Assessment is conducted by persons, in addition to the requirements specified in Clause 1.14 and 1.15 of the Standards for RTOs 2015 who:

  1. have the relevant vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered and assessed; and
  2. current industry skills directly relevant to the training and assessment being provided; and
  3. current knowledge and skills in vocational training and learning that informs their training and assessment.

Part K - Feedback

(24) Feedback is constructive, timely and sufficient to inform the student of additional evidence/training they require to demonstrate competence.

Part L - Assessment Decision

(25) Each assessment activity is assessed as competent (C), not competent (NC) or not yet competent (NYC). A student is recorded as competent against the overall unit of competency when all assessment activities for the unit have been assessed as competent.

Part M - Student Rights

(26) Students have the right to re-assessment and to appeal an assessment decision. This applies only to work that is physically able to be reviewed or remarked (e.g. does not apply to field work or work examined orally).

(27) A student may have no more than one review and one re-mark of any individual piece of assessment or subject result.

(28) Review of work – Students with queries or concerns about an assessment task or outcome (i.e. they have been assessed as Not Competent (NC) shall first ask the assessor or Senior Educator to review the work with them within ten working days of the release of result.

(29) Re-mark of work – If the student is not satisfied with the result of the review, the student has a further ten working days to request of the Senior Educator to facilitate a re-mark of the assessment task.

(30) Grounds for Requesting remark – A student may request in writing a re-mark of an assessable piece of work only on the grounds that the original assessment was biased or failed to follow the published assessment criteria for the assessment task. The student must provide evidence to support the grounds claimed.

(31) Consideration of application for re-mark – The Senior Educator will receive the written request for re-mark and determine whether it complies with the requirements in this procedure and whether the reasons given by the student warrant the assessment being re-marked. If the Senior Educator decides against a re-mark, they will notify the student within ten working days, providing reasons for the rejection. The student may appeal against the decision: see below.

(32) Arrangements for remark – (If the Senior Educator agrees to a re-mark) they will arrange for a suitably qualified internal or external assessor. The re-marker will not know what result was originally awarded for the assessment task.

(33) Notification of Outcome – The Senior Educator will advise the student of the outcome within ten working days of the decision of the re-marker.

(34) Appeals – A student whose request for a re-mark is rejected may within ten working days of the notification appeal to the Dean of the School responsible for the subject. The Dean will investigate and either direct a re-mark, confirm the original mark and advise the student within 10 working days. A student has the right to appeal to the University Ombudsman and ultimately the State Ombudsman if still not satisfied.

Part N - Certification

(35) Students who complete the requirements for a VET qualification will receive a Record of Results. Students who partially complete the requirements for a VET qualification will receive a Statement of Attainment certifying the unit/s of competency they have been assessed as competent in. The protocols for issuing Records of Results and Statements of Attainment are set out in the current AQF Handbook.

Part O - Integrity and Moderation

(36) Where there is more than one assessor for a particular unit of competency, prior to finalising results the assessors will moderate their assessment methods, procedures and judgements against the particular unit to ensure quality, consistency and fairness. Judgements will be reviewed following this process and adjusted if required.

(37) To support continuous improvement, a systematic approach to validation of assessment is conducted annually with industry stakeholders and peer assessors in other RTOs.

(38) See VET Validation of Assessment Procedure.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(39) For the purposes of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA): is the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector. ASQA regulates courses and training providers to ensure nationally approved quality standards are met.
  2. Competency-based assessment (CBA): the gathering and judging of evidence in order to decide whether a person has achieved a standard of competence. Commonly applied in VET programs.
  3. industry stakeholders: subject matter experts from the relevant industry
  4. NVR: National Vet Regulator
  5. Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA): the Victorian Registration Authority, responsible for the regulation of education and training providers and qualifications in Victoria