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Assessment Validation – is your RTO plan stacking up?

Quality review

Assessment validation is a quality review process – one that is needed within your RTO. It involves a person or a team of people evaluating assessment tools and the ensuing student evidence. It determines that that the assessment processes support the assessment results and that they are consistent across the organisation, fulfil the training package requirements, meet industry needs and comply with the rules of evidence and principles of assessment.

From the ASQA fact sheet: ‘A validation schedule is a five year plan; each training product must be reviewed at least once in that five-year period. At least 50 per cent of the training products must be validated in the first three years of the schedule’ If a product is identified as at risk it should be validated more often.

What happens when your RTO has qualifications on scope but they have not delivered all the units – do we need to validate ALL units of competency these units? Your RTO validation plan helps keep your RTO compliant

ASQA state that ‘each training product must be reviewed at least once in that five-year period’. A training product comes in many shapes; it could be your qualification, or if you deliver clusters of units, or single units as courses. Consider what courses you market – that will help you.

ASQA states: ‘If your RTO has a qualification on its scope of registration, you must validate that qualification. If your RTO has an explicit unit of competency on its scope of registration, you must validate that explicit unit.’

They also state: ‘If you are validating a qualification, validate the assessment practices and judgements from a sample of the units of competency within that qualification. At least two units of competency should be sampled when validating a qualification.’

Your validation schedule must reflect your current scope of registration and you should validate products that incur risk more often. It is beneficial if you show how you determined the risk on the plan (or as an attachment).

When you have a qualifications that contains various elective units you only need to validate the units you deliver to make up the qualification – elective units that you do not deliver are not part of your qualification.

Random sample

When you have made your decision on what units you are validating you then need to make random selection. A simple way to randomly select samples is to sort in date order and select every 5th name on the list.  If you need a larger sample you can go back to the top of the list and repeat the process with the remaining surnames.

Another way could be to use the alphabetical method. Sort the assessment results by surname (of the learners) then select the 5th surname on the list, then every 3rd surname thereafter.

The larger your sample size, the more sure you can be that it accurately reflects the population. This relates to confidence levels and the larger your sample size, the smaller your confidence interval. This relationship is not linear (doubling the sample size does not halve the confidence interval). Using the raosoft tool is useful. 

You have a 5-year period  

Use that time to review most of your units within your qualification. If you go on the ASQA definition then at the end of the 5 years registration period, any qualifications held in the RTO could only have 2 units validated each. However it is good practice to look beyond just these. Don’t forget the individual units as these also must be validated in that registration period.  

Validation team

The RTO is responsible and validators can be internal and/or external.

There are no hard and fast rules about the number of people who must be involved. Validation can be undertaken by one person or by a team of people. It is necessary to ensure that the people involved do hold the right qualifications and have appropriate experience. Your original trainer / assessor can be part of that team, but they are not to make up the TAE nor Vocational Competency requirements (see Std 1.9-1.11).

As you can imagine validation takes time. This varies depending on how many people are involved in the validation process and the type of discussion that takes place. Having a good lead will enable you.

Why is it important to conduct Assessment Validation?


  • contributes to continuous improvement
  • helps ensure that assessment meets the rules of evidence and complies with the principles of assessment
  • supports industry relevance
  • identifies assessment gaps
  • identifies inconsistencies in assessments or assessment results
  • is a quality review process
  • is expected by under the Standards for RTOs (meaning you need documented proof that validations have been undertaken) helps ensure that your RTO’s training and assessment practices are relevant to the needs of industry

What is moderation? 

 Moderation can be additonal to validation as described in the RTO Standards. According to the ASQA fact sheet

‘Moderation is a quality control process aimed at bringing assessment judgments 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 affect your RTO’s ability to undertake moderation activities, or any other process aimed at increasing the quality of assessment’.

Happy validating!

To find out how Merinda can help

with your assessment validation

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