Assessment systems are incremental in your RTO. There should be method in your madness when developing them. Meaning you should consider the student, the length of the course and any other factors that need to be considered for your learners. When collecting assessment evidence is isn’t just to show the end result. Consider collecting evidence to support the learning process.
When and why do we assess
When we are setting up our Assessment system we should consider the whole training course and how we can gather incremental pieces of information to support our students. We can do this by conducting formative assessments.
- Used to check students’ progress
- The information gained guides the next steps in instruction and helps teachers and students consider the additional learning opportunities needed to ensure success
Examples of Formative Assessments
- Tests and quizzes
- Asking questions
- Simple demonstrations
- Group exercises
These formative assessments are positive to the learner in a number of ways:
- Allowing the trainer to support anyone who is falling behind
- Giving the student a break from staring at the board (or death by PowerPoint)
- They allow consolidation through practice or information sharing
- Providing feedback to the trainer if they need to go over something in a different way
When conducting a training course that goes over a day it is important to have at least 1 if not a few formative assessments included in the program.
- Summative assessments provide trainers and students with information about the attainment of knowledge
- The goal is to evaluate student learning of competence
- It follows training and is mapped against units of competency
Examples of Summative Assessments
- Skills observation
- Completed tasks
- Third party reports supporting workplace application
When assessing candidates in the workplace you must be aware of the contextualisation for the performance. The assessor needs to be assured that the learner has the skills, knowledge and attributes as described in the unit of competency and associated assessment requirements. When in the workplace sometimes it is difficult to see performance of every task as required in the unit. Sometimes workplaces don’t do everything as your checklist requires. It is however, your role as an Assessor to make sure evidence is found. Sometimes this might mean a simulated activity.
Remember to record anything that is done so it is easy to follow when your evidence is being validated.
The next question I can hear you asking is what is mapped back to the unit. Well you could map everything back; the formative, the workplace and the summative assessments. If you map the formative assessments then they will become mandatory for every lesson. So as the developer of the assessment system you need to make a decision, and then provide that as an instruction to all of your assessors.
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The key to retaining good staff is to make sure that you encourage their professional development and training. Looking after your staff has so many more benefits than ticking off the RTO Standards. When your employees can see ways to improve themselves, or improve their position, or salary whilst in employment with you, they are likely to have high job satisfaction. This benefits you and your RTO through increased productivity and concern about quality. Your whole Human Resource management process is important within your RTO, as in any business, it brings unimaginable benefits. People are essential to the success of any business, and especially so in an RTO, where you need trainers and assessors. Getting the right people are key to your success, and the reason students rave about you. So often this part of the RTO gets neglected. The performance of employees can be a liability or asset to a company. They can really big the difference between getting new students, and filling courses, or not. I recall an RTO I was called in to help when they had a complaint emailed to them about one of their trainers. Now this RTO actually had known this trainer was saying inappropriate things for about 12 months before an actual complaint was made. What made this complaint so bad was it was from a client who never wanted to deal with them again. The client made up 80% of their business. We worked together on solutions, and rectifications, and thankfully we were able to bring back the business, even if they said they would never have this particular person back on their site. Bad huh? Yes. What I found even worse, was that they actually knew about the behaviour 12 months before, and had not done anything about it. That mistake could have cost them 80% of their business. Having an RTO is just not about meeting compliance, it is about running a business that truly looks out for all the stakeholders. Reviewing your Human Resource processes is just as important as reviewing your validation schedule, your customer service and your enrolment data. Although Staff Training is just a small part of the Human Resource process, it is really interesting to take a close look at it. This includes looking at the following key areas: Recruitment and selection Performance management Learning & professional development Succession planning Compensation and benefits Human Resources Information Systems The above are all basic areas, yet sadly I see they are being neglected within RTOs, as they actually are not specified within the RTO Standards. By recruiting well, and then on-boarding the team member allows them to understand your business, and most importantly allows them to perform at their best. This is a win for you. Once the employees are on board, and they’ve been given all the necessary help to know the job, the next step is having an effective performance management process. This is not just a once a year catch up. It is about understanding the employees, talking to them often, and getting feedback from them, and from others who work with them. Employees who are empowered to their full potential, improve the efficiency, sustainability, and profit margin of any business. By making this a continuous process you are able to see employees who consistently underperform. Sometimes they may not be a good fit for their role, or the RTO culture. When you’ve tried strategies to work with them with no success, then maybe these employees need to be let go. Training can improve business performance, profit and staff morale. Advantages to your business include: You choose what new skills your workforce acquires. You can target skills to meet the needs of your business for now and in the future You may be able to get government funding to help meet training costs Training your staff can result in better customer service, better work safety practices and productivity improvements You have longevity of staff showing you value them enough to invest in them. Training has many benefits for your staff They acquire new skills, increasing their contribution to the business and building their self-esteem The training they do can take them into other positions within the organisation – positions with better prospects and/or better pay They’re motivated and come with fresh ideas When they’re being trained on your time, they see that you value them enough to invest in them. You become a valued employer. A good company is seen as one that retrains rather than churns. Succession planning helps you and your students so that you are ready with contingencies in case of key employees leaving the business. If, for example, a crucial trainer quits his/her job, having someone who can step up will guarantee continuity and can save the RTO significant money. Retaining and motivating staff is key for your RTO. One of the areas that needs to be addressed is ensuring equity and fairness of pay within the RTO and considering external factors. Obviously this must be balanced with the RTO budget and profit margins. Pay increases need to be monitored on occasions conduct a pay audit. Keeping track of your employees in a digital format supports the business. For me it’s a no brainer as I’ve been working with HR system for over 30 years (yes, OK that is for some time!). I can’t work without them. So I’m just saying they add value, and save you time. Think of these basics as building blocks that all contribute to each other. Collectively, these HR fundamentals enable your RTO workforce to perform at its very best. Enabling you to increase your targets and bottom line results.
Your RTO Success depends on you constantly looking at your business. Working on your business, managing the numbers and reviewing the metrics. Your RTO Success relies on you looking at the following: Maintain your Focus for the Long Term. Focusing on the students is a positive and much can be achieved by listening to what they want. This information will provide you with a long term strategy – what courses they want, how they want them, and when. Yes we sure do need to buckle up and get ready for the ride, seize the moment and transform it into an opportunity — an opportunity to sharpen the focus of your RTOs vision and long-term goals. You might be pleasantly surprised what the students have to say. Maintaining Your Focus on Service Quality. Service quality continues with the student focus. Establish systems that provide service, and continue to provide what the client wants. Maybe it is time to change them up and amend those training and assessment strategies and internal processes to deliver the greatest value to your customers and clients. My best advice is to listen to your clients and they will tell you how you can improve. Consider ways to support them and their learning. Keeping up with Innovation. One of the key aspects of the current environment is the innovation that is out there to support the students and the trainers. It seems there is an app or online tool for everything, and so many that can be used to provide a better student experience. Whether they are used to create and share lessons on your tablet, flipping classrooms, creating your own animated videos or allowing students to imagine, write, illustrate and share their own stories. Then of course there are the many social media platforms where students/ trainers can bring together content and share in various ways. Perhaps now is the time to start researching those apps, and maybe implementing one or two into your training delivery model. The RTOs who can harness the power of digital data, and keep compliance will be the big winners. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (remember your continuous improvement). Be bold, think big and learn along the way. Let’s Talk about your business How is the energy you are putting into your business? Is it running a bit low? Are you feel like the right clients wont come to you? Or your revenue isn’t growing, or worse, it’s staying the same, month after month? You can’t seem to build the right team, or structure… and basically so much about it it is frustrating? Interested to find out how we can help you? MORE by clicking the button… Click here
There are so many considerations, however I would like to provide you with a guide that may make the decision easier. The best way to do this is to consider all of the possible advantages and disadvantages of buying an RTO before making a decision.
It is always a good idea to go out and do your own research and come to your own well evidenced conclusion! Ultimately, mapping should be just one way you are ensuring that your training and assessment are meeting the required standards and ensuring high quality outcomes for your RTO and more importantly, your students! Quality training and assessment leads to quality outcomes.