Key Assessment Concepts in VET

What is this course about?

This course covers concepts related to assessing competency in vocational education and training (VET). 

Learning objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:


There are 7 modules in this course:

  1. Course instructions
  2. Competency-based assessment
  3. Principles of assessment
  4. Rules of evidence
  5. Compliant assessment tools
  6. Formative theory assessment
  7. Course conclusion

Module 1: Course instructions

Course instructions

This course should take about 15 minutes to complete. 

Read the course content and complete the quiz questions to reinforce important information.

There is a formative theory assessment to complete at the end of the course.

Click the "Home" button below when you are ready to proceed.

Then click the "Start" button to commence each module.

Click the "Next" button to move to the following page or click the "Previous" and "Next" page arrows to navigate forward and back.

Click the "Take a break" button to close the course; you may return to your current location in the course at any time.

Module 2: Competency-based assessment

Competency-based assessment

Competency-based assessment in VET is the process of collecting evidence and making judgements on whether competency has been achieved to confirm that an individual can perform to the standard expected in the workplace, as expressed in endorsed industry/enterprise units of competency of a training package or the learning outcomes of an accredited course.

Types of assessments

When can assessment take place?

Individuals can be assessed:

  • during their training - formative assessment
  • at the end of, or after, their training - summative assessment
  • without undertaking any training because they consider themselves to be already competent - recognition of prior learning (RPL) 

Identifying competency

When is someone considered competent in VET?

An individual is considered competent in VET when they have completed assessment that verifies that they hold all aspects of the standard against which they have been assessed (e.g. a unit of competency), and these can be applied in an industry/workplace context. 

Assessment results

Assessment results in competency-based assessment are either:

  • competent (C); or
  • not yet competent (NYC).

Evidence of competency

What is evidence used for?

Evidence is collected by an assessor to make a judgement about whether a candidate is competent.

It is the responsibility of the assessor to determine what evidence and how much evidence is required to make the assessment judgement. However, training packages provide guidance on the evidence required and further advice may be gained through industry consultation.

Types of evidence

The type of evidence collected may be:

  • direct - e.g. observation of workplace performance
  • indirect - e.g. written or verbal questioning or simulated practical activities
  • supplementary - e.g. testimonials from employers

Competency-based assessment

Competency-based assessment is the process of collecting  and making a  on whether has been achieved, to confirm that an individual can perform to the  expected in the  as expressed in the endorsed competency standards of a or the learning outcomes of an accredited course.

Types of assessment

 is conducted during training.

 is conducted at the end of, or after training.

 is conducted without training.

Types of evidence

  • Direct
    Workplace observation
  • Indirect
    Written or verbal questions; simulated practical tasks
  • Supplementary
    Manager's testimonial/workplace validation activities

Module 3: Principles of assessment

Principles of Assessment

There are four (4) principles of assessment outlined in the Standards for RTOs 2015:

  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
  • Validity
  • Reliability 


Assessment is fair when:

  • the individual learner’s needs are considered in the assessment process;
  • where appropriate, reasonable adjustments are applied by the RTO to take into account the individual learner’s needs; and
  • the RTO informs the learner about the assessment process, and provides them with the opportunity to challenge the assessment result and be reassessed if necessary.


Assessment demonstrates flexibility by:

  • reflecting the learner’s needs;
  • assessing competencies held by the learner no matter how or where they have been acquired; and
  • drawing from a range of assessment methods and using those that are appropriate to the context, the unit of competency and associated assessment requirements, and the individual.


Assessment is valid when:

  • any assessment decision is justified, based on the evidence of performance of the individual learner.

Validity requires:

  1. assessment against unit/s of competency and associated assessment requirements, covering the broad range of skills and knowledge essential to competent performance;
  2. assessment of knowledge and skills, integrated with their practical application;
  3. assessment based on evidence that demonstrates a learner could demonstrate these skills and knowledge in other similar situations; and 
  4. judgement of competence based on evidence of learner performance aligned to the unit/s of competency and associated assessment requirements.


Assessment is reliable when:

  • evidence presented for assessment is consistently interpreted; and 
  • asessment results are comparable, irrespective of the assessor conducting the assessment.

What are the 4 principles of assessment?

  • Authenticity
  • Currency
  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Sufficiency
  • Validity
Select four responses below.

Module 4: Rules of evidence

Rules of Evidence

There are four (4) rules of evidence outlined in the Standards for RTOs 2015:

  • Validity
  • Sufficiency
  • Authenticity
  • Currency


An assessment is valid when...

the assessor is assured that the learner has the skills, knowledge and attributes as described in the module or unit of competency and associated assessment requirements.


There is sufficient evidence when...

the assessor is assured that the quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence enables a judgement to be made of a learner’s competency.


Evidence is authentic when...

the assessor is assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the learner’s own work.


Evidence is current when...

the assessor is assured that the assessment evidence demonstrates current competency; this requires the assessment evidence to be from the present or the recent past.

What are the 4 rules of evidence?

  • Authenticity
  • Currency
  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Sufficiency
  • Validity

Which rule of evidence applies?

    Assessment evidence determines the candidate has the skills, knowledge and attributes described in the unit of competency and the assessment requirements of the training package
    The quantity, quality and relevance of assessment evidence enables a judgement to be made about a candidate's competency
    Assessment evidence is the candidate's own work
    Assessment evidence is from the present or recent past to demonstrate the candidate is competent at the time of assessment

Module 5: Compliant assessment tools

Assessment tools and instruments

Assessment tools:

  • are also called evidence-gathering tools
  • contain both the instrument and the instructions for gathering and interpreting evidence in an assessment process
  • are part of the resources used for effective and safe assessment practice within a quality  assurance framework

The assessment instrument refers to the:

  • tasks to be administered to the candidate
  • outline of evidence to be gathered from the candidate 
  • evidence criteria used to judge the quality of performance

Components of a compliant assessment tool

Components of a compliant assessment tool include the:

  • context of assessment, including the purpose of the assessment
  • conditions of assessment
  • tasks the candidate will be participating in
  • evidence to be gathered from the candidate
  • evidence criteria used to judge the quality of performance (i.e. assessment decision-making rules)
  • administration, recording and reporting requirements

Characteristics of a compliant assessment tool

An assessment tool should have the following characteristics to meet the principles of assessment:

  • assessment context and conditions made explicit  (Reliability; Fairness)
  • necessary information/instruction provided to candidate and assessor (Reliability; Fairness)
  • task and evidence to be collected made explicit  (Validity; Reliability; Fairness)
  • materials / resources required are defined and available  (Validity; Reliability; Fairness)
  • allowable assessor intervention and reasonable adjustments defined  (Reliability; Flexibility; Fairness)
  • marking guide; decision making rules available  (Reliability; Fairness)
  • mapping of assessment items against unit requirements  (Validity)
  • recording and reporting requirements, including version control  (Reliability)

Principles of assessment and assessment tools

How to ensure assessment tools meet the principles of assessment


Do the assessment tools address all aspects of the unit(s)?

  • Mapping

Do the assessment items and processes address industry needs?

  • Validation

Are the assessment tasks and questions set at an appropriate AQF level?

  • Language 
  • Complexity


Do the assessment items and processes generate consistent outcomes?

  • Clear instructions for candidate and assessor
  • Marking guides that include decision-making rules
  • Version control


Do the assessment tools and processes allow for different learning styles and for individual needs?

  • Reasonable adjustment


Are the assessment tools and processes free of bias? Do they disadvantage any candidate?

  • Treating everyone the same is not “fair”
  • Options and choices

Applying principles of assessment to assessment tools

  • Reasonable adjustment
  • Mapping
  • Marking guides including model answers
  • Providing a sign language translator

Formative theory assessment

Assessment instructions

Following are eight (8) questions that you need to complete in your formative theory assessment for this course.

You must answer all questions correctly to achieve a 'Satisfactory' result for this assessment.

You will be provided with the opportunity to re-answer each question if you answer incorrectly.

Good luck - click "Next" to start your assessment.

Q1: Mapping assessment against a unit of competency is MOST related to which principle of assessment?

  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Validity

Q2: Assessment tools, evidence and practices

  • Assessment tools are used by both assessors and candidates
  • Assessment tools only require instructions for the candidate
  • Assessment evidence must be less than 3 months old to be current
  • Reasonable adjustment allows assessors to significantly reduce the type and volume of assessment activities and evidence requirements for very experienced candidates, who because of their experience, are automatically assumed to meet all unit requirements

Q3: Types of assessments

  • Summative assessment is conducted during training.
  • Formative assessment is conducted at the end of, or after, training.
  • RPL assessment is conducted without training.

Q4: What are the three (3) types of evidence?

  • Authentic
  • Current
  • Indirect
  • Direct
  • Supplementary

Q5: Rules of evidence

A manager's signature on a candidate's assessment coversheet would support the  rule of evidence.

Q6: Which principle of assessment does a marking guide most satisfy?

  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Validity

Q7: The 2 assessment results possible for a unit of competency are:

  • Competent
  • Not yet competent
  • Satisfactory
  • Not satisfactory

Q8: Compliant assessment tools contain:

  • The assessment instrument
  • The assessment instructions

Module 7: Conclusion

Course conclusion


You have now completed the course.