Assessment Writing: Ultimate guide for observable behaviour Leave a comment

As you know, assessment documents are the most important document for RTO. Therefore, RTO must ensure that assessment documents meet the training package and ASQA requirements.

In the ASQA audit report, auditors give non-compliance related to observable behaviour. We have created this blog, so you can understand this topic and implement it in your assessment documents.

What is observable behaviour?

Observable behaviours are events or actions that are performed by an individual.

In simple words, observable behaviour includes anything a person can see someone else doing, for example, walking, picking up the box or changing a nappy. The observable behaviour has end goals that a person performing a task aims to achieve.

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Why is it important to define a behaviour?

Clearly defining the observable behaviour enable the assessor to better understand the expected end goals of the task. It also enables to bring consistency when different assessors are observing students.

What happens when the observable behaviour is not clearly defined?

When the observable behaviour is not clearly defined, it may be open to interpretation, and when different assessors observe the students, they may come up with different answers. For example, The assessor who has just started in the role might not have in-depth experience and knowledge as compared to the one who is already working in the field for more than twenty years, and when they might be observing the class to check the student competency, they both might end up with a different set of observable behaviour which will not bring consistency between the assessment methods and will lead to a breach of the:

Clause 1.8-1: Principles of assessment-Reliability-that clearly defines that the “Evidence presented for assessment is consistently interpreted and assessment results are comparable irrespective of the assessor conducting the assessment.”

When and where to record observable behaviour?


Where the assessor needs to watch the students perform the actual task and then make their judgment of competence


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Observable behaviours will generally be evidenced and recorded by using a tool such as an observation checklist that enables the assessor to:

  • Observe the students in an intensive way
  • It helps to take structured notes that can be referred to when making the assessment decision,
  • To provide informed feedback to students and
  • To enhance the objectivity of the assessment decision.

Types of observable behaviours

There are two types of observable behaviour that the assessor needs to keep in mind while observing the students:

Types of observable behaviours

Soft skills:

Soft skills are the skills that describe how an individual work or interact with others. These are also known as non-technical skills.

Soft skills

For example:

  • Effective communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail

Technical skills

Technical skills are the specialised knowledge and expertise required to perform a specific task

Technical skills

For example:

  • Painting
  • Making a sandwich
  • Lifting a box
  • Changing a nappy

How to create an observable behaviour?

Observations need to be broken down into what the assessor is expected to ‘see’.

For instance, what are you looking for if you need to see a student ‘follow WHS requirements?

What examples of communication are you looking for if you need to see them ‘communicate effectively?

The below-provided table shows an example of the observable behaviour:

Example of observable behaviour
Observable behaviour for safe lifting technique

  • Assessed the areas and the load
  • Made sure there were no obstructions on the way
  • Kept a wide base of support:
    • Shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other
    • Squatted down, bending at the hips and knees only.
    • If needed, placed one knee on the floor and another knee in front and bent at a right angle (half kneeling).
  • Kept good posture.
    • Look straight ahead, and kept the back straight,
    • chest out, and shoulders back.
  • Slowly lifted the box by straightening hips and knees
  • Kept back straight, and didn’t twist as the box was lifted
  • Held the load as close to the body as possible, at the level of the belly button.
  • Used feet to change direction, taking small steps.
  • Lead with hips as changed the direction.
  • Kept shoulders in line with hips as student moved.

Suggested Read: Understanding ASQA Performance Assessment: What You Need to Know

The information presented on the VET Resources blog is for general guidance only. While we strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee the completeness or timeliness of the information. VET Resources is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Always consult a professional for advice tailored to your circumstances.

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