Step-by-Step Guide to Building Assessment Tools for Your RTO: A Beginner’s Edition Leave a comment

Step-by-Step Guide to Building Assessment Tools for Your RTO: A Beginner’s Edition

This blog will help to understand the basic concepts of assessment tools in VET sector.

Assessment Tool

The assessment tool consists of the assessment instrument, as well as the context and conditions in which the assessment takes place. Additionally, the assessment tool may include the necessary guidelines for administration, recording, and reporting of the assessment.

Assessment tools can take various forms, including written tests, practical assessments, observation checklists, and project-based assessments. They are designed to measure the competency of learners against specific learning outcomes and standards.

Difference between an assessment tool and an assessment instrument?

The assessment instrument is an integral component of the assessment tool. The assessment instrument refers to the documented activities designed to support the assessment method and collect evidence of student competence.

Examples of an assessment instrument may include:

  • Oral and written questions
  • Observation/demonstration checklists
  • Projects, case studies, and scenarios
  • Recognition or workplace portfolios
  • Workplace portfolios

An assessment instrument typically includes:

  • Tasks to be administered to the student
  • An outline of the evidence to be gathered from the candidate
  • Criteria used to assess the quality of performance (i.e., assessment decision-making rules)

The assessment tool comprises both the assessment instrument and the specific context and conditions of assessment. Additionally, an assessment tool may also encompass the requirements for administration, recording, and reporting of the assessment.

Source: ASQA website

Why Develop an Assessment Tool?

Developing an assessment tool is essential for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to ensure that their learners have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge required to meet industry standards and regulations. It also helps RTOs to comply with the requirements of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Furthermore, assessment tools provide a means for trainers and assessors to measure the effectiveness of their training programs. They help to identify areas where learners may need additional support and provide feedback to trainers on the quality of their training delivery.

Formative and summative assessment tool

There are two types of assessment tools that are commonly used in the education and training industry. Formative assessment is used to monitor and track progress during a unit. In contrast, summative assessment is used to evaluate the overall performance of a student or group of students at the end of a unit.

When developing an assessment tool for your Registered Training Organisation (RTO), it is important to consider both formative and summative assessment methods. This will ensure that your assessment tool provides a comprehensive evaluation of your students’ skills and knowledge, and helps you identify areas where improvement is needed.

Principles Of Assessment

The four principles of assessment are as follows:

  1. Fairness: RTOs ensure fairness in the assessment process by considering the individual learner’s needs and making reasonable adjustments. Learners should have a clear understanding of the assessment process, requirements, and their right to challenge assessment results if needed. The goal is to create an environment of equality and provide a level playing field for all learners.
  2. Flexibility: RTO assessments are flexible and accommodate the diverse needs of individual learners. This involves reflecting their needs, assessing skills acquired through various means, and using a range of assessment methods that best fit the context, unit, and the learner. Assessment methods may include alternative formats such as photos, audio recordings, and video evidence.
  3. Validity: Validity ensures that assessment decisions are based on evidence of competent performance. Assessments should cover the necessary skills and knowledge required for competent performance, integrate practical application, and align with unit(s) of competency and assessment requirements. Assessment tools must adequately cover all unit requirements and confirm repeatability of performance.
  4. Reliability: Reliability refers to consistently interpreted assessment outcomes. It means that under the same conditions and for the same unit of competency, different assessors should reach the same conclusion regarding the learner’s competency. Assessment tools should provide guidance to assessors, including clear instructions, assessment criteria, and space for comments to ensure consistent and reliable assessment outcomes.

RTOs aim to design their assessment tools and processes in a way that adheres to these principles, ensuring that assessments are fair, flexible, valid, and reliable. This helps maintain the integrity of the assessment process and promotes consistent and accurate evaluation of learner competency.

Rules Of Evidence

The four rules of evidence are as follows: Validity, Sufficiency, Authenticity, and Currency. These rules are closely related to the principles of assessment and highlight important factors in evidence collection for RTO assessments.

  1. Validity: The validity rule ensures that the assessment process accurately assesses the competency of the learner. RTOs ensure validity by covering the broad range of skills and knowledge required for competent performance, integrating practical application, and aligning learner performance with unit(s) of competency and assessment requirements. Different types of evidence, such as direct, indirect, and supplementary evidence, can be collected to prove competency.
  2. Sufficiency: The sufficiency rule focuses on the quality, quantity, and relevance of assessment evidence to make judgments about a learner’s competency. RTOs establish standards that align with the relevant industry and may require a minimum number of times a task is performed for sufficient learning. Assessors use comprehensive checklists or observations in the workplace or simulated settings to determine sufficiency. Simple explanations or tick boxes may not be sufficient.
  3. Authenticity: The authenticity rule ensures that the evidence presented in the assessment is genuinely the work of the learner. In face-to-face settings, authenticity is relatively straightforward, but it can be challenging in distance learning. Strategies to ensure authenticity include written agreements not to share login information, ID verification, signed declarations of originality, or using live webinar software for interviews or observations.
  4. Currency: The currency rule requires that the assessment evidence demonstrates current competency. The evidence must be from the present or very recent past. The definition of “very recent past” varies across industries, and some units may provide guidance on what is considered current. Generally, evidence collected more than two years ago is not considered current, but industry standards should guide RTOs in determining currency.

RTO assessment tools should facilitate adherence to these rules, allowing RTOs to confidently ensure the validity, sufficiency, authenticity, and currency of their assessments. Following these rules is crucial to prevent underqualified students and maintain compliance with regulations. Non-compliance can result in loss of funding or license revocation during audits.

How To Develop An Assessment Tool

To create effective and compliant assessment tools, VET Resources provides some important tips:

  1. Holistically review unit requirements: It is essential to carefully review all requirements of the unit, including performance evidence, knowledge evidence, assessment conditions, elements, performance criteria, and unit overview. This helps in identifying mandatory requirements and selecting appropriate assessment methods.
  2. Clear instructions for students and trainers: Assessment tool instructions should be clear and provide students with sufficient guidance on what to do, how to do it, and what evidence needs to be submitted. Instructions should also cover the appeal process, reasonable adjustments, required resources, and location. Clear benchmarking guides should be provided to ensure consistency among assessors.
  3. Create templates and checklists for consistency: Providing templates for students to complete and checklists with observable behaviors for trainers helps in achieving consistency in assessment. Templates simplify the assessment process for students, while checklists help trainers make accurate judgments.
  4. Clear mapping: Mapping documents are important to ensure that assessment tools align with the training package requirements. Clear mapping helps in demonstrating compliance and is useful for quality review and internal audits.

By following these tips, RTOs can create effective and compliant assessment tools that meet the needs of students and industry requirements.

VET Resources aims to provide top-quality resources validated by subject matter experts and compliance experts. They cover a wide range of vocational qualifications from Certificate I to Graduate Diploma level and strive to deliver resources that are suitable for Australian qualifications.

Please read this blog on developing assessment tools for further information.


Developing an assessment tool is essential for RTOs to ensure that their learners have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge required to meet industry standards and regulations. By following the steps outlined above, RTOs can develop effective assessment tools that measure the competency of their learners and provide valuable feedback to trainers and assessors.

Suggested Read: Ultimate Guide to Understand the Assessment Tools

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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