Here, we discuss the different types of evidence, as well as what you need to consider when involving other parties in evidence collection.
What is evidence?
Evidence is the information collected that provides proof of competency for a corresponding unit or module. It can be collected in various forms from different sources.
What are the forms of evidence?
Direct evidence is observed or witnessed by the assessor. This includes:
- Observation of workplace performance
- Oral questioning
- Challenge test
- Role play
- Work samples
Indirect evidence is collected and then reviewed by the assessor. This includes:
- Finished products
- Written assignments
Supplementary evidence is collected by someone else and then presented to the assessor to support a learner’s claim of competence. This includes:
- Reports from supervisors, colleagues and/or clients (third party reports)
- Testimonials from employers
- Work diaries
- Training records
Important Note: According to ASQA, not one type of evidence is more important than another. Training packages and accredited courses describe the required outcomes of assessment and provide advice about scope and context, but the RTO Standards Guide or training product guidelines don’t detail what type of evidence, or how much, is required. This will come down to your Training and Assessment Strategies.
In order for an RTO to determine whether a learner has achieved competency, they must gather sufficient evidence of the learner’s competence. This evidence can be collected from a range of sources in line with the RTO’s training and assessment strategies. The evidence is assessed to establish if the learner’s performance is up to the workplace standard, as described in the applicable endorsed unit or module.
RTOs must ensure that a suitable balance of evidence is achieved and that all of it meets the Rules of Evidence: Validity, Sufficiency, Currency, Authenticity.
The quality of all evidence collected is important when making a sound judgment about competence as opposed to the quantity, type and where or by whom it was collected.
Using Other parties to Collect Evidence
Other parties are involved in the collection of evidence so assessors can gather authentic and valid evidence where it might not otherwise be possible. For example, workplace evidence may be required but the assessor is not able to directly assess the learner at work. This may be because:
- The presence of an assessor may compromise workplace safety
- Workplace activities involve patient confidentiality/privacy i.e. in a Drs surgery etc.
Other parties can also collect evidence of ‘everyday performance’ rather than having it take place as part of a formal assessment.
Other Parties vs Co-assessment Arrangement
Using other parties to collect evidence and contribute it as part of a collection is different to a ‘co-assessment’ arrangement, where an assessor works with another party to conduct assessment.
Important Note: When other parties are involved in evidence collection, it is still the role of the assessor to make the judgement about competency.
As stated in clauses 1.13 and 1.14 of the RTO Standards Guide, training and assessment can only be delivered by individuals with the relevant vocational competencies (the minimum is the level being delivered and assessed), current industry skills and up-to-date knowledge and skill in vocational learning plus the appropriate training and assessment qualifications as specified in Schedule 1 of the RTO Standards Guide.
Under a co-assessment arrangement, a qualified trainer and assessor may work with an industry expert to conduct assessment and they may be involved in assessment judgement. It is not necessary in this instance for the industry expert to hold training and assessment competencies. The qualified trainer and assessor will work with the industry expert to make judgement about whether competency has been achieved.
With a co-assessment arrangement, it is expected that an agreement will be put in place to describe each party’s roles and responsibilities (Note: this does not establish a third party arrangement however, where the final assessment judgement is made by the assessor at the RTO).
Considerations When Using Evidence Collected by Other Parties
RTOs must decide when it’s appropriate to include another party in the collection of evidence. The assessment process must lead to the collection of quality evidence. Adequate guidance must be provided to assessors and other parties by:
Who – Assessors need to be provided with extensive advice about nominating the person/s best suited to collecting the evidence. This could be a workplace manager, supervisor, etc.
What – The materials used for collecting evidence must seek/solicit/allow for feedback that is directly related to the relevant unit(s) of competency. Make sure you provide quality materials here to make the process of collecting evidence easy to follow.
Why – The Other party needs extensive information about the importance of their role. Information provided must explain the type of evidence to be collected as well as when, how, and the frequency and duration that evidence is to be collected. You need confirmation that the other party understands their role.
How – when giving the task to the other party the following must be considered:
How to interpret the Training package. The Other party should be able to understand the following:
- a specific work activity
- the conditions under which this work activity is conducted
- the evidence that may/must be gathered in order to determine whether the activity is being performed in a competent manner.
How the assessor will confirm the authenticity of the evidence provided by a candidate/Learner. Including some video evidence with the candidate holding up their identification to the camera at the start of the assessment or using log books that are signed off regularly, are great places to start.
Here are some other resources you might find useful about the Rules of Evidence, Principles of Assessment, and Volume of Learning.