This blog has been updated for freshness and relevancy…
If you work for an RTO, chances are that you are aware of how important compliance is. It is a hot topic here at Cloud Assess, and one that we speak to RTOs about regularly.
Here, we discuss the 5 most common compliance concerns we hear about, and some of the steps that must be taken to stay compliant.
Concern #1: Enrolment Process
It is important to provide protection to learners when they are in this phase of their journey as many have reported that they are not receiving the information required to make an informed decision.
This lack of communication can have a significant negative impact on students that can lead to non-completion and financial loss. Prospective students must be provided with clear information that will allow them to make an informed decision regarding the suitability of the course and RTO.
Pre-enrolment or pre-training checks are required to identify any support that may be required. In addition, students must be given clear and accurate information about the following:
- Full course and title
- Third-party arrangements
- Venue, length and modes of delivery and/or assessment
- Entry requirements
- Support services
- Fee information
- Funding entitlements
- Consumer rights
- Information about the USI (unique student identifier)
Making an effort to ensure that students end up in the right course is key to maintaining student satisfaction and encouraging successful completion. ASQA reports that there are a significant number of complaints about RTO fees and refunds, as well as the lack of information provided prior to enrolment. Not only can this damage the integrity of the RTO, but failing to communicate required information during this phase can lead to non-compliance.
Concern #2: Student Support and Progression
RTOs must ensure that individual students are receiving the support required to maintain satisfaction and encourage successful completion. Students must be made aware of how to seek support, so they can be proactive when support is required.
RTOs must be able to demonstrate and provide evidence that they have implemented systems and processes to identify students’ needs, and act appropriately to accomodate them. ASQA regularly surveys students in order to find out about their learning needs and whether or not their RTO offered them the required support.
Further evidence may be required to demonstrate the effective management and resolution of students’ concerns, complaints and appeals. This could include, but is not limited to, proof of information about how students, staff and third parties are made aware of the policies and processes, data about the complaints and appeals process to ensure timeliness, and a complaints register that keeps records of what actions were taken to address the problems, and changes that the RTO made to the system after reviewing the complaints and appeals.
Concern #3: Evidence Collection
The Rules of Evidence are very closely related to the Principles of Assessment and highlight the important factors around evidence collection. The four Rules of Evidence are; Validity, Sufficiency, Authenticity and Currency.
What do each of these rules mean for RTOs?
The Validity rule is based on the assessor being confident that the learner has the skills, knowledge and attributes required in the module or unit of competency and assessment. Essentially, it means that the assessment process does what it claims, assesses the competency of the individual learner.
The Sufficiency rule, much like the Validity rule, is based on the assessor being confident that the quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence allows judgement to be made on a learner’s competency.
The Authenticity rule is based on the assessor being confident that the evidence presented in assessment is indeed the work of the learner.
The Currency rule is based on the assessor being confident that the evidence presented in assessment demonstrates current competency. The assessment evidence must be from the present or very recent past.
Your RTO Assessment tool should enable you to be confident about the Validity, Sufficiency, Authenticity and Currency of your assessments. The importance of following these rules when it comes to Assessment should not be understated. If evidence collection isn’t valid, sufficient, authentic or current it can lead to under qualified students. Furthermore, if an RTO is audited and found to be non-compliant they can lose funding or have their license revoked.
Concern #4: Assessor’s Judgement and Suitability
According to ASQA’s strategic industry reviews, this is an area that sees high levels of non-compliance. This has a negative effect on student experiences and compromises the quality and credibility of qualifications. It is imperative that both trainers and assessors are professional and well informed about their subjects.
RTO Assessments may only be carried out by assessors who have the required vocational competencies, the relevant industry skills and the relevant knowledge that informs their training and assessment.
RTOs should be able to demonstrate and provide evidence that they have taken appropriate steps to verify their assessor’s qualifications, skills and vocational competencies. This may include viewing qualifications, reviewing transcripts, confirming VET study, and contacting referees.
In addition, RTOs should also be able to provide evidence of professional development and how assessors update their required skills and knowledge.
Concern #5: Conducting Validation
In addition to ensuring that trainers and assessors hold valid and current credentials, RTOs must be able to prove that their assessment system consistently produces valid assessment judgements.
The validation process is usually carried out after the assessment process so that the RTO can review the validity of the assessment practices and the judgements. The process includes reviewing a large sample of assessments to ensure that that the evidence produced in the judgements were valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic.
Recommendations may be made for improvement and RTOs must have a documented plan that includes how the outcomes will be used for that improvement.
Validation can be carried out by one person or by a team, but each person must hold specific credentials to the assessments they are validating, as well as qualifications related to Training and Assessment.