Contextualising assessment resources (Part 2)

Contextualisation of training packages, accredited curricula and learning resources can be achieved without compromising the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. Contextualisation is the addition of industry-specific information to tailor the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 to reflect the immediate operating context and thereby increase its relevance for the learner. Contextualisation is ultimately defined as; the activity undertaken by a Trainer/Assessor to make units of competency, accredited curricula or learning resources meaningful to the learner.

How to contextualise units of competency?

Contextualisation is a process that we use to create learning/assessment opportunities that are more relevant to our learner. When we do this, we link the Unit of Competency to the client’s needs using language that they understand.

Contextualisation is achieved by including, modifying or substituting text within units of competency and usually within the assessment requirements including performance evidence, knowledge evidence and assessment conditions.

It is about providing training and assessment that is specific to an enterprise or individual learner.

Any modifications to a unit of competency must maintain the integrity of the industry skill and portability requirements, including all legislative licensing and any other regulatory requirements.

The following are some suggestions for contextualising units of competency to make them more relevant for specific industries or workplaces:

  • Refer to the guidelines in the relevant training package. Usually, it will be possible to replace generic terms and general descriptions of equipment or processes and procedures with specific examples. For example, a guide working at Uluru may learn and demonstrate body language appropriate to the Pitjantjatjara people. There would be little point in that guide being required to learn and demonstrate body language appropriate for working among the Jewish community at the Sydney Holocaust Museum.
  • Analyse the generalised statements about the range of work and job tasks specified in the units of competency. These may need to be aligned to a particular job profile and translated to highlight particular tasks and levels of performance that are relevant to a particular workplace.
  • Identify the kinds of evidence that candidates may be able to provide in their job roles to satisfy the requirements of a particular unit of competency.
  • Prepare evidence plans for the candidates, showing how they might collect the identified kinds of evidence.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • If the Competency mentions Machinery, then we could use the exact name of the machine used.
  • If the Competency mentions Equipment, then we could use the names of each item of equipment
  • If the Competency mentions Location, then we could use the exact location, eg, Shed 1, kitchen bench, etc
  • If the Competency mentions Relevant Procedures, then we could use the exact title of the procedure manual
  • If the Competency mentions Relevant Personnel, then we could use the names of the people and their positions

Contextualise, but Follow the Rules

When it comes to contextualisation, we can be very creative. But, we need to make sure that we do not change the standards required of us. Remember: we must always follow the Qualification Packaging Rules of the Training Package.

When contextualising units of competency, teachers and trainers:

  • Must not remove the number and content of elements and performance criteria
  • May add specific industry terminology to performance criteria where this does not distort or narrow the competency outcomes
  • Changes should not diminish the breadth of application of the competency and reduce its portability
  • May add detail to the assessment requirements, where these expand the breadth of the competency but do not limit its use.

To make sure that we still follow the Training Package rules, we can read the Training Package itself, or we can get the advice of others, including:

  • Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) and Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) responsible
  • Our colleagues within the training industry or within the industry for whom we are delivering the training
  • Accessing the Support Resources available for each Training Package at TGA ( can also give us some great ideas of what is appropriate.

When we are contextualising, it is a good idea to speak with the client to make sure that we really are going to link the Unit of Competency to the participants’ actual work.

When we are contextualising, it is a good idea to speak with others to make sure that we really are going to be delivering the Unit of Competency in accordance with the Training Package rules.

Record breaking number of overseas students are selecting Australia as their education destination

Figures released recently showed a 12% increase in the number of foreign students in Australia compared to the same period last year, more than 500,000 for the year, according to new government figures. 

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said Australia has taken in some 510,000 international students from over 190 countries this year. 

The number of Nepalese students jumped 54%, while there was a 29% increase in students from Colombia.

The number of Brazilian students bound for Tasmania more than tripled, and Western Australia saw a one-third jump in its number of Bhutanese student arrivals.

China makes up the largest proportion of students from a single country at 31%, followed by India, Nepal and Malaysia at 12, 5 and 4% respectively.

Mr Birmingham said international students are extremely valuable to Australia.

“International education is vital to the people-to-people links and knowledge sharing between Australia and the rest of the world,” he said.

“Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown the value of international education jumped 22% from 2016 to $32.2 billion last year.” 

Universities Australia’s chief executive Belinda Robinson said the growth in the international student market reflected the quality that was on offer.

“We have almost doubled enrolments over the past decade and built international education into Australia’s third-largest export sector,” Ms Robinson said.

“This supports Australian communities, jobs, regional economies and our relationships in the world.

“These half a million international students will become tomorrow’s global leaders, returning home as informal ambassadors for Australia and extending our nation’s worldwide networks in business, diplomacy and politics.”

The number accounts for students enrolled in higher education, vocational education and training (VET), Schools, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and non-award sectors.

Some tips on how to prepare for a meeting with the regulatory body

How to prepare for an audit or any other meeting with ASQA or their representatives.

  1. Collect audit reports, facts and related information: Always collect as much information as possible and discuss your information with an experienced compliance consultant prior to your meeting.
  2. Review prior internal / external audits.
  3. Consider any new legislation/updates to guidelines etc.
  4. Conduct a risk assessment.
  5. Most importantly: Have all your interactions and correspondence with the regulatory body in writing and saved.
    • If you have a question or concern, send an email and ask for a response via email.
    • If you get a call and an explanation over the phone, request to get the information confirmed in writing.
  6. Have a plan: plan and prepare yourself for the event or meeting. Do not go unprepared.
  7. Have someone with you, someone who knows the regulatory guidelines and framework, someone who can support you and if required assist you.
  8. Brief employees involved in the meeting what to expect. 
  9. Follow the regulatory guidelines and framework: People make mistakes and so do the officers at the regulatory body. Always follow the written regulatory guidelines and framework.
  10. Take meeting notes.
  11. Do not argue. Your logic doesn’t work here. It’s very important to understand this point. Do not try and explain. Logic fails when dealing with bureaucracy.
  12. Be positive – you are trying to solve an issue.
  13. Be receptive – Show your understanding and willingness to solve issues.
  14. Acknowledge that the regulatory body has the power over the situation: Remember any government official that you interact with is a “person of power”, but “first and foremost a person”. Treat the government representative with courtesy and respect.
  15. Be ready: Make sure your house is in order if an audit is requested. Being prepared for a potential audit can save you time and a lot of headaches. Most business (and people in general) dread being audited, but if you’re well-prepared, there’s no reason to worry.

Time to submit your "Quality Indicator data" to ASQA

What are the “Quality Indicators”?

RTOs are required to collect and report their performance against the following quality indicators:

  1. Learner engagement
  2. Employer satisfaction

Learner engagement 

This quality indicator focuses on the extent to which learners engage in activities that are likely to promote high-quality skill outcomes. It includes learner perceptions of the quality of their competency development and the support they receive from their RTOs. The source of data to measure this indicator is a survey called the Learner Questionnaire. RTOs must gather and analyse this data each year.

Employer satisfaction 

This quality indicator focuses on employer evaluation of learner competency development and the relevance of learner competencies for work and further training, as well as employer evaluation of the overall quality of the training and assessment. The source of data to measure this indicator is a survey called the Employer Questionnaire.

RTO’s must gather and analyse this data each year and submit on or before 30 June.

Why are “Quality Indicators” required?

The Quality Indicators give an overall picture of the outcomes being achieved by the RTO and how well it is meeting client needs. Information about the quality of training being provided by an RTO is relevant to a wide range stakeholders. The key audiences are the RTO’s management and their Registering Body. Other audiences may include learners, employers, senior management, individual staff members and potential learners and employers.

The QI’s provide valuable information that the RTO can use to assess their performance against the SRTOs 2015. The data can contribute to evidence that:

  • The RTO provides quality training and assessment across all of its operations
  • The RTO adheres to principles of access and equity and maximises outcomes for its clients
  • Management systems are responsive to the needs of clients, staff and stakeholders, and the environment in which the RTO operates
  • Quality can be monitored over time to identify both improvements and any downward trends.

Learner and employer survey results provide RTO’s with a basis for undertaking benchmarking activities with other RTO’s, or to compare different respondent groups, if they decide to do this as part of their continuous improvement processes.

Learner and employer survey data can be used to demonstrate the quality of the RTO’s training operations, and to build confidence in the RTO.

What is best practice regarding the “Quality Indicators”?

A targeted student should be provided with a “Learner Questionnaire” and an employer with “Employer Questionnaire”. The data should be then collected and analysed using:

  • Survey Management, Analysis and Reporting Tool (no longer available for download) or
  • ASQA’s Quality Indicator annual summary report template (DOC).

This information should be submitted to ASQA prior to 30th June annually. 

The surveys should be validated to ensure the student /client feedback is addressed and the RTO provides continuous improvement to develop better learning and learning outcomes.

The resulting changes should be documented and feedback should be communicated to the relevant committee/panel/member of the organisation.

The changes should also be documented in the RTO’s Continuous Improvement Register.

For more information, Click Here.

VET Industry News 8-Jun-2018

ASQA is increasing scrutiny on new applications for registration from 1 July 2018. Vocational education and training (VET) and the education of overseas students make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy. More than four million people undertake VET qualifications in Australia each year and the quality of the training sector has a direct impact on students, the workforce and the Australian community. To further protect the quality and reputation of the VET and international education sectors, from 1 July 2018, ASQA will apply even greater scrutiny to all applications to establish new training providers. 

Read more information from ASQA’s website Please find attached the latest presentation by Compliance and Quality Assurance on the changes by the regulatory body.

Apprentice and trainee commencements are up

The latest apprentice and trainee data shows there were 35 945 commencements in the December 2017 quarter, up 7.6% compared with the same quarter in 2016.

Trade commencements increased by 9.3% in Dec 2017, with the main increases seen in automotive and engineering (up 20.9%) and construction (up 12.3%).

However, completions decreased by 8.4% in the Dec 2017 quarter to 25 105 when compared with Dec 2016.

To find out more, view the full report and data slicer on our Portal.

A range of related products, including the estimates review dashboard and the apprentice and trainee outcomes data visualisation, are also available.

How satisfied are our international VET students?

New data reveals 85.3% of international students who graduated from an onshore Australian vocational education and training (VET) program in 2016 were satisfied with the overall quality of their training. Read more information

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