Students on any accredited course need to be assessed against the accredited outcomes (units and elements of competency and performance criteria) of the course. Assessing is normally done by the student’s trainer/tutor. This means that the trainers/ tutors who are assessing the student and their work must know the units and elements of competency and performance criteria set out in the subject outlines and keep up to date with any changes. Assessment procedures and policies are listed in the next few pages.
Qualifications for assessors
ACC trainers/tutors will require the assessing and training qualification as prescribed by the NVR (Certificate IV TAE), or work closely mentored by an experienced assessor (trainer) until they have completed the qualification. Trainers are required to complete this qualification before working for ACC. They must also possess the qualification they are assessing and be able to provide evidence of current industry experience in this competency.
Specifically, assessors must be well acquainted with the material they are assessing—this means thoroughly understanding the competency based training requirements and by reading any new books for assignments
Assessment against AQF requirements
Students are also assessed in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level of their training. The level and outcomes for each course are listed on course outlines.
Principles of assessment
Assessment mapping guides, which map all ACC assessments against their relevant unit of competency, will be used together with other assessment tools. Each assessment tool shall be identified by the unit code, title and version. The following requirements apply:
- Competency based training (CBT) focuses on outcomes (what a person can actually do related to a specific industry standard). Assessment, as in all CBT courses, will be either competent (C) or not yet competent (NYC). Competency is defined as having the knowledge, skills and attitude to perform a task.
- An assessment instrument (or plan) is the method used to assess competency. Assessments are initial (diagnostic assessment), on-going (formative assessment), or final (summative assessment – workplace competence). Recognition of prior learning is also part of assessing competence.
- A minimum of four, preferably more, forms of evidence shall be gathered for each unit—for example, small group assessment, Journal, written assessment and a report on counselling practice.
- Assessment of practical participation may be done by external supervisors assessing a student’s skill in practice.
- Assessment instruments shall be written in clear, unambiguous language and students shall be given the opportunity to view all pieces of assessment for clarification before being assessed
- Students may be given the opportunity to negotiate how they may present their evidence of assessment (for example, email, hard copy, audio recording).
- The tutor must be prepared to spend additional one on one time with struggling students to assist them in becoming competent.
Rules of evidence
The use of ACC assessment cover sheets is mandatory to ensure authenticity of students work. Assessment should be done using marking schedules to assist accuracy and consistency of judgment. Documented observation of practicum work provides evidence of authenticity, currency and validates the aspects of underpinning knowledge assessed in the written assignments. Assessing several observations supports the notion of gathering sufficient evidence and permits a more accurate assessment of competence.
Re-submission and assessment
As a requirement of competency based training students have the right to re-assessments in order to become competent. Normally for a written assignment this would be one re-assessment to be completed within a specified period of time. The first re-assessment is without cost but any additional re-assessments will incur an administration fee of $50 (payable to ACC and which is given to the trainer to be forwarded to the National Office). This process should be negotiated between the trainer/tutor and the student. Again, the tutor must be prepared to spend additional one on one time with struggling students to assist them in becoming competent.
If a student is dissatisfied with the result of their assessment they should appeal directly to their tutor or assessor. Their next level of appeal would be to the general manager. If still unsuccessful they can appeal to the Chief Executive Officer. (See grievance policy is in the Student handbook).
Official ACC Assessment and moderation forms to be used by trainers are as follows:
- Cover Sheet
- Small group assessment
- Subject Assessment
- Term Assessment
- Moderation Form 1/2
- Master year record
All official forms are authorized only by the CEO. They must not be altered, but trainers/tutors may develop electronic versions.
Notes on using the forms
When an assignment is submitted to and received by the trainer, the trainer will record the date received on the assessment cover sheet of assignment. The tutor will also record on this form the assessment result and any comments he or she wishes to make.
All assignments are to be assessed and recorded soon after submission and at the end of term copies of the subject Assessment Sheets are passed to the tutors. The tutors then sends within two weeks (three weeks maximum) a copy of the term Assessment Sheet to the general manager at ACC Office for recording.
Completed forms must be filed for each student
All assessment records used by the tutor and assessor must be securely and confidentially filed.
At the start of a new tutorial group, tutors are to establish a designated filing system for this group including a separate file for each student. Each file should contain: Term Assessment Record and Student Contact Sheet, progressive results of assessment and completed Assignment cover sheets. This filing system will need to be portable to enable it to be brought to seminars for updating and audit purposes. Tutors may use electronic documents (spreadsheets, tables, etc.) however their system is to fulfill all of the functional requirements of the paper-based system.
Procedure for the end-of-year forms
At the end of the year, the general manager checks the completed forms of the year to confirm each student’s completion and finalize students’ academic records and transcripts issued. Certificates are distributed at their next graduation ceremony or promptly posted to graduates who choose not to or cannot attend the ceremony.
Tutors send all completed form with Assignment cover sheets to the general manager at the ACC Office by the end of December for placing into student files.
In competency-based training and assessment students are graded for their units simply with either competent (C) or not yet competent (NYC). This is all that appears on official forms and transcripts.
For pieces of unit being assessed students are graded a satisfactory (S) or not yet satisfactory (NYS)
To enable the student to assess the standard of their work assessors are to give feedback on each assignment. The feedback should include a summary of the performance by inserting at the end of each assignment and on the cover sheet one of the following comments: outstanding work, excellent work, very good work, good work or not yet competent. No percentages should be included.
Consistency in assessing across the Board is the desired objective for assessors and ongoing staff training and moderation of assessments will ensure that this occurs.
Assessment of competencies must be completed using more than one method:
- It is initially done by an written assignment, using assessment criteria.
- This is followed by an exercise conducted by the trainer/tutor in the tutorial group. This is done through the tutor asking questions to each student relative to the performance criteria (PC) from each unit of the previous term in the small groups. The answers by the student should be presented in a professional manner. The PCs are listed in the subject outlines. Oral assessment is used for recording results of this assessment by the trainer/tutor. The assessment results contribute towards the overall assessment for the subject and recorded on the term assessment form.
- Through the journal.
- For the practicum units assessment is by various assessment, small group assessment and supervisor’s feedback
Reports, Essays and Written Assignment
Guidelines for assessing reports, Essays and written assignments are as follows:
- Were all questions answered, taking note of keywords such as evaluate, discuss and describe?
- Was the prescribed word limit followed? If it was exceeded the assignment is returned to the student to be resubmitted with the correct word limit within a period of one week.
- Authorized assessment criteria must be used to assist in the objective weighing of assessments.
- Were relevant scriptures used?
- Was the material in the relevant textbook and any associated required reading covered?
- Was the associated textbook (if applicable) utilized?
- Were other resources effectively utilized?
- Were relevant illustrations given ?
- Were references properly acknowledged (see student handbook)?
- Was the material related to the topic?
- Trainers are required to co-assess (moderate) the assignments of other tutors to ensure consistency.
- Was the assignment handed in on time?
Other guidelines for assessment
- Has the assignment cover sheet been properly completed and signed by student and tutor.
- Assessments are to be completed immediately after assignments are submitted.
- Constructive and encouraging feedback in writing on the assignment and cover sheet is given to the student promptly—this should be during the term for assignments handed in during the term. Tutors must retain a written copy of their feedback in case of possible future dispute about it. Feedback is also given verbally to the student on the telephone or at the following seminar.
- Trainer/tutors must not hesitate to ask the student to resubmit assignments, or portions of assignments, that they see as substandard and not up to competency level. A specified time limit should be given for this.
- If a student exceeds the prescribed word limit the assignment must not be assessed but handed back to the student to be resubmitted with the correct word limit within three days (maximum of one week in special cases).
- If the student’s work is not far below standard in few areas this could possibly be attended to verbally, or by coaching over the phone or at the seminar.
- Trainer/Tutors are to provide assistance to the student if necessary to enable the student to reach the required level of competency. Care, consideration and extra time spent are required with special-needs students.
- Students with certain disabilities may be assessed orally.
- Firmness is necessary in relation to students reaching a level of competence in assignments. If any portion of the student assignments is not up to the required competency level, the tutor must explain the reason to the student and ask the student to resubmit it within a short specified period.
Assessment in practicum
Assessment in practicum is done by trainers observing students demonstrating skills in small groups. And industrial supervisor’s feedback will be contributed to the assessment . The assessment is recorded on assessment Form.
Late submission of assignments
Students must submit assignments by the due dates. The General Manager only approves an exception to this. It is important that this policy is applied consistently . Students will produce better results and tutors will have a less stressful time if these standards are firmly established during term one.
If students do not submit their work on time they must pay a late fee of $50 payable to the AIFC. The tutor must inform the accounts manager of any such late submission and the name of the assignment and the accounts manager will send the student an invoice (this fee may be waived by the trainer/tutor genuine exceptional circumstances).
Flexible learning and assessment
The flexible learning and assessment criteria described in the Operational handbook need to be observed by tutors and assessors. For example, some students
because of handicap may need to be assessed orally.
Moderation and Validation of assessments
Moderation and validation of assessments operates at three levels:
- At the training Package level. At this level all new or revised assessments tools shall be moderated by external advisors or quality management team other than the tool designer using validation form -Training Package or industry consultation form. Evidence of moderation is to be kept on file with other assessment and version control records. Validation for all new assessment tools occur when they are made through industry advisors and validation for all revised assessment tools could occur at staff conference every year.
- 2. At the delivery and assessment level where staff shall moderate samples of student’s assignments assessed by other staff members. Form (Moderation Form) is to be used for this purpose. See below for details about this level.
- At the Accreditation and Registration Authority level where involvement in external moderation activities with the national standard setting agencies, or the Australian Skills Qualifications Authority (ASQF)), or their representatives, as required. Both procedures (a) and (b) above could be utilised to provide evidence and resources whilst working with the external moderators.
Specific information about moderation at the delivery/assessment level
What should be moderated at this level? A sample of the each trainer/tutor’s marked assignments, including: Journals, Essay, Report, Written assignment, etc.
How many samples should be moderated?
A minimum of one of the following per tutor is to be moderated each term (as applicable):
- Written assessment
Other assessment tasks are to be moderated at least once annually for each trainer/tutor.
When could moderation occur at the delivery and assessment level?
Moderation could ideally occur during the process of marking a group of similar assignments.
Supervisor (general manager) of trainers/tutors shall be responsible for planning and monitoring the moderation process. She may utilise mid-term meetings, tutor networks, seminars or other processes that work best for their context.
It is recommended that tutors regularly scan the assessed assignment work (during seminars) to ensure quality assessment and feedback is occurring.
Who can moderate at this level?
General Manager or CEO (Senior Trainer) can conduct moderation. One of the roles of general manager is to moderate tutors work at seminars.
How can moderation occur at this level?
(a) Moderation starting from a clean (unmarked assignment)
Tutors who receive their students’ assignments electronically would be encouraged to e-mail an unmarked copy to the moderator. Both parties would mark the assignment. The tutor would then email (forward) a marked copy to the moderator who would complete the moderation process by using Moderation Form. The moderator would then initiate feedback to the tutor.
The above process should also be applied where student’s assignments are received in hard copy.
(b) Moderation from a marked assignment
Where photocopying is not available, moderation would need to occur at mid-term meetings, seminars, tutor networks, (or other processes that work best for their context). Under these circumstances moderators would moderate the marked assignment and provide immediate feedback to the tutor using the Moderation form
How is moderation documented, recorded and filed?
The General Manager should securely hold and file moderation forms and associated assignments for audit purposes. These are to be securely filed for a period of two years and are then to be replaced with a current, moderated version of the same assessment type
The trainers/tutors may choose to store only two of each assignment moderated per unit (for example, two Reports, two written assignments).