What is assessment validation?

This article describes what assessment validation is, and in this article I will cover:

  • An introduction to assessment of validation
  • The definition of assessment validation
  • A prime source of information about assessment validation
  • The difference between validation and moderation.

Introduction to assessment of validation

The Australian VET system is highly regulated. The regulations that must be complied with are the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). One compliance requirement is that RTOs must continuously improve training and assessment services. Two ways that an RTO may identify improvements are:

  • Training evaluation
  • Assessment validation.

Training evaluation

We say that we evaluate training. Evaluation is the quality review of the training process. Most people have completed an evaluation form at the end of a training program. This is a common method of gathering data that can be analysed to identify areas for improvement focused on the delivery of training.

Assessment validation

We say that we validate assessment. Valuation is the quality review of the assessment process. The Standards for RTOs states that:

  • RTOs must conduct assessment validation
  • RTOs must maintain assessment validation records.

If you are new to assessment validation, you may like to think of this activity being the evaluation of assessment, but we called it ‘validation’. It is a method of gathering data that can be analysed to identify areas for improvement focused on the conduct of assessments.

Definition of assessment validation

A definition of terminology used by the Australian VET sector can be found in the glossary of the Standards for RTOs.

Assessment valuation is defined as:

“Validation is the quality review of the assessment process.

It involves checking that the assessment tools produces valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to enable reasonable judgements to be made as to whether the requirements of the training package or VET accredited courses are met.

It includes reviewing a statistically valid sample of assessments and making recommendations for future improvements to the assessment tool, process and outcomes and acting upon such recommendations.”

I have dissected the definition and provided the following explanation.

Information about assessment validation

A prime source of information about assessment validation is published by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). A fact sheet about conducting validation is available. It can be downloaded as a PDF file or viewed onscreen from the ASQA website.

Validation sample size calculator

ASQA has provided a ‘validation sample size calculator’. It can be used to calculate the number of assessments that would represent a statistically valid sample size. The example given by ASQA shows that 31 samples of assessments are required for validation when a total of 100 students have been assessed by an RTO.

Random sample selection

The selection of assessments should be randomly selected. For example, if 31 out of 100 assessments are required, select every third name on an alphabetical list of students.

If you are invited to an assessment validation meeting, please be prepared for a long meeting (and take your lunch).

Difference between validation and moderation

Some people get confused about validation and moderation.

  • Assessment validation is the quality review of the assessment process and is generally conducted after assessment is complete.
  • Assessment moderation is a quality control process aimed at bringing assessment judgements into alignment.

Assessment moderation

Assessment moderation occurs when a group of assessors meet to discuss sample assessments. The purpose of moderation is to help different assessors come to a common agreement so that their future assessment are consistent and based on evidence. The principle of assessment being addressed is ‘reliability’.

It would be useful to have a range of sample assessments at a moderation meeting:

  • Assessments that are clearly competent
  • Assessments that are clearly not yet competent
  • Assessments that are difficult to make a clear decision.

In conclusion

We evaluate training, we validate assessments.

RTO must conduct assessment validation:

  • RTOs must review each training program at least once over a five-year period
  • RTOs must review a statistically valid sample of assessments
  • RTOs must keep records of assessment validation.

And assessment validation is not the same thing as moderation.

Do you need help with your TAE studies?

Are you doing the TAE40116 or TAE40122 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and are you struggling with your studies? Do you want help with your TAE40116 or TAE40122 studies?

Ring Alan Maguire on 0493 065 396 to discuss.

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Training trainers since 1986

Author: Alan Maguire

35+ years experience as a trainer, instructional designer, quality manager, project manager, program manager, RTO auditor, RTO manager and VET adviser.

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