What’s the difference between TAEASS401 and TAEASS502?


Since 2016, many people have complained about the inclusion of the TAEASS502 Design and develop assessment tools as a core unit for the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification.

It is said that trainers and assessors working in the VET sector do not design and develop assessment tools. Therefore, the inclusion of the TAEASS502 unit is unwarranted. I like having this unit included in the TAE40116 qualification because it helps people to learn how assessment tools are (or should be) structured. Also, they learn (or should learn) the importance of good quality assessment tools in our VET system. Anyway, it does not matter what I think. There will be many people pushing to have the TAEASS502 unit removed from the qualification that will replace the TAE40116 qualification.

Also, it is said that many TAE40116 students find the TAEASS502 unit difficult. Removing something because it is difficult to learn is not a good reason for it to be removed. I assume that people who want the TAEASS502 unit removed do not know what is covered by the TAEASS401 Plan assessment activities and processes unit. If a person is struggling with the TAEASS502 unit then they would also be struggling with the TAEASS401 unit.


The following tables compare the performance criteria for the TAEASS401 and TAEASS502 units.

Plan the assessment approach

Develop assessment instruments and instructions / Design and develop assessment tool

Review and trial assessment document / Review and trial assessment tool

Finalise assessment documents/ Finalise assessment tool

Knowledge evidence

The following compares the knowledge evidence for the TAEASS401 and TAEASS502 units.

A review of the above comparisons clearly shows very little difference between the TAEASS401 and TAEASS502 units. And some parts of the TAEASS401 unit are more challenging than the TAEASS502 unit. For example, the requirement to determine opportunities for integrated assessment.

In conclusion

Currently when I deliver the TAE40116 qualification, I integrate the TAEASS401 and TAEASS502 units. This results in a seamless 4-part process that is illustrated by the following diagram.

What happens if the TAEASS502 unit is removed but the TAEASS401 unit is kept? The following diagram shows that very little changes.

If a person is struggling to learn the TAEASS502 unit then they would also be struggling to learn the TAEASS401 unit.

My research indicates that trainers and assessors are required to have the capability to develop assessment instruments and write assessment instructions. The solution to people struggling to learn should not be to remove units. The solution should be about improving how RTOs deliver these units and find ways to help their students learn.

The TAE Training Package is being reviewed. And a replacement for the TAE40116 qualification is being designed.

  • Should the TAEASS502 unit be removed or should it remain?
  • Should the TAEASS401 unit be removed or should it remain?

What do you think?

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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