This list in not exhaustive however it is a guide to a few things that can commonly be missed in Training & Assessment Strategies (TAS) and some tips/questions for improving your tools.
This list has been written in response to lots of recent audits and experience with the ASQA Standards for RTOs 2015, however the same principles can be applied to those still governed by the VRQA under the AQTF.
The first four are some general tips to govern your TAS writing:
- Remember, this is a working functional document, written not only for compliance and quality assurance but also to inform your trainers, assessors and any other relevant staff of the details they need to know in order to deliver your course. Anyone should be able to pick up a TAS and know exactly how the course runs and all the details about the time, tools, resources and instruments that are needed.
- A great TAS has a lot of detail, but is also written in a way that is clear, concise and easy to follow.
- While you can refer to other documents/tools/policies, this key piece of information describes how it all relates and why you are delivering the course in the way you are.
- Rationale throughout should always relate to the requirements of the training package, the Standards, industry needs, relevant licensing requirements and the specific needs of your cohort.
Once you’ve made a start, or if you’re reviewing an existing TAS, here are four questions to ask before finalising it:
1. Have you clearly identified the need for training?
A good TAS should clearly identify the need for the course you are offering – this can be done by demonstrating your industry consultation and the needs identified through this process, as well as a clear description of your target group. Many RTOs keep this as open ended as possible, and other times your RTO may be delivering only to a specific group of learners in a specific location, for a specific client.
Either way, ASQA wants to see that you have thought about who these people are, what special needs they may have, what motivations they have for doing the course, and how this relates to your intended delivery/entry requirements etc.
2. Have you clearly described the amount of training included in the course?
This should be described separately to the volume of learning, which under the AQF, describes a benchmark for the duration of qualifications. Here, the amount of training relates more specifically to ensuring all learners are given adequate training to ensure they can learn everything they need to, given your duration, delivery method and target group. This means you need allow time for topics and skills to be introduced to learners, for them to have a chance to practise and refine their skills, ask any questions (in a range of contexts where relevant) and then to complete the required assessment.
AQF TIP: While you may have grounds to propose a slightly shorter duration than the volume of learning indicates in the AQF, you must have clear grounds for doing so, and be very careful with this as auditors may not deem this suitable for your learners/target group or delivery method. Also – be aware that the AQF is describing the duration for full time hours, so this may not be applicable unless your learners are engaged on a full time basis. If your cohort does not have any prior relevant industry experience or training, then you should not stray from the volume of learning durations outlined in the AQF.
There is an ASQA fact sheet in relation to Amount of Training here: – http://www.asqa.gov.au/media-and-publications/amount-of-training1.html
3. Have you clearly defined entry requirements and/or pre-requisites?
In some cases these could be specified in the training package either at qualification level or at unit level (for pre-requisites). However, over and above this your RTO can set its own entry requirements to ensure that it does not enrol people into the course whose needs it cannot meet. As a minimum think about the following questions:
- Will you accept students under 18?
- Is there a defined level of language, learning & numeracy required? If so, how will you assess this?
- Do students need to be working in a particular role/capacity or for a certain number of hours per week?
- Do they need to be able to source a work placement (or will you assist with this?)
- Does the workplace supervisor, if there is one, need to be qualified?
- What evidence of meeting the pre-requisites and/or entry requirements will be required and/or what steps will be taken prior to enrolment to check these? (E.g. forms, interviews etc.)
4. Have you clearly described how training is going to take place?
It’s not enough to simply state the delivery method. You must have a way to explain the details of what will take place and when at every stage of the course – for example:
- If class based – when, where and how will the classes take place and what will they cover? What kind of activities or other training/assessment will take place in class?
- If workplace based – what is the involvement of the supervisor, are there visits, how many and what happens during the visit?
- What are the attendance requirements (start /end time/breaks) – is attendance compulsory?
- What other learning activities will students complete outside of class – is there expected homework or workplace practice hours?
Carefully list required equipment, facilities, training materials and other support materials.
5. Have you clearly described how assessment is going to take place?
It is good to include an overarching description of the general approach to assessment in the course and then a more detailed section on assessment methods and tasks for each unit. The detail should include how and when each task is due or when it will take place, what tools will be used in the assessment process and by whom (students/assessors). Is your assessment clustered, if so, how?
You should also include explanations for reasonable adjustment processes, re-assessment and student support that can be provided and under what circumstances.
6. Have you specifically stated the way the course and Training & Assessment Strategy will be systematically reviewed, monitored and improved?
This could include:
- a description of when and how validation will occur
- when and how feedback will be collected and from whom
- when and how the training & assessment strategy will be reviewed and whose responsibility this is
- any overarching quality assurance mechanisms you have in place other than the above.
In order to cover this point you could refer to relevant policies, procedures or other supporting documents as relevant. Ensure you list all supporting documents (could be in an appendix) including full document titles.
Now you have some great tips for developing your next TAS, happy writing.