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Here is some valuable guidance on how to accurately interpret the units of competency from training packages – the ones found on Training.gov.au.
New assessors often struggle to ‘unpack’ the unit to determine an effective way to assess someone against that unit. The most common mistake is not adequately addressing the whole unit.
This video (no sound) is a visual guide on what the parts of a unit of competency mean.
Assessors must focus on the whole unit. Below is a step-by-step approach to ensuring adequate coverage of the unit. This is just one way of covering the unit and you may develop your own technique as you gain experience. The process offered here does not take into account the candidate needs, or the industry requirements, which must also be used to shape the assessment plan.
What’s the title of the unit?
Before digging any deeper, take a look at the name of the unit and picture in your mind what a competent person might look like in the workplace. Here are the names of some actual units:
As you can see, unit titles are very descriptive, they start with a verb and very concisely and precisely capture the intent of the unit.
Before looking into your unit any further, note down some ideas of how you might assess someone to see if they were competent, based solely on the titles. This is a worthwhile exercise as it allows you to think creatively and start to generate ideas for the assessment before getting too ‘bogged down’ into the unit criteria.
At this point you might also like to read the unit’ descriptor and application to get a better understanding of the unit’s intent.
While it’s tempting to put all the focus on the performance criteria, we recommend going straight to the heading ‘Performance Evidence’ (Within the Assessment Requirements section).
This will set some very specific and critical evidence requirements for the unit. The Performance Evidence section specifies the skills to be demonstrated and frequency or volume required. These are of utmost importance and will give you a very clear picture of what needs to happen in the assessment. For example in the unit SIRXSLS001 – Sell to the retail customer one of the performance evidence says:
Be sure that the assessments you plan clearly reflect everything listed in this performance evidence section.
Take note of the performance evidence requirements and add them to or modify your original ideas for assessment that you generated in the previous step.
You will now have a clearer picture of what evidence is required to demonstrate competence.
Now it’s time to determine the methods you will use to collect that evidence and assess the candidate. These may include things like:
Now that you know in general what methods you will use for assessing the unit, work through the unit in detail and for each performance criteria, foundation skill, performance evidence point and knowledge evidence point.
Below you will see rough notes on:
This is an assessment tool designer’s original analysis of a unit – the first step to planning assessment. Old fashioned paper and pen is still one of the best ways to really get a feel for the unit requirements.
Ignore the red text for now as we will cover RPL Pathway later, focus on the Training and Assessment Pathway notes in black.
Following this process you will now have the foundations for an assessment plan that you can be confident covers the whole unit. You will now be able to accurately interpret the unit, and shape it into a plan for assessment.
At this vital stage, be sure to incorporate input from stakeholders such as students, employers and industry experts. This will ensure a realistic and fair assessment process that results in competent professionals who are ready for the workplace.
Once a plan has been documented, review the unit again, and undertake a mapping exercise to ensure that everything is covered.
Assessment mapping is good way of being able to demonstrate that all areas of the unit are definitely met in your assessment plan. It provides a quick reference way of checking the validity of the assessment. Mapping is useful for:
An assessment map can take many interesting forms but will typical resemble a table with the unit requirements on one side, and how the requirement is addressed on the other. E.g.:
|Area of the unit assessed||Assessment method|
|Performance criteria 1.1, 1.3 – 1.4, 2.1 – 2.5, 3.1 – 3.6||Observation in the workplace
Observation of roleplay
|Performance criteria 1.1 and 1.2
Knowledge evidence points:
|All areas of the unit||3rd party report|
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