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What do they mean by…

Are you frustrated by TAEASS502 Design and develop assessment tools while doing your TAE Cert IV (or the upgrade)? You’re not alone. People are often very challenged by this unit.

I think the most common reason is that the average trainer and assessor will be unlikely to develop assessment tools.

Most trainers show up, teach, assess, support students. Done.

And now you’re being asked to design and develop not one, but THREE assessment tools!?

Ask confusing questions, get… confused.

What makes it worse is that many places teaching the TAE make it even more frustrating by asking questions like this:

  1. Describe how you determine the focus of an assessment tool.
  2. Describe how you identify a target group of candidates
  3. What is the purpose of your assessment tool?
  4. In what contexts will the tool will be used?
  5. What relevant benchmarks for assessment did you access and interpret to establish evidence required to demonstrate competence?
  6. How did you identify, access and interpret industry requirements and relevant contextualisation guidelines? (Huh?)
  7. What other related documentation to inform assessment tool development did you refer to?

If you’re seeing questions like this in your TAEASS502 assessment workbook, that’s because the author has simply copy/pasted the elements and performance criteria from the unit of competency, and turned them into questions.

It’s a quick and dirty way to cover the unit, but it’s not the best way to go about crafting decent questions.

How to answer these types of questions

Firstly, I reckon it’s nice to have a plain English translation of what these questions are getting at. To help, I’ve highlighted the key terms.

Describe how you  determine  the  focus  of an  assessment tool .

They want you to talk about how you figured out things like:

  • Who the students are that you’re probably going to assess with your finished tool
  • Where the assessment will happen (e.g. workplace, classroom, online)
  • How you’re going to assess the students
  • What the unit of competency is
  • Who’s going to assess it
  • Any legal stuff related to assessing that unit

Since they want you to describe how you determined all that stuff, you’re probably going to have to go into a bit of detail.

As an industry professional, you probably just know a lot of that stuff already.

But if you write “I just know” …well that ain’t gonna fly with your assessor! My suggestion would be to describe it like someone who is discovering this info for the first time. E.g.:

In determining the focus of the assessment tool I did the following:

  1. I referred to the unit of competency, carefully reviewing the elements, performance criteria, foundation skills, performance evidence, knowledge evidence and assessment conditions.
  2. From here I was able to determine what evidence was needed for my students to demonstrate competency, and the methods I’d use to assess them.
  3. I sought information from my supervisor and colleagues as well as the RTO administrator on things like who the students are, their backgrounds and previous experience.
  4. I further confirmed with my supervisor the likely location and context of the assessment.
  5. I also got hold of the policies and procedures at my RTO for conducting assessment. This way I can be sure my assessment tool fits in with the existing assessment processes of the organisation.
  6. I met up with some colleagues from industry about how they go about the job to get some ideas and inspirations for some possible scenarios I could set up for observations.
  7. The unit of competency told me about any legal requirements and I went and did some further research online with industry organisations to get clear on what the legal requirements wereSample response

So a question like that has a fair bit in it but hopefully these prompts will help you get started in crafting a detailed and thoughtful answer. Let’s take a look at some of the others.

Describe how you  identify  a  target group of candidates 

This might also be asked like “How did you identify a target group of candidates?”

In the TAEASS units, students who are being assessed are often called “candidates” or “candidates for assessment.” 

It’s well established and fairly common sense that the more you know about the people you’re going to assess, the better. Especially things like their previous experience and any challenges they might have.

So in this question your assessor wants to know how you went about finding out who your students were.

I’d suggest in answering this you include information like:

  • Asking supervisors or RTO administration for information about the students
  • Reviewing enrolment and pre-enrolment information
  • Seeking information from industry
  • Talking with students

More plain English interpretations of these questions

What is the  purpose  of your assessment tool?

This is getting at the core reason your assessment tool exists. E.g. to gather, measure and record evidence that a person is competent in [unit code / unit title], so that they can [insert objective].

In what  contexts  will the tool will be used?

Here, they likely want to describe the situation you will be assessing your students in, it could refer to a few different things like:

  • Describing the workplace, if assessment is going to happen on the job
  • Describing the scenarios or simulations that might be set up

What relevant  benchmarks  for assessment did you  access  and  interpret  to establish  evidence  required to demonstrate competence?

OK there’s a lot here. Let’s break this tough cookie down. They want to know:

  1. Benchmarks (the code and title of a unit of competency)
  2. How you accessed the unit of competency (probably via Training.gov.au)
  3. How you interpreted them – usually by painstakingly reviewing each component of the unit carefully, asking colleagues, supervisors, confirming with industry people, research online, etc.
  4. How you established the evidence required – check the assessment requirements of the unit of competency, particularly the bit that says performance evidence.

How did you identify, access and interpret  industry requirements  and  relevant contextualisation guidelines ?

Check the verbs on this question! How did you…

  • identify (figure out which)
  • access (go and find)
  • interpret (work out)

By industry requirements, they’re talking about things like:

  • Legal and regulatory stuff from the job that the competency relates to
  • Work health and safety requirements
  • Job requirements (e.g., licenses, tickets, uniform, equipment, machinery).

When they say things like “relevant training package contextualisation guidelines” they usually are referring to Companion Volumes.

Training Packages (where units of competency come from) often have a thing called a Companion Volume.

You can find these at Vetnet.gov.au or they are usually linked from Training.gov.au. These companion volumes give you heaps of great information about what you can and can’t contextualise.

What other  related documentation  to inform assessment tool development did you refer to?

This is really just about what other info (documented info) you gathered to help you figure out how to design your assessment tool. Typical examples include:

  • Companion Volumes (see above)
  • information from the unit of competency about:
    • resources required for assessment
    • assessment context
    • appropriate assessment methods
    • assessment activities in course materials
  • WHS, legislation, codes of practice, standards and guidelines
  • Australian Core Skills Framework
  • Organisational requirements for demonstration of work performance
  • product specifications.