rpl quality and compliance

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1. RPL quality and compliance… Integrity, credibility, professional judgement… RPL quality and compliance is the third in a series of presentations relating to Recognition of Prior Learning and how it is used as a methodology to build industry, enterprise and VET workforce capacity and capability. Specifically, this presentation explores the issues for RTOs relating to the quality of RPL and how it is enhanced and maintained to meet the AQTF. In addition, this topic includes the RPL compliance challenges which face RTOs. Topics in the series… Introduction to RPL RPL assessment RPL basics Mapping job roles to competencies Developing RPL assessment tools Recording and reporting RPL quality and compliance RPL for enterprise solutions RPL for workforce development RPL and ICTRPL quality and compliance is the third in a series of presentations relating to Recognition of Prior Learning and how it is used as a methodology to build industry, enterprise and VET workforce capacity and capability. Specifically, this presentation explores the issues for RTOs relating to the quality of RPL and how it is enhanced and maintained to meet the AQTF. In addition, this topic includes the RPL compliance challenges which face RTOs. Topics in the series… Introduction to RPL RPL assessment RPL basics Mapping job roles to competencies Developing RPL assessment tools Recording and reporting RPL quality and compliance RPL for enterprise solutions RPL for workforce development RPL and ICT

2. Industry and employers need to have faith in the VET system so that competent workers have the ability to perform their jobs to the appropriate standards. Whilst this is a simple statement, the complexities of providing quality and compliant RPL requires: understanding the AQTF developing appropriate RPL skills using professional judgement ensuring integrity of the RPL process making complex judgements in decision making, and using appropriate RPL processes and systems Industry and employers need to have faith in the VET system so that competent workers have the ability to perform their jobs to the appropriate standards. Whilst this is a simple statement, the complexities of providing quality and compliant RPL requires: understanding the AQTF developing appropriate RPL skills using professional judgement ensuring integrity of the RPL process making complex judgements in decision making, and using appropriate RPL processes and systems

3. Quality – degree of excellence, possessing high degree of excellence; concerned with maintenance of high quality – Oxford Dictionary Compliance – action in accordance with request, command – Oxford Dictionary Compliance implies constraint and hindering, however, quality judgements can ensure good practice by making good judgements about performance which encourages innovation and quality assessments. Some would argue that there is tension between quality and compliance, however, both can co-exist. Good judgement by an assessor about an individual’s performance is complex and requires more exploration than afforded here. However, Dr Anne Jones* suggests that…VET practitioners regard assessment as a social process. …the importance of their relationships with colleagues in developing their sense of the standards to which they were assessing. Then there’s the requirements of regulation and licensing, employers, clients, the Training Package etc. which adds to the complexity of making a good judgement. Andrea Bateman^ cites ANTA 2004a# …that the ‘exercise of professional judgement is considered a key characteristic of professionalism with professional practice. The VET literature suggests that there is a link between the assessor’s level of expertise and tacit knowledge and that of making sound judgements. Remembering that RPL is an assessment, this topic will explore Is good judgement, actually good practice? by looking at RPL assessor skills, knowledge and attributes, more about professional judgement, risk, validation and moderation, RPL processes and systems and recording and reporting. * VET professionals making good judgements: A think piece (Professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006) ^ Professional judgement and assessment: a think piece (professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006) # Enhancing the capability of VET professionals project: final report, ANTA 2004aQuality – degree of excellence, possessing high degree of excellence; concerned with maintenance of high quality – Oxford Dictionary Compliance – action in accordance with request, command – Oxford Dictionary Compliance implies constraint and hindering, however, quality judgements can ensure good practice by making good judgements about performance which encourages innovation and quality assessments. Some would argue that there is tension between quality and compliance, however, both can co-exist. Good judgement by an assessor about an individual’s performance is complex and requires more exploration than afforded here. However, Dr Anne Jones* suggests that…VET practitioners regard assessment as a social process. …the importance of their relationships with colleagues in developing their sense of the standards to which they were assessing. Then there’s the requirements of regulation and licensing, employers, clients, the Training Package etc. which adds to the complexity of making a good judgement. Andrea Bateman^ cites ANTA 2004a# …that the ‘exercise of professional judgement is considered a key characteristic of professionalism with professional practice. The VET literature suggests that there is a link between the assessor’s level of expertise and tacit knowledge and that of making sound judgements. Remembering that RPL is an assessment, this topic will explore Is good judgement, actually good practice? by looking at RPL assessor skills, knowledge and attributes, more about professional judgement, risk, validation and moderation, RPL processes and systems and recording and reporting. * VET professionals making good judgements: A think piece (Professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006) ^ Professional judgement and assessment: a think piece (professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006) # Enhancing the capability of VET professionals project: final report, ANTA 2004a

4. AQTF The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services to all VET clients. RPL is included in these three standards. The AQTF has been improved to focus on outcomes rather than totally input driven and so continuous improvement is expected. One size does not fit all! Recognising quality in different ways is possible and RTOs can be flexible and distinctive and still demonstrate compliance with the AQTF. Contextualising to industry, employers and individuals is an important part of that flexibility. Uniformity is not required, however, underpinning principles such as principles of evidence do apply. It is suggested that professional judgement is required to ensure that the appropriate RPL assessment tools and processes are used by adapting, modifying and / or supplementing such resources and processes which are ‘ready-made’ and / or endorsed by DEEWR. If the contextualised resources and processes, professional judgement and decisions are well thought through, auditors will observe and recognise good practice, Based on Dr Russell Docking’s think piece: What are the factors relating to AQTF compliance impeding new practices in VET teaching, learning and assessment in a training package environment cited in Professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006 AQTF The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services to all VET clients. RPL is included in these three standards. The AQTF has been improved to focus on outcomes rather than totally input driven and so continuous improvement is expected. One size does not fit all! Recognising quality in different ways is possible and RTOs can be flexible and distinctive and still demonstrate compliance with the AQTF. Contextualising to industry, employers and individuals is an important part of that flexibility. Uniformity is not required, however, underpinning principles such as principles of evidence do apply. It is suggested that professional judgement is required to ensure that the appropriate RPL assessment tools and processes are used by adapting, modifying and / or supplementing such resources and processes which are ‘ready-made’ and / or endorsed by DEEWR. If the contextualised resources and processes, professional judgement and decisions are well thought through, auditors will observe and recognise good practice, Based on Dr Russell Docking’s think piece: What are the factors relating to AQTF compliance impeding new practices in VET teaching, learning and assessment in a training package environment cited in Professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006

5. RPL and Australian Quality Training Framework Essential Standard 1: The RTO provides quality training and assessment across all of its operations. 1.5 Assessment (including RPL): a) Meets the requirements of the relevant Training Package or accredited course b) Is conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment and the rules of evidence Meets workplace and, where relevant, regulatory requirements Emphasis: RPL policy, procedures, tools, professional judgement, recording and reporting, validation, continuous improvement Quality indicatorsRPL and Australian Quality Training Framework Essential Standard 1: The RTO provides quality training and assessment across all of its operations. 1.5 Assessment (including RPL): a) Meets the requirements of the relevant Training Package or accredited course b) Is conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment and the rules of evidence Meets workplace and, where relevant, regulatory requirements Emphasis: RPL policy, procedures, tools, professional judgement, recording and reporting, validation, continuous improvement Quality indicators

6. RPL and Australian Quality Training Framework Essential Standard 2: The RTO adheres to principles of access and equity and maximises outcomes for its clients. 2.2 Before clients enrol or enter into a contract, the RTO informs them about the training, assessment (including RPL) and support services to be provided…. 2.4 Learners receive training, assessment (including RPL) and support services that meet their individual needs. ie assess learner needs and encourage trainees to seek RPL Emphasis: Information a client might expect could include Training and assessment arrangements, including RPL. Clients want to know how you will provide training and assessment; eg, you could explain how RPL works and the context and requirements for RPL. Learners’ training and learning support needs are systematically assessed. You could assess learners’ needs by gathering information about each learner’s prior formal and informal learning, and encouraging learners to seek recognition for this learning through RPL Once a learner needs are assessed, develop a strategy to help them. 2.5 Learners have timely access to current and accurate records of their participation and progress ie how they can access their RPL recordsRPL and Australian Quality Training Framework Essential Standard 2: The RTO adheres to principles of access and equity and maximises outcomes for its clients. 2.2 Before clients enrol or enter into a contract, the RTO informs them about the training, assessment (including RPL) and support services to be provided…. 2.4 Learners receive training, assessment (including RPL) and support services that meet their individual needs. ie assess learner needs and encourage trainees to seek RPL Emphasis: Information a client might expect could include Training and assessment arrangements, including RPL. Clients want to know how you will provide training and assessment; eg, you could explain how RPL works and the context and requirements for RPL. Learners’ training and learning support needs are systematically assessed. You could assess learners’ needs by gathering information about each learner’s prior formal and informal learning, and encouraging learners to seek recognition for this learning through RPL Once a learner needs are assessed, develop a strategy to help them. 2.5 Learners have timely access to current and accurate records of their participation and progress ie how they can access their RPL records

7. Essential Standard 3… Management systems are responsive to the needs of clients, staff and stakeholders, and the environment in which the Registered Training Organisation operates 3.3 The RTO manages records to ensure their accuracy and integrity. Focus – using records to demonstrate compliance with RPL – strategies, validation, complaints and appeals RPL and Australian Quality Training Framework Management systems are responsive to the needs of clients, staff and stakeholders, and the environment in which the Registered Training Organisation operates 3.3 The RTO manages records to ensure their accuracy and integrity. Focus – using records to demonstrate compliance of RPL records – strategies, results, validation, complaints and appealsRPL and Australian Quality Training Framework Management systems are responsive to the needs of clients, staff and stakeholders, and the environment in which the Registered Training Organisation operates 3.3 The RTO manages records to ensure their accuracy and integrity. Focus – using records to demonstrate compliance of RPL records – strategies, results, validation, complaints and appeals

8. Assessors need to justify their decision to all stakeholders – not just auditors…appeals, team, managers, client. Assessors need to be confident about their decision and that it is based on valid, authentic, current, and sufficient / consistent evidence as well as their up to date knowledge, skills and experience in the vocational area and VET practice. This is professional judgement. Assessors need to justify their decision to all stakeholders – not just auditors…appeals, team, managers, client. Assessors need to be confident about their decision and that it is based on valid, authentic, current, and sufficient / consistent evidence as well as their up to date knowledge, skills and experience in the vocational area and VET practice. This is professional judgement.

9. An assessor’s skills, knowledge and attributes contribute to their professional judgement when making a decision about an individual’s competence. It is recognised that a deep understanding of both the vocational area and the training and assessment environment is critical to success in using professional judgement to make a decision about an individual’s performance. Andrea Bateman (2006) believes that making a judgement based on an assessor’s expertise requires – Expert knowledge in the field Deep understanding of underlying principles Accumulated experience in the practice of the profession Familiarity with recent advances in the professional knowledge base Mastery of the best available techniques and tools This is not an end in itself but rather a continuous process of capacity building in the VET sector so that there are positive outcomes for industry, employers and individuals in the world of productive work for business outcomes. Andrea Bateman, Professional judgement and assessment: a think piece (Professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006) An assessor’s skills, knowledge and attributes contribute to their professional judgement when making a decision about an individual’s competence. It is recognised that a deep understanding of both the vocational area and the training and assessment environment is critical to success in using professional judgement to make a decision about an individual’s performance. Andrea Bateman (2006) believes that making a judgement based on an assessor’s expertise requires – Expert knowledge in the field Deep understanding of underlying principles Accumulated experience in the practice of the profession Familiarity with recent advances in the professional knowledge base Mastery of the best available techniques and tools This is not an end in itself but rather a continuous process of capacity building in the VET sector so that there are positive outcomes for industry, employers and individuals in the world of productive work for business outcomes. Andrea Bateman, Professional judgement and assessment: a think piece (Professional Judgement in VET: a set of resources, Suzy McKenna and Dr John Mitchell, Reframing the Future, 2006)

10. Preparing VET practitioners to make good judgements and appropriate professional practices which sustain wise judgements include… Training Professional development Moderation Validation Industry partnerships Professional conversations Professional reflection Analysis, exploration, clarification and discussion Principles of Assessment – Flexibility, fairness, consistency, validity Rules of evidence – AQTF standards (eg 1.5) Preparing VET practitioners to make good judgements and appropriate professional practices which sustain wise judgements include… Training Professional development Moderation Validation Industry partnerships Professional conversations Professional reflection Analysis, exploration, clarification and discussion Principles of Assessment – Flexibility, fairness, consistency, validity Rules of evidence – AQTF standards (eg 1.5)

11. Professional judgement Ken Fraser asserts that professional judgement is developed. Dr Jones has done extensive research into how VET educators make assessment decisions. Dr Jones talks about the nature of the judgements that VET educators make and to see that these are central to professional VET practice and the foundation for quality learning in the VET system. VET practitioners are professionals and make judgements about their practice. As with other professionals, experienced VET educators weave their way through a maze of predicaments and obligations when they are making assessment judgements. Dr Jones asked participants (during research) to tell her about times when it had been difficult to make an assessment decision about a learner’s level of competence. The difficulties included ethical, political and personal predicaments, lack of resources and social tensions. With RPL assessments, there are challenges when making decisions such as how much evidence is enough, will this evidence meet the requirements of the industry, how does this evidence translate in other contexts, are the individual’s skills transferable? If the streamlined, contextualised RPL processes, tools and assessor expertise are appropriate, then there’s a good chance of quality judgements applied to evidence provided. Professional judgement Ken Fraser asserts that professional judgement is developed. Dr Jones has done extensive research into how VET educators make assessment decisions. Dr Jones talks about the nature of the judgements that VET educators make and to see that these are central to professional VET practice and the foundation for quality learning in the VET system. VET practitioners are professionals and make judgements about their practice. As with other professionals, experienced VET educators weave their way through a maze of predicaments and obligations when they are making assessment judgements. Dr Jones asked participants (during research) to tell her about times when it had been difficult to make an assessment decision about a learner’s level of competence. The difficulties included ethical, political and personal predicaments, lack of resources and social tensions. With RPL assessments, there are challenges when making decisions such as how much evidence is enough, will this evidence meet the requirements of the industry, how does this evidence translate in other contexts, are the individual’s skills transferable? If the streamlined, contextualised RPL processes, tools and assessor expertise are appropriate, then there’s a good chance of quality judgements applied to evidence provided.

12. The integrity of the RPL process and making good judgements rests with a range of factors which may include (but not limited to)... Preparation – mapping, training package interpretation, tool development which includes types of evidence examples Planning – practical RPL process Good relationships – with the RPL applicants will help them progress through the RPL process smoothly and without anxiety. The integrity of the RPL process and making good judgements rests with a range of factors which may include (but not limited to)... Preparation – mapping, training package interpretation, tool development which includes types of evidence examples Planning – practical RPL process Good relationships – with the RPL applicants will help them progress through the RPL process smoothly and without anxiety.

13. Integrity of the RPL process… The range of evidence should align to give a picture of competent performance Verification of workplace evidence by asking questions – alignment of evidence Moderation and validation – assessor reflection, employer input, other stakeholder feedback Continuous improvement Assessor skills, knowledge, experience Integrity of the RPL process… The range of evidence should align to give a picture of competent performance Verification of workplace evidence by asking questions – alignment of evidence Moderation and validation – assessor reflection, employer input, other stakeholder feedback Continuous improvement Assessor skills, knowledge, experience

14. Complex judgements in decision making… Layer upon layer… Looking at the picture of competence is like fitting a jig saw together and looking at the layers of performance. Consideration should be given to – Workplace and industry requirements – regulatory ask them and validate Units of competency including dimensions of competency – take a holistic approach aligned to the job role and / or skills sets Employability skills – integrate into role, tasks AQF level – consider whether this job role is under supervision, working autonomous, supervising others Complex judgements in decision making… Layer upon layer… Looking at the picture of competence is like fitting a jig saw together and looking at the layers of performance. Consideration should be given to – Workplace and industry requirements – regulatory ask them and validate Units of competency including dimensions of competency – take a holistic approach aligned to the job role and / or skills sets Employability skills – integrate into role, tasks AQF level – consider whether this job role is under supervision, working autonomous, supervising others

15. Complex judgements in decision making… Inferred competence often comes from a holistic and integrated assessment approach where every performance criteria is not demonstrated in the evidence individually, rather the assessor is making the judgement based on other evidence which is closely related. For example, if evidence is shown for a number of units of competency that the individual can clearly communicate in the workplace, the unit of competency Communicate in the workplace could be granted providing all the aspects of the unit are covered in the evidence presented. There are risks associated with inferred competency and a range of factors which need exploring to ensure that the risks are mitigated. See RPL assessment…RPL basics presentation in this series, for RPL and risk considerations, mode of decision making and risk mitigation. Complex judgements in decision making… Inferred competence often comes from a holistic and integrated assessment approach where every performance criteria is not demonstrated in the evidence individually, rather the assessor is making the judgement based on other evidence which is closely related. For example, if evidence is shown for a number of units of competency that the individual can clearly communicate in the workplace, the unit of competency Communicate in the workplace could be granted providing all the aspects of the unit are covered in the evidence presented. There are risks associated with inferred competency and a range of factors which need exploring to ensure that the risks are mitigated. See RPL assessment…RPL basics presentation in this series, for RPL and risk considerations, mode of decision making and risk mitigation.

16. Moderation, validation and verification procedures need to address all questions and to do so in a way that promotes confidence in the actual competency judgements. The evidence is reviewed using the rules of evidence. Moderation, validation and verification procedures need to address all questions and to do so in a way that promotes confidence in the actual competency judgements. The evidence is reviewed using the rules of evidence.

17. RPL processes and systems… …Support successful RPL outcomes ….Are used to record and report RPL outcomes. See RPL assessment…RPL recording and reporting presentation in this series. RPL processes and systems… …Support successful RPL outcomes ….Are used to record and report RPL outcomes. See RPL assessment…RPL recording and reporting presentation in this series.

18. Industry and employers need to have faith in the VET system so that competent workers have the ability to perform their jobs to the appropriate standards. Whilst this is a simple statement, the complexities of providing quality and compliant RPL requires: understanding the AQTF developing appropriate RPL skills using professional judgement ensuring integrity of the RPL process making complex judgements in decision making, and using appropriate RPL processes and systems Industry and employers need to have faith in the VET system so that competent workers have the ability to perform their jobs to the appropriate standards. Whilst this is a simple statement, the complexities of providing quality and compliant RPL requires: understanding the AQTF developing appropriate RPL skills using professional judgement ensuring integrity of the RPL process making complex judgements in decision making, and using appropriate RPL processes and systems

19. RPL actions… RTO assessors What are your skills, knowledge, experience… Do you have confidence in making RPL assessment decisions using your professional judgement… RTO What are your RPL processes, systems, recording and reporting… How do the RPL processes and systems align to the AQTF… What resources will you need…RPL actions… RTO assessors What are your skills, knowledge, experience… Do you have confidence in making RPL assessment decisions using your professional judgement… RTO What are your RPL processes, systems, recording and reporting… How do the RPL processes and systems align to the AQTF… What resources will you need…

20. Use these resources for research, background information and reference, developing context and developing examples. More resources and links available at: www.training.sa.gov.au/ (RPL Links and Resources) Consider using these references to add to this presentation: RPL assessment…RPL basics, the second presentation, part 1 in this series RPL assessment…RPL recording and reporting, the second presentation, part 4 in this series Enhancing the capability of VET professionals project: final report, ANTA 2004a RPL Fact Sheets 1-9, DFEEST / COAG Program 2007-2009 Use these resources for research, background information and reference, developing context and developing examples. More resources and links available at: www.training.sa.gov.au/ (RPL Links and Resources) Consider using these references to add to this presentation: RPL assessment…RPL basics, the second presentation, part 1 in this series RPL assessment…RPL recording and reporting, the second presentation, part 4 in this series Enhancing the capability of VET professionals project: final report, ANTA 2004a RPL Fact Sheets 1-9, DFEEST / COAG Program 2007-2009

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