NEW approaches and strategies are required if your RTO offers VET FEE HELP
The VET FEE HELP reforms, effective from 1 January 2016, are explained in this December 2015 Provider Update. New expectations relate to the pre-enrolment stage, particularly where VET Diploma level (and above) courses are offered. The RTO must develop a Student Entry Procedure with two different but related aspects:
- information about the course and the course requirements, for example, course overview and purpose, course structure and delivery, commitment in hours per week, task/texts involved, access to internet/on-line resources, time available for workplace experience.
- information about the entry procedure and what is required to be eligible to commence the course.
NEW: eligibility requirements:
For VET courses at Diploma level or above, applicants must demonstrate, or provide evidence of reading and numeracy skills at ACSF skills at level 3 or above.
ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP Providers, p5, accessed 5/1/2016
To demonstrate competency, the applicant must provide evidence to satisfy one of the following requirements:
- Successful completion of Year 12 (from an Australian State or Territory)
- Reading and numeracy skills at, or above, exit level 3 Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).
- Information to enable the RTO provider to deem the person holds the competence required.
To ponder ….
1 Completion of Year 12: With any range of subjects? Obtained many years ago? Generally completion of Year 12 is used by higher education to determine eligibility for university entry, including at bachelor degrees (AQF level 7). From your experience, will this be sufficient evidence of existing skills for entry to Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma (AQF level 8)?
2 Complete a pre-training assessment: Does the tool used by your RTO:
- identify sufficient information about the person’s reading and numeracy skills ?
- report against the ACSF?
- meet the new requirements for validation and assessment described in the document Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE-HELP providers? (See NEW: specific requirements for pre-training assessment tools below)?
3 Deeming the person holds the necessary skills: How will your RTO:
- determine which evidence/information?
- gather and collate the evidence?
- articulate the requirements to applicants?
Could targeted and specific tasks ‘top-up’ current evidence?
NEW: specific requirements for pre-training assessment tools
For courses at Diploma level or above, applicants must demonstrate, or provide evidence of reading and numeracy skills at ACSF skills at level 3 or above.
“Given that this requirement determines access or not to the VET FEE-HELP programme this should be considered as an important and critical process by RTOs where the criteria established need to be implemented using not only a quality LLN assessment tool but also through implementing and undertaking quality assessment processes and practices.”
ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP Providers, p6, accessed 5/1/2016
The Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP providers offers detailed information and considerations to guide the evaluation or review of tools you may be using. Five key aspects are discussed in detail: Validity, Reliability, Fairness, Construction and Effectiveness. The following overview offers aspects to ponder ….:
- Does it actually assess the skills as described in the ACSF for the level?
- Are the expected responses agreed and accurate?
- Have the expected responses been tested and trialled?
- Do the tasks use stimuli across a range of real life texts and situations in English?
- Are there sufficient tasks to cover a significant number of the core skill focus areas and represent all indicators?
- How sure are you that the assessment process produces consistent results?
- For manual marking, are there clear and unambiguous marking guides that set out what the responses are and what the overall result needs to be?
- Has the tool been trialled with people wanting to study at Diploma Level?
- Does the tool advise the resources and support allowed?
- Is the tool available to all potential applicants?
- Are all applicants offered the same conditions eg necessary time, resource availability, process clarification?
- Could the content be offensive, and does the content relate to what is being measured?
- What are the security issues?
- Does the tool use of clear language, clear and clean layout, clear navigation if online, engaging material, and appropriate use of English.
5 Effectively and validly identifies students who are eligible for VET FEE-HELP:
- Are there sufficient questions at level 3 to cover a range of the core skill/level performance features are required to identify competency at ACSF Level 3?
The VET FEE HELP reforms also state that the results are communicated as soon as practicable to the applicant.
- Does the tool do this automatically?
- If not, how will this happen?
Use an approved testing tool
“The Minister must be satisfied that the tool is a valid, reliable, fair and well constructed way of assessing whether competence is at or above Exit Level 3 in the ACSF; and that the tool has been appropriately verified and evaluated using evidence-based assessment by a suitably qualified independent body in accordance with the report entitled “Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE-HELP providers”,
DET, December 2015, VET FEE HELP Provider Fact Sheet, p2
If you are not sure if the tool used at your RTO meets the VET FEE HELP requirements, a comprehensive checklist with key specifications against each of the five criteria for assessing the tool is located as Appendix 1 of ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP Providers ps 31-36. Assessments of the LLN tool must have regard t0 the contents within this ACER Appendix 1 checklist.
Who can verify (approve)?
“A qualified LLN assessor will be someone with specific expertise and qualifications in LLN, such as the TAE80113 – Graduate Diploma of Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice or equivalent. The new TAE unit TAELLN401A Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills in TAE40110 is not sufficient for this purpose”.
ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP providers, p. 17, accessed 5/1/2016.
What are the options?
1 Use an RTO developed tool (in-house, or accessed from another RTO)
Providers will have the option of using their own LLN testing instruments where providers are able to provide evidence based justification that their LLN test has been externally and independently verified as being able to reliably and validly report performance at the minimum LLN standard established against the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).
ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP providers, p.5, accessed 5/1/2016.
If you are aiming to construct a tool, examples of tasks/questions/content range aligned to the ACSF levels can be accessed at Precision Consultancy. Exploring the tools across different ACSF levels is also a helpful way to recognise the performance features indicative at the ACSF core skills and levels.
2 Use a government commissioned Pre-training Assessment too
- The Core Skills Profile for Adults CSPA is currently available and recommended in the December 2015 VET FEE HELP Provider Factsheet. This tool assesses Reading Writing and Numeracy skills, as well as Abstract and Mathematical reasoning. The tool can also be tailored to industry specific content.
- The Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) has been released. The tool is ready to use for all Pre-training assessments other than pre-training assessment to determine eligibility for VET FEE Help. To meet the requirements for VET FEE Help further trials are required. To read more about the FSAT tool, access the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool(FSAT): 1st of its kind in Australia post on this site.
3 Use a free or commercially available tool
There are a number of tools available. Given the new criteria, it will be important to review the tool and the implementation processes against the quality tool criteria and quality assessment requirements described and explained in the ACER, 2015, Assessment of LLN testing instruments and processes for VET FEE HELP providers. The detailed information provided may help guide your decisions.
If you have further questions, or would like your pre-training assessment tool reviewed, contact me at: