Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) : 1st of its kind for Australia

This is the one we’ve been waiting for… a high-quality, FREE assessment tool that RTOs can use to test learners in ALL foundation skills – i.e. LLN and employability skills!

The Department of Education has finally released FSAT, which the team at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has been working on for the past 2+ years.  This is the foundation skills assessment tool we’ve been waiting for!

In this post we’ll:

  • explain what the FSAT is
  • describe 7 benefits of using FSAT
  • explain exactly which core skills are assessed with FSAT, and how
  • tell you how you can help get FSAT approved for use with VET FEE Help students, asap
  • help you get started!

What is the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT)?

The Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) is an interactive online tool designed to identify and measure an individual’s foundation skill levels. This includes English language, literacy and numeracy skills as well as employability skills.

It uses the theoretical underpinnings of the Australian Core Skills Framework (language, literacy and numeracy) and the Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework (employability skills).

Source: (DET FSAT Frequently asked Questions)

7 reasons to use FSAT

1 Developed by ACSF and CSfW experts All of the tasks and questions used in FSAT have been developed jointly by teams of external ACSF and CSFW experts, including authors of the two frameworks, working alongside ACER assessment experts.
2 ACSF and CSfW assessed Language Literacy and Numeracy AND Employability skills
3 Assess 5 levels ACSF 5 skill levels AND CSfW 5 skill levels
4 Computer adaptive assessment Comprehensive branching structure to target the appropriate level of question difficulty

For details about the skills assessed on and off-line – see What skills are assessed and how?

5 See the results immediately Automatic and immediate scoring and report generation available for all online assessed core skills
6 Resources for the skills assessed offline Offline components come with manuals, prompts and marking guides
7 IT’S FREE That’s right, NO service fee!

What skills are assessed, and how?

Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) core skills assessed

Automatically scored skills ACSF Non-automatically scored assessments ACSF
  • Learning (Indicator 2)
  • Reading
  • Receptive listening
  • Numeracy
  • Learning (Indicator 1)
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Interactive listening

Core Skills for Work (CSfW) core skills assessed

Please NOTE: Nine out of ten CSfW core skills are assessed automatically. During the testing stage it was found that Skill Area 3d Create and Innovate did not adapt well to automatic assessment so needs to be assessed off line.

Skill Cluster

Skill Area

Navigate the world of work 1a Manage career and work life

1b Work with roles rights and protocols

Interact with others 2a Communicate for work

2b Connect and work with others

2c Recognise and utilise diverse perspectives

Get the work done 3a Plan and organise

3b Make decisions

3c Identify and Solve Problems

3d Create and Innovate (See NOTE above)

3e Work in a digital world

Use FSAT to assess prospective, or existing learners across all adult education and vocational training, courses and levels.  FSAT results can help you:

  • provide targeted feedback to each prospective learner about the range of skills they hold (i.e. their strengths) and skills to develop
  • guide and develop solutions, strategies, resources or advice so that prospective learners know what to do, and where to access the support
  • prepare candidates for a VET FEE Help approved assessment.

How to get started using FSAT

  1. First, you will need to register your organisation with an FSAT account.  For more information about registering, click here.
  2. Once you have your account up and running, you may give your clients access to FSAT.

More information

ACSF CSfW
FSAT – general information FSAT – Frequently asked questions

See, also, other parts of our site:

  • access the information on our Foundation Skills page
  • or contact us via LLNandVETmeetingplace@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACSF, LLN, FSK, FS, CSfW, FSAT – making sense of the jargon

Foundation Skills under the Spotlight

Why are these acronyms relevant? No doubt you are aware that foundation skills are under the spotlight. As training professionals we are encouraged to raise the foundation skills profile; shifting their presence from implicit and assumed, to explicit and planned to be part of each stage of training delivery.

Each VET course and each VET unit has foundation skills within the Performance Criteria tasks and the Required Skills and Knowledge. Identifying the ACSF (LLN) core skill and the CSfW (Employability Skills) is the first step to bringing these to the forefront of planning, instruction and assessment.

A snapshot of these acronyms: FSK, ACsf, FS, csfw, fsat, and lln
Foundation Skills (FS)
The term Foundation Skills was introduced by the National Quality Council (NQC) and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Joint Steering Committee (2009) in the Foundation Skills in VET Products for the 21st Century. Foundation Skills are under the spotlight; promoted as being critical for a person to fully participate in the workforce, community, education and training, and critical to the future of the Australian economy. Foundation Skills were initially described in the DEEWR National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults Consultation Paper (2011) as a combination of the ACSF Core Skills (Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication and Numeracy) AND Employability Skill (see list below) and continue to be understood in this way.Foundation SkillsACSF and CSfW

Both the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and the Core Skills for Work developmental framework (CSfW) are nationally developed frameworks. Each presents stages of development across levels of performance.  Each provides a common language and reference points to discuss or address particular skills. The ACSF presents descriptors that relate to the life-wide participation of adults in community, the workplace, or education/training contexts. The CSfW descriptors relate to  employability skills within the workforce practice, or workforce training: navigating the world of work, interacting with others, and getting the work done.

They are purposefully designed resources to enable professionals to:

  • communicate about aspects of  training content and context using consistent descriptions (the foundation skills involved).
  • identify and describe, the required  foundation skills to successfully participate within the training context (knowing the the foundation skill demand)
  • articulate the foundation skills and knowledge of those participating in the training, their skills, knowledge or understanding, observed or revealed through their responses. (knowing the learners).
  • tailor instruction and assessment approaches to strengthen foundation skills and knowledge (knowing what to do)

It is important to note, foundation skills capacity:

  • is not necessarily fixed or permanent, there is scope for development.
  • in any single descriptor/indicator is usually dependent on capacity of more than one related descriptor/indicator.
  • is dependent on the context, and can vary from one context to another.
  • takes time to develop. A complex matrix of inter-related variables impact on learning and transformation.
LLN

LLN is an acronym for Language Literacy and Numeracy – generally used to represent the core skills embraced in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF)  – Learning, Reading Writing Oral Communication and Numeracy.

FSAT

Funded by the Department of Industry, the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) is currently being developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The tool will involve identification of an individual’s capacity against both  core skills (ACSF) and  employability skills. Information provided on the link explains how the different skills will be assessed. Currently RTOs have volunteered to be involved with the trials of the tool, then following necessary adjustments it will be available freely for use. The ACER want more RTOs to be involved with the trial stage, so register your interest.

FSK

FSK can represent Foundation Skills, or, is more commonly known to represent the Foundation Skills Training Package (FSK).

The Foundation Skills Training Package (FSK) is a suite of 91 units, each one aligned to an ACSF core skill (Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Numeracy), and core skill level level (1 to 5). The Employability Skills are embedded within these 91 units aligned to the relevant ACSF core skills and levels . For example Team Work, Negotiating and Presenting are within the ACSF core skill Oral Communication

It is intended that the Foundation Skills units, or courses (FSK10113 Certificate I in Access to Vocational Pathways , FSK10213 Certificate I in Skills for Vocational Pathways, FSK20113 Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways) are delivered  within a vocational context to support the foundation skill development that may be necessary for people undertaking workplace training.

If you have any questions – contact us. We welcome your interest.