Assessment is not sexy

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My least favourite experience is the dinner party with new acquaintances. Inevitably, someone asks what I do for a living. “Assessment Design Consultant in the VET sector” always receives blank looks. However, that’s not the worst part. Any attempt to explain my work results in eyes becoming glazed over and the conversation quickly being turned to a topic both more interesting and more comprehensible.

Assessment compliance is not sexy. It’s not popular. It’s not a top of the list career choice. However, each of the 5000 or so RTOs in Australia must grapple with assessment-related compliance issues on a daily basis. When those RTOs are found non-compliant by the National Regulator (ASQA), one of their options is to contact a person such as myself. I don’t profess to have all the answers; what I can do is help identify the negotiables from the non-negotiables and what may constitute a ‘defensible argument’ when faced with a potential non-compliance notice.

My work has the potential to be mundane and repetitive. After all, the Standards for RTOs have been in place in one form or another for a considerable period of time (aah… fond memories of the 1998 Australian Recognition Framework). What keeps it interesting are the changes in each version of the Standards, the inventive ways RTOs have to address them (or not) and the mysterious differences in interpretation by auditors.

And so, although we’ve had competency based training and assessment since the 1990s and our practitioners all have their Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, the VET sector continues to struggle with the basics and I will continue to receive glazed looks at dinner parties for many years to come.