I'm loving ASQA's strategic audit focus 2016/17

Quality of VET

I’m writing this fresh from hearing Pam Christi (Executive Director, Regulatory Operations, ASQA) speak this morning at the ACPET VET VIC forum.

First she shared some interesting statistics (I’m a fan of statistics)

  • There are 4 million VET students in Australia
  • Victoria has the largest number of RTOs, 1050 in total
  • 33% of RTOs nationally are found compliant when ASQA conduct an audit (only 24% in Victoria)
  • Complaints to ASQA have significantly increased from 1500 to 2000 over the last 12 months
  • Assessment continues to be the biggest issue

But more interesting than the stats, is the direction ASQA is moving toward. Pam provided a regulatory update and roadmap on the year ahead.  I have to say, I loved what she was saying.

ASQA is redesigning their audit model, one which will:

  • Focus on provider behaviours and practices as well as systems and processes
  • Make greater use of student input and a focus on the student experience
  • Allow for greater customisation of the audit process and scope

RTOs will be expected to show how their policies/processes/templates and systems are actually put into practice.  They are aiming to audit from the perspective of the student learning cycle – from marketing to certification.  RTOs will need to show how they are providing students a quality learning experience.  This is a good move and one I hope ‘humanises’ the focus of audits, and therefore also move the focus of RTOs from compliance to their students.

Pam also outline the target areas for strategic audits over the next couple of years, I’m really loving these:

  • Informing and protecting learners 
    Making sure learners are fully informed about the training RTOs are offering including the course length, entry requirements, costs and fee structure, refunds, complaints and appeals, third party arrangements
  • Amount of Training
    Amount of training is the formal and structured training provided to allow learners to absorb the knowledge and practise the skills in different contexts.  It may include assessments if they are integrated with learning e.g projects/assignments see fact sheets: ASQA Amount of Training and WA TAC fact sheet . RTOs should have a unit or unit cluster delivery plan in place that documents the training that occurs – online, in class, out of class, in the workplace etc.  If you don’t, have a look at the unit delivery plan template I have developed to help your staff document the amount of training they provide.
  • Capability of trainers and assessors
    ASQA find that RTO staff struggle to understand how to correct issues with assessment.  The single most common issue is failing to assess all components of the unit. For this reason the unit Design and develop assessment tools has been added as core in the new CIV in Training and assessment.
    Trainers unable to demonstrate they have current skills and knowledge in the units they are teaching.

So make sure your RTO is also focusing on these this year.