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Conducting an effective appraisal with the four principles of assessment.

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Clause 1.8 of the RTO Standards Guide deals with The Principles of Assessment. The clause lists the four principles: Fairness, Flexibility, Validity and Reliability. Let’s discuss these and how they relate to the RTO assessment procedure.


The essence of the first principle, fairness, is founded on the learner’s needs getting due consideration. RTOs can ensure equitable assessments by making reasonable adjustments to accommodate each learner’s requirements. The individual must possess a definite knowledge and understand the assessment process so that they may even object to the decisions of the assessment, dispute them and have the opportunity to be re-evaluated. In essence, this creates an equal opportunity for all learners to receive the training they need at the level they would expect without facing any disadvantages if they require supplementary support.


Similar to the fairness principle, the principle of flexibility focuses on the considerations of the different needs of learners at the time of an RTO assessment process. An RTO assessment is considered flexible to individual learners by first echoing their needs. It should also evaluate the learner’s skills regardless of how or when these skills were obtained. Finally, flexibility can be achieved by using diverse approaches that are the most applicable to the situation, the learner and the assessment requirements. It is best for your RTO assessment tool to make these factors achievable and may comprise the option to propose different media during the assessment process.


The following principle, validity, ensures that the RTO assessment's decision is established on proof of performance. This means that the assessment process evaluates and appraises the ability and aptitude of the individual learner. Some requirements are necessary for this process to be legitimate and affirm that a learner has all the abilities, experience and competence characterized in a training program. Validity needs to appraise the needs that cover skills and familiarity fundamental to capable accomplishment. Assessments need to deduce that learners can show ability and aptitude when needed. Capability is founded on the learners' ability to demonstrate these skills in other comparable conditions. Competence is supported by proof of individual learners' achievements matching up with units of competence and correlated assessment requirements.

Reliability The last principle on the list is reliability. This principle is defined by having a training provider's assessor always define assessment evidence uniformly, and regardless of the individual or group doing the assessment, the decisions and conclusions should always be consistent, and all results should be the same concerning the learner's ability in question.

Your RTO should have an assessment tool to put these four principles into action effectively and adequately in your assessment method. This will provide direction and guide decisions on how individuals are performing and answers to queries or uncertainties regarding assessments. Creating an effective assessment tool is critical in enforcing the four principles of assessment in your RTO’s practice.

For expert advice and support for your RTO, call us on 1300 833 424 in Australia or complete our contact form online. From RTO setup to compliance, internal audits, and much more, we are here to help.

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