Assess competence

This unit specifies the competence required to assess the competence of a candidate.


This unit addresses the competence of conducting competency assessment in accordance with a developed assessment plan. It includes assessment for recognition of prior learning (RPL) or as part of a learning and assessment pathway.

The critical focus of this unit is on interpreting the collected evidence and making a judgement of competence against the specified competency standards by applying the principles of assessment and rules of evidence. This unit also covers demonstration of the professional relationship between assessor and candidate/s and the skills needed to support this relationship.

The achievement of this unit includes interpretation of competency standards, (where competency standards are used as the benchmarks for assessment). TAADES401B Use Training Packages to meet client needs addresses this skill in depth.

This unit does not address the development of an assessment/RPL plan or organisation of required resources for assessment/RPL, which is addressed in TAAASS401C Plan and organise assessment.

The competence specified in this unit is typically required by assessors.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria


Establish and maintain the assessment environment


The assessment/ RPL plan is interpreted and assessment system policies and procedures and organisational/ legal/ethical requirements for conducting assessment are confirmed with relevant people


The relevant benchmarks for assessment/ RPL and nominated assessment tools are accessed and interpreted to confirm the evidence to be collected and how it is to be collected


Details of the assessment/ RPL plan and the assessment process are explained, discussed and clarified with the candidate including opportunities for assessment, reasonable adjustment, re-assessment and appeals


Proposed changes to the assessment process are negotiated and agreed with the candidate, where relevant


Gather quality evidence


The assessment/ RPL plan is followed to guide the conduct of assessment and assessment methods and assessment tools are used to gather, organise and document evidence in a format suitable for determining competence


The principles of assessment and rules of evidence are applied in gathering quality evidence


Opportunities for evidence gathering in work activities/simulated work activities are determined with the candidate and relevant personnel


Opportunities for integrated assessment activities/ RPL are identified and assessment tools are modified, where required


Identified assessment/ RPL system policies and procedures and organisational/legal/ethical and requirements for assessment are addressed


Support the candidate


Candidates are guided in gathering their own evidence to support recognition of prior learning


Appropriate communication and interpersonal skills are used to develop a professional relationship with the candidate which reflects sensitivity to individual differences and enables two-way feedback


Decisions on reasonable adjustment/s, where applicable, are made with the candidate, based on candidate's needs and characteristics


Reasonable adjustments must maintain the integrity of the relevant competency standards and provide balanced application of the principles of assessment and rules of evidence


Specialist support is accessed, where required, in accordance with the assessment plan


Any occupational health and safety (OHS) risk to person or equipment is addressed immediately


Make the assessment decision


Limitations in obtaining and evaluating quality evidence are identified and assistance is sought, where required, from relevant people


Collected evidence is examined and evaluated to ensure that it reflects the evidence required to demonstrate competency and which:

encompasses all component parts of the competency standards and the dimensions of competency (where competency standards are the benchmarks for assessment/ RPL)

addresses other related documentation

complies with the rules of evidence


Judgement is used to infer whether competence has been demonstrated, based on the available evidence


Relevant assessment, including RPL, system policies and procedures and organisational/ legal/ethical considerations are addressed in making the assessment decision


Clear and constructive feedback is provided to the candidate regarding the assessment decision and a follow-up action plan is developed, where required


Record and report the assessment decision


Assessment/ RPL outcomes are recorded promptly and accurately in accordance with assessment/ RPL system policies and procedures and organisational/legal/ethical requirements


An assessment report is completed and processed in accordance with assessment system policies and procedures and organisational/legal/ethical requirements


Recommendations for follow up action are submitted to relevant people, where required


Other relevant parties are informed of the assessment decision where required, and in accordance with confidentiality conventions


Review the assessment process


The assessment/ RPL process is reviewed against criteria in consultation with relevant people to improve and modify future assessment practice


The review is documented and recorded in accordance with relevant assessment system policies and procedures and organisational/ legal/ethical requirements


Reflection skills are used to review and self-evaluate assessment practice

Required Skills

Required skills

analysis and interpretation skills to:

unpack competency standards

interpret assessment tools and other assessment information, including those used in RPL

identify candidate needs

make judgements based on assessing available evidence

observation skills to:

recognise candidate prior learning

determine candidate readiness for assessment

observe candidate performance

identify when candidate may need assistance throughout the assessment processes

research and evaluation skills to:

access required human and material resources for assessment

access assessment system policies and procedures

access RPL policies and procedures

evaluate evidence

evaluate the assessment process

cognitive skills to:

weigh up the evidence and make a judgement

consider and recommend reasonable adjustments

decision making skills to:

recognise a candidate's prior learning

make a decision on a candidate's competence

literacy skills to:

read and interpret relevant information to conduct assessment

prepare required documentation and records/reports of assessment outcomes in required format

communications/interpersonal skills to:

explain the assessment, including RPL process to the candidate

give clear and precise instructions

ask effective questions

provide clarification

discuss process with other relevant people

give appropriate feedback to the candidate

discuss assessment outcome with the candidate

using language appropriate to the candidate and assessment environment

establish a working relationship with the candidate

attributes including:

a willingness to guide and support candidates

capacity to encourage, accept and utilise feedback

sensitivity to individual difference and need

ethical conduct in assessment

Required knowledge

competency-based assessment covering:

vocational education and training as a competency-based system

assessment is criterion referenced/distinction to norm referenced assessment

criterion used in national VET is endorsed or accredited competency standards defining specifications for performance of work/work functions and skills/knowledge

reporting of competency-based assessment

competency standards as the basis of qualifications

the principles of competency-based assessment

the structure and application of competency standards

what are the principles of assessment and how are they applied (validity, reliability, fairness, flexibility)

what are the rules of evidence and how are they applied (valid, authentic, sufficient, current)

the range of assessment purposes and assessment contexts, including RPL

different types of assessment methods, including suitability for gathering various types of evidence; suitability for content of units; resource requirements and associated costs

what are reasonable adjustments/when are they applicable/not applicable

basic evaluation methodologies suitable for reviewing personal assessment practice

types and forms of evidence, including assessment tools that are relevant to gathering different types of evidence used in competency-based assessments, including RPL

practical knowledge of the potential barriers and processes relating to assessment tools and methods

the assessment system and assessment policies and procedures established by the industry, organisation or training authority

the RPL polices and procedures established by the organisation

cultural sensitivity and equity considerations

relevant policy, legislation, codes of practice and national standards including national Commonwealth and state/territory legislation for example:

copyright and privacy laws in terms of electronic technology

security of information


Training Packages/competency standards

licensing requirements

industry/workplace requirements

duty of care under common law

recording information and confidentiality requirements

anti-discrimination including equal opportunity, racial vilification and disability discrimination

workplace relations

industrial awards/enterprise agreements

OHS responsibilities associated with assessing competence such as:

requirements for reporting hazards and incidents

emergency procedures and procedures for use of relevant personal protective equipment

safe use and maintenance of relevant equipment

sources of OHS information

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

To demonstrate competence against this unit, candidates must be able to provide evidence that they can assess the competence of another individual through a process of collecting and reviewing evidence and making an informed judgement.

The evidence provided must show: how the assessment environment was established and how the candidate's needs were met; how the units of competency were interpreted to determine the evidence requirements; how the assessment plan was followed; how the assessment tools were used in collecting evidence; the basis for the assessment decision using the rules of evidence; communication skills used to guide, support and provide feedback to the candidate during the assessment process; records and reports; and how the assessment process was reviewed.

Products that could be used as evidence include:

completed RPL/assessment tools/templates/checklists

documentation of evidence collected and assessment, including RPL decisions

feedback from candidate/assessor/supervisor/RPL coordinator

feedback to candidate with recommendations for future options

completed assessment/RPL records/reports

reviews of assessment practices and recommended changes to future practices

Processes could be used as evidence include:

how competency standards and other documents were interpreted

how assessment activities, including RPL, were scheduled

how the assessment plan was modified to meet candidate needs

how evidence was collated and evaluated against the rules of evidence

Resource implications for assessment include:

access to candidates to be assessed

access to competency standards

access to assessment materials and tools

access to suitable assessment venue/equipment

workplace documentation

access to RPL policies and procedures

access to documentation/records of candidate to determine specific requirements

cost/time considerations

personnel requirements

The collection of quality evidence requires that:

assessment must address the scope of this unit and reflect all components of the unit, i.e. the Elements, Performance Criteria, Range Statement, Evidence Guide, Employability Skills

a range of appropriate assessment methods/evidence gathering techniques is used to determine competency

evidence must be gathered in the workplace wherever possible. Where no workplace is available, a simulated workplace must be provided

the evidence collected must relate to a number of performances assessed at different points in time and in a learning and assessment pathway these must be separated by further learning and practice

evidence collected must relate to at least one example of a RPL assessment

assessment meets the rules of evidence

a judgement of competence should only be made when the assessor is confident that the required outcomes of the unit have been achieved and that consistent performance has been demonstrated

Specific evidence requirements must include:

carrying out assessment of a number of candidates, assessed against different units of competency or accredited curricula, following the relevant assessment plan

at least one candidate must be assessed through an assessment only pathway

at least one candidate must be assessed for RPL

at least one assessment must include consideration of reasonable adjustment and the reasons for decisions and approach

all must show:

the application of different assessment methods and tools involving a range of assessment activities and events

demonstration of two-way communication and feedback

how judgement was exercised in making the assessment decision how and when assessment outcomes were recorded and reported

completion of assessment records/reports in accordance with assessment system - legal/organisational ethical requirements

how the assessment process was reviewed and the review outcomes documented

Integrated assessment means that:

this unit can be assessed alone or as part of an integrated assessment activity involving relevant units in the TAA04 Training and Assessment Training Package. Suggested units include but are not limited to:

TAAASS401C Plan and organise assessment

TAAASS403B Develop assessment tools

TAAASS404B Participate in assessment validation

TAADES401B Use Training Packages to meet client needs.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

An assessment/ RPL plan is the overall planning document for the assessment process and may include:

the purpose and aims of the assessment, including RPL

the context of assessment

identified personnel

relevant competency standards and other assessment documentation

relationship with RPL policy and procedures

evidence plan

identified assessment methods and assessment tools

possibilities for clustering units of competency for assessment purposes

identified OHS hazards, including assessed risks and control strategies

material/physical resources required

organisational arrangements for conducting assessment

OHS reporting requirements

any special assessment needs, e.g. personal protective equipment requirements

outline of assessment milestones, time lines and target dates

candidate self-assessment procedures

connections to relevant organisational plans, polices and procedures

Assessment system policies and procedures may include:

candidate selection

rational and purpose of competency-based assessment

assessment records/data management/information management

recognition of prior learning

recognition of credit transfer arrangements

assessors - needs, qualifications, maintaining currency

assessment reporting procedures

assessment appeals

candidate grievances/complaints


evaluation/internal audit


access and equity/reasonable adjustment

partnership arrangements

links with human resource or industrial relations systems

links with overall quality management system

Organisational/legal/ethical requirements may include:

assessment system policies and procedures

Recognition of prior learning policies and procedures

reporting, recording and retrieval systems for assessment

licensing/legal ramifications of assessing competence

requirements of training and/or assessment organisations relating to assessment and validation

quality assurance systems

business and performance plans

collaborative/partnership arrangements

policies, procedures and programs

defined resource parameters

mutual recognition arrangements

industrial relations systems and processes, awards/enterprise agreements

Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF2007) Essential Standards for Registration

registration scope

human resources policies/procedures

legal requirements including anti-discrimination, equal employment, job role/responsibilities/conditions

relevant industry codes of practice

confidentiality and privacy requirements of information relating to completed assessments

OHS considerations, including:

ensuring OHS requirements are adhered to during the assessment process

identifying and reporting OHS hazards and concerns to relevant personnel

Relevant people may include:

the candidate/s

other assessors

the client, company or organisation

team leaders, managers, supervisors


RTO coordinators

technical/subject experts

training and assessment coordinators

industry regulators

employee and employer representatives

members of professional associations

Commonwealth department official/Centrelink staff/caseworker

Australian Apprenticeship Centre (AAC) personnel

Benchmark/s for assessment/ RPL refers to:

the criterion against which the candidate is assessed which, may be a competency standard/unit of competency, assessment criteria of course curricula, performance specifications, product specifications

Assessment tools contain both the instrument and the procedures for gathering and interpreting evidence in accordance with designated assessment methods and may include:

the instruments to be used for gathering evidence such as:

a profile of acceptable performance measures


specific questions or activities

evidence/observation checklists

checklists for the evaluation of work samples

candidate self-assessment materials

the procedures, information and instructions for the assessor/candidate relating to the use of assessment instruments and assessment conditions

Reasonable adjustment must not compromise the integrity of the competency standard and may include:

adjustments to the assessment process taking into account candidate's language, literacy, numeracy requirements

provision of personal support services, for example, reader, interpreter, attendant carer, scribe, member of community in attendance

use of adaptive technology or special equipment

flexible assessment sessions to allow for fatigue or administering of medication

format of assessment materials, for example, in Braille, first language, use of audiotape/videotape

adjustments to the physical environment or venue

revising proposed assessment methods/tools

considerations relating to age and/or gender,

considerations relating to cultural beliefs, traditional practices, religious observances

Assessment methods are the particular techniques used to gather different types of evidence and may include:

direct observation, for example:

real work/real time activities at the workplace

work activities in a simulated workplace environment

structured activities, for example:

simulation exercises/role-plays



activity sheets

questioning, for example:

written questions, e.g. on a computer



verbal questioning


oral/written examinations (for higher AQF levels)

portfolios, for example:

collections of work samples by the candidate

product with supporting documentation

historical evidence

journal/log book

information about life experience

review of products, for example:

products as a result of a project

work samples/products

third party feedback, for example:

testimonials/reports from employers/supervisors

evidence of training

authenticated prior achievements

interview with employer, supervisor, peer

Principles of assessment guide the assessment process and must address:





Rules of evidence are closely related to the assessment principles and provide guidance on the collection of evidence to ensure that it is:





Quality evidence addresses the rules of evidence and must:

encompass the Performance Criteria to demonstrate achievement of the outcomes (Elements)

reflect the skills, knowledge and attributes defined in the relevant units of competency

show application of the skills in the context described in the Range Statement

demonstrate competence over a period of time

demonstrate repeatable competence

be the work of the candidate

be able to be verified

demonstrate current skills/knowledge of the candidate

not inflate the language, literacy and numeracy requirements beyond those required in the performance of the competency

Guided means to explain to the candidate:

what is recognition of prior learning

what is assessment

what are assessment tools

how to use these tools

the rules of evidence that must be met by the evidence they provide

Recognition of prior learning is defined as:

an assessment process that assesses an individual's non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes, or standards for entry to and/or partial or total completion of a qualification.

Communication skills may include:

providing constructive and supportive feedback

using active listening

using appropriate questioning to clarify and confirm instructions for evidence gathering

accurately interpreting verbal messages

assisting candidates to paraphrase advice/instructions to the assessor

making clear and concrete presentations of options/advice

Interpersonal skills may include:

accurately interpreting non-verbal messages

engaging in two-way interaction

using language appropriate to candidate, assessment context and work performance addressed by competency standards

using language and concepts appropriate to cultural differences

using culturally inclusive and sensitive techniques

Individual differences may include:

English language, literacy and numeracy barriers

physical impairment or disability involving hearing, vision, voice, mobility

intellectual impairment or disability

medical conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, diabetes and asthma that are not obvious but may impact on assessment

learning difficulties

psychiatric or psychological disability

religious and spiritual observances

cultural images/perceptions



Feedback may include:

ensuring assessment/RPL process is understood

ensuring candidate concerns are addressed

enabling question and answer

confirming outcomes

identifying further evidence to be provided

discussing action plans

confirming gap training needed

information regarding available appeal processes

suggesting improvements in evidence gathering and presentation

Specialist support may include:

assistance by third party - carer, interpreter

support from specialist educator

development of online assessment activities

support for remote or isolated candidates and/or assessors

support from subject matter or safety experts

advice from regulatory authorities

assessment teams/panels

support from lead assessors

advice from policy development experts

Addressed may include:

stopping the assessment until the OHS risk is rectified

stopping the assessment until the equipment is fixed or replaced

Limitations may relate to:

job role and responsibilities

meeting candidate needs

assessment panels

training and/or assessment organisation's quality processes

personal competency level

organisational, industry and national training requirements

personal level of knowledge of competency-based assessment

legal responsibilities

All component parts of the competency standards refers to:


Performance Criteria

Range Statement/range of variables, including:


link to knowledge and enterprise requirements

focus of assessment

underpinning language, literacy and numeracy requirements

Evidence Guide requirements, including:

underpinning/required knowledge

underpinning/required skills and attributes

underpinning language, literacy and numeracy requirements

critical aspects of evidence to be considered/quality evidence requirements

concurrent assessment and interdependence of units

assessment methods/resources/context

dimensions of competency, which include:

task skills

task management skills

contingency management skills

job role/environment skills

Related documentation may include:

Assessment Guidelines of the relevant Training Package/s

the assessment criteria of accredited modules

evidence to be collected as set out in assessment plans

definition and interpretation of evidence in developed assessment tools

RPL policies and procedures

any requirements of OHS, legislation, codes of practice, standards, guidelines

indicators and levels of competence of the National Reporting System

organisational requirements for work performance

product specifications

integrated competency assessment tool

Judgement is a two-step process and means:

the decision made by the assessor on whether the evidence provided meets the principles of assessment and rules of evidence

the decision made by the assessor, based on the evidence provided and evaluated, on whether the candidate is competent/not yet competent

An action plan is required when the decision of not yet competent is recorded and may include:

gap training, further learning

additional practice opportunities

additional assessment opportunities/evidence gathering opportunities

individual facilitation, where relevant

referral to specialist support

An assessment report may include:

personal details of candidate

details of assessment/s, date, time, venue

details of assessor's summary of evidence considered and copies of assessment papers

feedback to and from the candidate

justification of decision

summary of candidate's action plan

other critical information including appeals and outcomes

sign-off by assessor and candidate

electronic/paper reports to funding bodies

Recommendations may include:

recommendations for RPL

recommendation to support training and/or assessment in new areas of competency

recommendations in the action plan


appeal implications

Other relevant parties may include:

Centrelink personnel

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA)

parties nominated by the candidate

parties to be informed because of contractual obligations

Criteria may include:

following the assessment plan

confirming and addressing organisational, ethical and legal requirements where appropriate, including OHS

providing appropriate information regarding the assessment process to the candidate and explaining all steps, using effective communication and interpersonal skills

demonstrated application of the rules of evidence and principles of assessment in gathering quality evidence

demonstrated support and guidance to the candidate throughout the assessment process

using assessment methods and tools appropriately to gather, organise and document evidence

applying reasonable adjustments where required/ appropriate, in consultation with relevant people

providing clear and constructive feedback to the candidate regarding the assessment decision

reviewing range of own decisions for consistency

Consultation may involve:

moderation with other assessors, training and assessment coordinators

discussions with the client, team leaders, managers, RPL Coordinators, supervisors, coaches, mentors

technical/subject experts

English language, literacy and numeracy experts


Not applicable.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.