ASQA’s Response to Using Language from Training Packages

Are you allowed to use terminology from training packages in assessment instruments?

This was the question I posed to ASQA recently, after coming across this steadfast rule for the forth time at an RTO.

If a unit of competency is written poorly or uses a lot of technical language that needs to be deciphered or improved on, this is not an issue. But sometimes there is language in the training package that is actually industry terminology. If you need to use terminology that is industry specific that appears in a training package than according to ASQA, this should be ok:

“The Standards for RTOs do not prohibit the use of those terms which are commonly used or referred within nationally recognised training including in endorsed training packages or accredited courses under the Quality Training Framework.
It is however preferable that such terms are not used to describe components that are not nationally recognised as it could potentially confuse the customer/learner into believing they are enrolling into a training product that is nationally recognised.”

You can see the full reply here:


Thanks to feedback from the VET Leaders community on LinkedIn, the key learning is the rules of evidence are what are important, and to pay particularly close attention to making assessment tasks clear and concise with measurable outcomes. You almost certainly won’t get this outcome if you are copying training package information verbatim (either in the assessment instrument’s instructions or in the benchmark).

Helen Clancy noted: “If you use something like “communicates effectively” in an observation checklist, you don’t have a reliable instrument, because it is too open to interpretation by different trainers.”

Another great example was shared from Mandi Ryan: “I think the point about that is that if it’s something like ‘Use a variety of media’ then it’s not reliable as a measurement. How many media? Which media and so on. But if it’s something like ‘state the outcome’ then I guess there’s not too many other ways of saying it. And they either state it or they don’t! If it’s ‘conduct a one-man rescue’ then I’d want to see what it is expected they would do to conduct a one-man rescue.”

Finally, to quote Rachael Trbovic “If it’s not written in plain English and it’s not useful – keep it out.”

If you would like to see more suggestions on best practice resource development, check out our posts on best practice VET Resource Development.

Hopefully this sheds some more light on writing appropriate and compliant assessment.