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Student Induction

Before Starting

Smart Academy will conduct a student induction prior to the commencement of training and assessment for all training programs. This induction process is for all students and will take you through this handbook in detail and discuss safety and emergency response actions. Students will be able to ask questions throughout the induction process.

Confirmation that all the above information was provided online or by handouts is required to be acknowledged by you. This must be done by signing the Acknowledgement of Student Induction Form.

Competency-Based Approach to Training


You are participating in a course of competency-based training (CBT). 

What this means is that qualifications are made up of Units of Competency. These tell us the skills and knowledge recognised as necessary to perform effectively in a particular job or role. Each industry area divides these skills and knowledge into related categories that form National Competency Standards for specific industry areas.

Units of Competency are as known as Competency Standards. For Nationally Recognised Training, all competency standards must be endorsed by the National Vocational-education Regulator (NVR) which is at present the Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA). 

Units of Competency by  provide a framework for training and assessment and tell us what skills and knowledge an participant at a particular level within a particular industry should be reasonably expected to achieve.

So a competency is: 

… “The ability to perform a job to the required level of performance expected in the workplace.” 

Our assessments are based on checking if you have the skills, knowledge and attitudes to perform a job.

Attendance

It is expected that you will attend and participate in all sessions related to your training course. An attendance record will be kept. In the event that you miss a day, you will be required to attend another course that covers the missed material where applicable.

Flexible Learning Strategies & Assessment Procedures

Flexible learning and assessment procedures form part of our learning and assessment strategies and are integral to the concept of competency-based training. We customise our training and assessments to meet your specific needs.

If you are having difficulty achieving competency in any module please discuss the matter with your assessor/trainer and where possible alternative learning/assessment strategies will be provided to you.

Assessment

Assessment is the means by which we determine whether or not a competency has been achieved. It is the process of collecting evidence and making judgements about the extent to which a person demonstrates the knowledge and skills as set out in the standards or learning outcomes of a unit of competency.

For an effective assessment system in a competency environment, some basic principles must apply.

Underlying principles of assessment:

Validity

Validity requires the assessments actually assess what they claim to assess and what they have been designed to assess. Validity of assessment is achieved when 
  • assessors are fully aware of what is to be assessed, as indicated by the standards of competence, including clearly defined performance criteria, and
  • appropriate evidence is collected from activities that can be clearly related to the units of competency. 

Authenticity 

The evidence collected is authentic that is, actually comes from valid sources and is directly attributable to the skills and knowledge of the individual being assessed.

Reliability

Reliable assessment uses methods and procedures that ensure that the competency standards are interpreted and applied consistently from person to person and from context to context. The following are important to ensure that assessment produces consistent outcomes:
  • Clear, unambiguous, well documented assessment procedures and competency standards; 
  • Clear, consistent and specific assessment criteria; 
  • Effectively trained, briefed and monitored assessors; 
  • Adequate assessors across industries and a hierarchy of assessment which ensures a quality outcome; and 
  • Assessment is carried out within a system flexible enough to cope with multiple and diverse forms of evidence. 

Consistency 

The assessment system must ensure that evidence collected and provided for judgement is consistent across the range, without undue reliance on any small number of select workplace contexts or projects.

Currency

Under an effective system, assessment evaluates whether or not the individual's skills and knowledge are current and can be applied in today's workplace. As a general rule, competencies that have not been demonstrated within the past 3 years are not usually accepted as "current". However, an assessor, under some circumstances may make exceptions to the specified period. 

There may be specific situations where skills have not been directly applied for a longer period, but these skills are in fact still current for the individual. In cases such as this, evidence from earlier periods may be admissible, and assessed for currency, within an appropriately flexible assessment system.

Sufficiency

Evidence of competency should be sufficient to cover all the elements, performance criteria and required range of variables in the standards against which assessment is to be carried out.

A tendency of many candidates is to provide more (or less) evidence than is actually required to prove competency against the standards. An effective assessment system ensures that candidates are clearly advised regarding the amount and form of evidence, which is sufficient to prove competency. This should avoid the situation where masses of evidence are provided, requiring assessors to spend more time than necessary per candidate, or too little evidence, making it difficult to judge competence.

Flexibility

Every portfolio or set of candidate evidence is unique. Each candidate will identify and develop his or her own specific set of evidence to prove competency against the standards. This set will be based on the workplace experience of the candidate and will comprise diverse types and forms of relevant and appropriate evidence.

Assessors will take a flexible approach to the assessment of evidence. Clearly, this approach must always take time and cost into account both to ensure the best use of assessor time and the best use of the candidate and his or her employer’s time.

An assessment system must evaluate the scope of knowledge and skills covered by the criteria both performance (skill) and underpinning knowledge and understanding.

Fairness and Equity

An assessment system and its processes must not disadvantage any person or organisation. All eligible candidates must be guaranteed access to assessment, which does not discriminate on any basis. Assessment guidelines must include an approach for working with candidates who have special needs.

To achieve these principles, the assessment system must exhibit the following characteristics:

  • The standards, assessment processes and all associated information are straight forward and understandable; 
  • The characteristics of potential candidates are identified, to enable all potential assessment issues to be identified and catered for; 
  • The chosen processes and materials within the system of assessment do not disadvantage candidates; 
  • An appropriate and effective review and dispute resolution mechanism is in place to investigate, examine and redress any issue of unfairness or disadvantage identified, involving access, assessment, certification or any other related issue; and 
  • Where potential disadvantages are identified, the system is amended to avoid or counter them, or appropriate steps taken to overcome them including reassessment if required. 

Assessors 

The role of an assessor is to objectively assess and judge a candidate's evidence against a set of standards. In order to do this effectively, an assessor must have a sound knowledge of, and be skilled in, the relevant industry area. In addition, the assessor must have acknowledged competency in assessment itself and hold an appropriate Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA40104) or Certicicate IV in Training and Education (TAE40110).

An assessor must:
  • Interpret and understand the criteria; 
  • Ensure that evidence meets the standards; 
  • Ensure that evidence is valid, authentic, reliable, consistent, current and sufficient; and 
  • Use expertise to make fair and objective judgements. 

Forms of Evidence

In general, basic forms of skills evidence include:

Direct performance evidence

  • current or from an acceptable past period: extracted examples within the workplace; 
  • natural observation in the workplace; and 
  • simulations, including competency and skills tests, projects, assignments 

Supplementary evidence,

from
  • oral and written questioning; 
  • personal reports; and 
  • Witness testimony. 

Other Evidence

Appropriate and valid forms of assessment utilised for both skills and knowledge may include:
  • Evaluation of direct products of work; 
  • Natural observation; 
  • Skill tests, simulations and projects; 
  • Evaluation of underpinning knowledge and understanding; 
  • Questioning and discussion; and 
  • Evidence from prior achievement and activity. 
Assessments should be as unstressful as possible. They are conducted in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Do not regard your assessment as an examination. Your Assessor simply needs to know which competencies from your course you have mastered, and which competencies require further practice and will be flexible in the assessment method used.

It is in your long-term interests to ensure that all of the skills necessary for the job have been mastered; our aim is to help you to learn those skills in the right way.

Appealing an Assessment

In rare instances, it is possible that you may wish to challenge an assessment outcome. If this is the case, then:
  • speak with your Trainer/Assessor in the first instance and if unresolved
  • present the request in writing to the Course Coordinator 
Appeals must be submitted within two weeks of the original assessment decision being advised to the student. Each appellant have the right to represent yourself at all forums where the issue is being discussed and you will have the matter heard within 5 working days. You also have an opportunity to formally present your case and are given a written statement of the appeal outcomes, including reasons for the decision.

The outcomes and the reasons for it will be given to you in writing.

Complaints Procedures

Instances could arise where you may wish to resolve a problem with personalities or the way a course has been delivered or to appeal against assessment results.

Smart Academy will be objective and ensure the validity of the process and its outcomes.

Each complaint and appeal and its outcome is recorded in writing and a letter stating the outcome and the reasons for the outcome are supplied.

The steps to achieve a resolution of a complaint are:
  • Step 1 : Raise the complaint in writing outlining your grievance. 
  • Step 2: This must lodge a grievance in written form with the Course Coordinator within seven (7) days of the event occurring. This may be done via Fax, Post or handed to a staff member to be passed on 
  • Step 3: If unresolved, the complaint will be forwarded to the Chief Executive Officer for consideration and resolution.
  • Step 4: If still unresolved, the matter can be referred to the NVR for consideration. 
At each step of the complaints resolution process Smart Academy will allow you to make representation prior to reaching a decision.

We also allow you to employ an independent person or panel to hear the appeal.

If you have problems that do not directly concern Smart Academy but may affect your ability to achieve competency, we will refer you to appropriate external support groups for assistance.

At any stage during this process the National Training Complaints Hotline ph: 1800 000 674 maybe contacted for advice or to lodge the complaint with them.

Feedback/Evaluation

Smart Academy actively seeks your feedback and regularly undertakes evaluations of all courses and activities to achieve continuous improvement across its entire operations.

We monitor compliance with NVR standards and our policies and procedures through the use of evaluations and surveys which are taken randomly throughout our training programs. We also collect feedback on a number of other areas including but not limited to RPL, student induction, trainer feedback.

Any complaints or deficiencies are documented on an Improvement Request form to ensure appropriate follow up action is taken.

Thank you for choosing to study with Smart Academy. If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

Graduation

Congratulations – you have finished your course!

Your results and course file will be forwarded to the Course Coordinator to make sure everything is in order. We will either:
  • Send a Certificate or Statement of Attainment; or 
  • Contact you for further information. 

Re-Issuing Qualifications 

Smart Academy keeps records of your course with us for 30 years. If in the future you need another copy of your certificate you will need to write us a letter requesting a copy. The letter will need to state:
  • Your name (if your name has changed please write both your new name and your name at the time of the course); 
  • Your date of birth; 
  • Your current address (and your address at the time of the course if you remember it); 
  • The course you completed; 
  • When that course started and finished; and 
  • Any other detail you can give to identify yourself. 
We will review your request and either:
  • Send a new Certificate or Statement of Attainment; or 
  • Send a letter explaining why we cannot re-issue your qualification at this time and what you need to do from here.