Key Terms

Accelerated Progression

RPL received after enrolment as a student progresses towards the completion of a course

Access and equity

National Quality Council definition: Policies and approaches aimed at ensuring that vocational education and training are responsive to the individual needs of clients whose age, gender, cultural or ethnic background, disability, sexuality, language skills, literacy or numeracy level, unemployment, imprisonment or remote location may present a barrier to access, participation and the achievement of suitable outcomes.


A person applying for skills recognition, RPL or RCC. Sometimes called a candidate, participant or client.

Advanced standing

A form of credit for any previous learning


The process of collecting evidence and making judgements about whether competency has been achieved, to confirm that an individual can perform to the standard expected in the workplace, as expressed by the relevant endorsed industry/enterprise competency standards of a Training Package or by the learning outcomes of a VET accredited course.

Assessment tools

Covers both the instruments and the procedures for gathering and interpreting evidence:

Instruments: the specific questions or activities developed from the selected assessment methods to be used for the assessment.

Procedures: the information/instructions given to the applicant and/or the assessor regarding conditions under which the assessment should be conducted and recorded.


This is the person who will undertake your Skills Recognition assessment.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

The policy framework that defines all qualifications recognised nationally in post-compulsory education and training within Australia. The AQF comprises titles and guidelines, which define each qualification, together with principles and protocols covering articulation and issuance of qualifications, and Statements of Attainment.

Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF)

Formerly the nationally agreed quality arrangements for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, as agreed to by the Ministerial Council. Now known as ASQA.

Australian Skills Quality Council (ASQA)

The new national regulator for Australia's vocational education and training sector, which replaces the AQTF.


One of the Rules of Evidence. To accept evidence as authentic, an assessor must be assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the applicant's own work.


The person presenting for assessment (also called applicant).


The validation and authentication of a student's entitlement to a qualification

Challenge Test

A challenge test could be a written, oral and/or practical test, assignment or project designed to evaluate a applicant's competencies.


The consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments.

Competency conversation

(also called professional conversation)

A structured conversation conducted around key questions related to the units of competency. These key questions are designed to allow the applicant to discuss examples of their skills and knowledge as they have practised them in their work environment.

Competency standard

An industry-determined specification of performance which sets out the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to operate effectively in employment. Competency standards are made up of units of competency, which are themselves made up of elements of competency, together with performance criteria, a range of variables, and an evidence guide. Competency standards are an endorsed component of a Training Package.


A process by which recognition is gained for previous formal and informal learning.

AQF Definition: The value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. It occurs two ways:  either through Skills Recognition, Recognition of Prior Learning, and Recognition of Current Competencies or via Credit Transfer of formal education and training. Credit reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification

Credit transfer

From the AQF Definition: A process that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications. That is, a recognised qualification from a recognised Registered training Provider (TAFE college etc.) is transferable across states and institutions.


Refers to the age of training or learning. One of the Rules of Evidence states that the age (currency, how old is it?) of the evidence presented by a applicant to demonstrate that they are still competent. Competency requires demonstration of current performance, so the evidence collected must be from either the present or the recent past. This will be more relevant for some roles than others, and for this reason there will be variation in the length of time before 'currency' is considered to have lapsed.

Employability skills

Skills required not only to gain employment, but also to progress within an enterprise so as to achieve one's potential and contribute successfully to enterprise strategic direction. There are eight employability skills:

1. Communication, 2. Teamwork, 3. Problem-solving, 4. Initiative and enterprise, 5. Planning and organization, 6. Self-management, 7. Learning, and 8.Technology


For a Training Package to be endorsed, it must go through a formal process of recognition by the National Training Quality Council.

Enterprise RTO

Enterprise RTOs are defined by the following characteristics:

  • The core business of the enterprise is not the provision of training
  • The enterprise RTO provides accredited training for the employees of the enterprise
  • The enterprise RTO is embedded or integrated within the standard business processes of the wider enterprise


Evidence is information gathered to support a judgement of competence against the relevant unit/s of competency. Evidence can take many forms and be gathered from a number of sources.


One of the Principles of Assessment: Fairness requires consideration of the individual applicant's needs and characteristics, and any reasonable adjustments that need to be applied to take account of them. It requires clear communication between the assessor and the applicant to ensure that the applicant is fully informed about, understands, and is able to participate in, the assessment process, and agrees that the process is relevant. It also includes an opportunity for the person being assessed to challenge the result of the assessment and to be reassessed if necessary.


One of the Principles of Assessment: To be flexible, assessment should reflect the applicant's needs; provide for recognition of competencies no matter how, where or when they have been acquired; draw on a range of methods appropriate to the context, competency and the applicant; and, support continuous competency development.

Formal learning

Learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction and is linked to the attainment of a formal qualification or award (for example, a certificate, diploma or university degree).


Being inclusive means to provide an environment that does not exclude any person for any reason, particularly reasons related to age, gender, disability, cultural background, race etc.


Bodies that have a stake in the training, assessment and client services provided by RTOs. These can include but are not limited to: industry skills councils, industry organisations, industry training advisory bodies, trade unions, occupational licensing bodies and training organisations.

Industry Skills Councils

National bodies recognised and funded by the Australian Government to develop and maintain Training Packages specific to the industry area(s) for which they have coverage.

Informal learning

Learning that results through experience of work-related, social, family, hobby or leisure activities.

Integrated assessment

An approach to assessment that covers the clustering of multiple units/elements from relevant competency standards. This approach focuses on the assessment of a 'whole of job' role or function that draws on a number of units / elements of competence. This assessment approach also integrates the assessment of the application of knowledge, technical skills, problem solving and demonstration of attitudes and ethics.


In the VET sector, a learner is an individual who is receiving, responding to and processing information in order to acquire and develop competence. This incorporates the processes of preparing and presenting for assessment.

Mutual recognition

The recognition and acceptance by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), of Australian Qualifications Framework qualifications and Statements of Attainment issued by other RTOs, enabling individuals to receive national recognition of their achievements. Applies nationally. Note that some specific State/Territory conditions may apply. See also Skills recognition and Recognition of Prior Learning.

National VET Regulator (NVR)

The mechanism for the regulation of vocational education and training (VET), and is the national standards against which applicants/RTOs are assessed. Prior to the establishment of the National VET Regulator ( ASQA)  the standards that applied to an RTO's or applicant's registration were found within the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF). The Standards for National VET Regulator (NVR) Registered Training Organisations 2011 replaces the former AQTF standards for relevant applicants/RTOs.

Non-formal learning

Learning that takes place through a structured program of instructions, but does not lead to the attainment of a formal qualification or award (for example, in-house professional development programs conducted by a business).

Performance criteria

This term is also used on occasion to refer to the units of competence in a certificate or part thereof.

Principles of assessment

There are four Principles of Assessment:

Fairness: Fairness requires consideration of the individual applicant's needs and characteristics, and any reasonable adjustments that need to be applied to take account of them. It also includes an opportunity for the person being assessed to challenge the result of the assessment and to be reassessed if necessary.

Flexibility: A flexible assessment should reflect the applicant's needs; provide for recognition of competencies no matter how, where or when they have been acquired; draw on a range of methods appropriate to the context, competency and the applicant; and support continuous competency development.

Validity: In simple terms, validity is concerned with the extent to which an assessment decision about an applicant is justified.

Reliability: Reliability is concerned with how much error is included in the evidence.


A formal certification, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or commercial needs

Reasonable adjustment

Reasonable adjustment refers to adjustments that can be made to the way in which evidence of applicant performance can be collected. Adjustments can be made to meet the needs and characteristics of the applicant/s being assessed, and taking into account any equity requirements.

Recognition of Current Competency (RCC)

Recognition of current competency applies if a client has previously successfully completed the requirements for a unit of competency or module and is now required, (e.g. by a licensing authority) to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained. In this case no extra skill or competencies are nationally recognised.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

An assessment process that assesses an individual's formal, 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 VET qualification.


A written, printed, or electronic document providing evidence that activities have been performed

Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

Registered Training Organisation (RTO) means a training organisation registered in accordance with the Australian Skills Quality Council, within a defined scope of registration. Only a Registered Training Organisation can issue qualifications that are recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Rules of evidence

There are four rules of evidence which are closely related to the Principles of Assessment. The evidence must be:

Valid: covers all requirements of the unit of competency

Sufficient: enables a decision about competence over time and in different situations

Authentic: is the applicant's own work and can be verified as genuine

Current: relates to the applicant's current skills and knowledge and complies with current standards

Skills Recognition

Skills Recognition is recognition of competencies currently held, regardless of how, when or where the learning occurred. Assessed through evidence such as certification, references from past employers, recognition of prior learning, work and/or life experience.

Skill set

Single units or combinations of units which link to a license or regulatory requirement, or defined industry need.


Any person (e.g. a learner, a candidate, a workplace supervisor) and/or party (for example, an organisation) that has an interest in the training and/or assessment and its outcomes.

Statement of Attainment

A formal record recognising that a person has achieved some of the competencies towards a qualification within a training package or an accredited course.

Training and assessment strategy

A framework that guides the learning requirements and the teaching, training and assessment arrangements of a VET qualification. It is the document that outlines the macro-level requirements of the learning and assessment process

Training Package

A nationally endorsed, integrated set of competency standards, assessment requirements, Australian Qualifications Framework qualifications, and credit arrangements for a specific industry, industry sector or enterprise.

Unit of competency

The standard of performance expected by industry for certain work functions (e.g. driving a forklift, communicating in the workplace)

The specification of knowledge and skill and the application of that knowledge and skill to the standard of performance expected in the workplace and to industry standards.