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There are many jargon words used in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. You do not need to worry about most of these if you are only delivering site-specific non-accredited training. But it is still handy to know what the jargon means if you are utilising competency-based learning resources or assessment tools as source documents in your own customised materials.

Set out below are some of the most common words and acronyms.



Accredited course

A nationally recognised course that is not covered under an existing Training Package competency or qualification.


Australian Core Skills Framework - describing levels of performance in five 'core' LLN skills: learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy.


Australian Industry and Skills Committee - the government body responsible for approving Training Packages.

Aptitude test

A test of an applicant's ability to acquire the skills needed for a job.

Appeals process

A process where a person formally disputes the decision made about their assessment outcome and asks for a reassessment.


Australian Qualifications Framework - national system of qualifications in all post-compulsory education, including VET and higher education.


Australian Quality Training Framework - a set of standards controlling training and assessment in the VET system (now replaced by the Standards for RTOs 2015 for the RTOs that are managed by ASQA).


Australian Skills Quality Authority - national regulator for the VET sector.


The process of collecting evidence and considering it to decide whether a candidate is 'competent'.

Assessment guidelines

One of the endorsed components of a Training Package, consisting of an overview of the assessment system, assessor qualifications, design of assessment resources, and the principles of assessment.

Assessment method

The method used to collect evidence of competency, such as observation of practical demonstration, questionnaire, or written test.

Assessment strategy

The design of the assessment process, to ensure that the assessment result is valid, reliable, fair and flexible.

Assessment tool

The document used to assess competence and record the result.


One of the rules of evidence. To accept evidence as authentic, an assessor must be satisfied that it is the candidate's own work.

Competency standard

The specifications describing the knowledge and skills required to do an activity to an industry-approved standard.


One of the rules of evidence. Competency requires demonstration of current performance, so the evidence collected must be from either the present or the very recent past.

Delivery mode

The method used to provide training, such as face-to-face, distance learning, or flexible delivery.

Dimensions of competency

The different aspects of work performance, including: performing at an acceptable level of skill, managing a number of different tasks, responding appropriately when things go wrong, fulfilling the responsibilities of the job.

Elements of competency

The set of outcomes that make up a unit of competency.

Employability skills

The skills and personal attributes that are likely to give an employee the best chance of securing a job or receiving a promotion.


The information presented by a candidate to demonstrate their competency, including:
Direct evidence: such as actual performance, and
Indirect evidence: such as a third party report
Supplementary evidence: certificates from previous studies.

Evidence guide

Part of a unit of competency, specifying the context of assessment, critical aspects of evidence and the underpinning knowledge and skills.


In an assessment event, taking into account the 'special needs' of particular candidates, such as literacy problems or disabilities, that might unfairly disadvantage them.


In an assessment event, adjusting the arrangements, such as the time or location, in order to accommodate candidates.

Flexible delivery

Also called 'blended delivery' where face-to-face, distance and on-the-job training are combined in the training program.

Formative assessment

Using performances, demonstrations and materials produced during training as part of the assessment evidence used to judge competency.


Industry Reference Committee - a selected group of people from specific industry sectors that provide advice to Service Skills Organisations (SSOs) on the contents of Training Packages.


Industry Skills Council - a government-funded body responsible for managing particular Training Package. Most ISCs have now been abolished and replaced by SSOs (Service Skills Organisations).


Language, literacy and numeracy - comprising:
language: the language and dialect used for communication;
literacy: the ability to read and write; and
numeracy: the ability to perform calculations.


Occupational health and safety - a term that is progressively being replaced by 'Work health and safety' under the model WHS Act (2011).

Performance criteria

The specific requirements in an element of competency that demonstrate competent performance.

Range of variables

The range of contexts that apply to a unit of competency.

Reasonable adjustment

The changes made to an assessment tool or procedure designed to help a person with 'special needs', while at the same time still complying with all Training Package requirement.


Recognition of Current Competency - applies when a client has previously completed the requirements for a unit of competency and is now required to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.


Recognition of Prior Learning - the recognition of competency achieved through prior learning, previous training, work experience or life experience.


Registered Training Organisation - a training organisation registered with its national or state-based regulatory body.


In an assessment event, maintaining consistent standards when assessing the competence of different candidates, and also consistent standards between different assessors.


Service Skills Organisation - a government funded body responsible for managing particular Training Packages.

Statement of Attainment

Formal certification that a person has achieved either part of an AQF qualification, or one or more units of competency from a Training Package.


One of the principles of assessment and also one of the rules of evidence. Sufficiency requires collection of enough evidence to ensure that all aspects of competency have been satisfied.

Training outcome

An element of knowledge or skill that a learner should have acquired by the end of that training session or program.

Training Package

A formal document, approved by the industry and government, containing all the qualifications and competency standards relating to that industry, as well as the assessment guidelines.

Unit of competency

Another term for competency standard: The specifications describing the knowledge and skills required to do an activity to an industry-approved standard.


In an assessment event, the relevance of the evidence collected to the skill or task that is being assessed.


Vocational Education and Training - the education sector responsible for training people in vocational skills, delivering qualifications from Certificate I to vocational graduate diploma.


Work health and safety - a term that is progressively replacing 'Occupational health and safety'. WHS is the term used in the 'model' Work Health and Safety Act (2011).