Making Quality Indicators A Useful Business Tool

June is a busy time for all organisations, especially focussed around end-of-year financial reporting and contract reconciliations. It’s also the time when Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) must report their quality/performance indicator data to their regulator, for the previous calendar year.

This requirement has been reiterated in the new Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, which were updated in April 2015 by the national regulator, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). Refer to for details.

With the bulk of the required data able to be accessed from student management systems, many RTOs compile these reports without considering what each component says about their business now, where it’s been and where it’s heading. Senior executives should be aware of the benefits and strength of the data, and not just leave it to the compliance team to “tick another box” and send the data off without serious analysis.

The indicator data is in three sections – learner engagement, employer satisfaction and competency completion (qualifications and individual units). It’s important to look at each of these components and what they say about your business.

Learner engagement

The learner engagement surveys were first released in 2010. Unfortunately they haven’t been updated and are still long and cumbersome. It’s up to your organisation how you distribute them and it’s not necessary to issue them to all students – you can choose to focus on a particular cohort e.g. apprentices, or your new Diploma course. It’s the analysis of the data that’s important, ensuring you’re learning from the responses and making changes to address the areas highlighted for improvement. This can also include the mode of survey delivery – do you use a paper-based survey for classroom delivery, or an online version through Survey Monkey? Which gives you a better response rate and more accurate data?

Employer satisfaction

With the increased requirements for industry engagement under the new standards, this is perhaps the section of data upon which you should focus the most. Like the learner engagement surveys, these forms are the originals issued in 2010. They will, however, show you how “work ready” your students are and the relevance of your training methods.

With both of these surveys, a single year’s snapshot doesn’t provide the true picture of where your RTO is heading. You need to review the data from at least the last three years, to see what improvements you’ve made, what’s worked and what’s still left to accomplish in specific fields.

Competency completion

This is always interesting data and can show you many issues within the data entry on your student management system. One example is the inclusion of single units in the course completion data e.g. CPCCOHS1001A, Work Safely in the construction industry. This should be issued as a Statement of Attainment, not a certificate.

It’s important to review if the data looks right. But remember the enrolment data is for the calendar year, and does not count those students who carried over from the year before – although they may be counted in the completion data. For this reason, the data for the last three years should again be analysed together.

As all RTOs are now required to report all accredited training delivery to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) at least annually, and ASQA has noted it will be individually contacting RTOs to advise of their Competency Completion Online System (CCOS) obligations.

In general, Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) delivery activity data that has been reported to the NCVER National Collection will not need to be resubmitted through CCOS. The state-based regulators have yet to publish if they will be doing the same.

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Marie VassaioMarie has more than 15 years of experience in vocational education. She has worked at all levels within a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), including as CEO for a large national RTO. Marie has also worked as a Skills Victoria Auditor. Since 2008 she has managed her own company, Marie Vassallo Consulting, and brings her business and compliance skills to the table, delivering real world solutions for RTOs. Her consulting business provides assistance with regulatory and funding authority audits, contract applications, validation and moderation workshops and professional development workshops for all levels of staff. In 2014 Marie became an Accredited VETtrak Consultant, providing training to administration staff and management in how to gain the most from this student management system.