N.B.This document is significant in that it contains the only known official definition of assessment tools (highlighted).

Retention requirements for completed student assessment items

This is a general direction made under section 28(1) of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth) (the Act). This general direction was first in effect from 22 June 2012. This version is as amended on 20 February 2013.

A general direction may be given by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), as the National Vocational Education and Training (VET) Regulator, on the way in which providers must comply with the VET Quality Framework and other conditions defined in the Act.

It is a condition of registration that an ASQA registered training organisation (RTO) must comply with any such general directions.


This general direction provides guidance to ASQA RTOs on retaining evidence demonstrating the validity of their judgement of students’ competence.

ASQA will seek evidence consistent with this general direction at audit.

Terms and definitions


Assessment tools

• Assessment tools include the following components—context and conditions of assessment, tasks to be administered to the student, an outline of the evidence to be gathered from the candidate and evidence criteria used to judge the quality of performance (i.e. the assessment decision-making rules).

This term also takes in the administration, recording and reporting requirements, and may address a cluster of competencies as applicable for holistic assessment.

Completed student assessment items



Securely retain:

Principles underpinning the general direction

Therefore, ASQA will generally examine a sample of completed student assessment items at all audits except initial registration audits.

Retention requirements

An RTO is required to securely retain, and be able to produce in full at audit if requested to do so, all completed student assessment items for each student, as per the definition above, for a period of six months from the date on which the judgement of competence for the student was made.


Other record-keeping requirements may apply if an RTO participates in some training and assessment activities. For example, where training and assessment is conducted under a government-funded agreement or contract, RTOs must consider the record-keeping requirements of that agreement or contract.

Qualifications, courses or units of competency that lead to regulated/licensed outcomes may also impose specific records retention requirements. RTOs should refer to specific regulatory requirements relating to that delivery area to ensure compliance.

General Direction – Retention requirements for completed student assessment items, updated 12 May 2016