Recommended use of the 2016 version of the FSAT

The current version of the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) is currently subject to a final validation process. The Department of Education and Training invites registered training organisations (RTOs) and senior secondary schools (for Year 11 and 12 students studying vocationally-oriented programs) to use the Tool.

Following is a summary of the recommended use of the Tool, released in September 2016.

The organisation contracted to develop FSAT, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), requires further learners to sit the assessments in order to gain empirical evidence to validate the final content of the online assessments. This will guarantee that the results reported will be necessarily valid, reliable and fair assessments of a learner's foundation skills.

FSAT can be used by trainers and educators such as registered training organisations (RTOs) and senior secondary schools (for year 11 and 12 students studying vocationally oriented programs), enabling them to:

  • assess their client's foundation skill levels, and identify skills and knowledge where additional development may be beneficial. ; and
  • benchmark the language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) levels of their students, so they can measure the effectiveness of their programs through pre and post assessment.

Any results generated for the online skills assessed through the 2016 release of FSAT should be considered indicative only and not be considered fully valid and reliable until a full psychometric analysis is done on data from a large number of assessments following the ongoing use and implementation of this version of FSAT.

The content of the current version of FSAT has undergone a range of quality assurance processes to help validate the outcomes and the mapping against the two frameworks (the Australian Core Skills Framework – ACSF, and the Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework - CSfW) and as such the released version of FSAT can be used to assess against the framework content, provided users are aware of its shortfalls.

FSAT is suitable for assessment purposes such as providing an indication of learner or jobseeker skills against the ACSF and CSfW for purposes of support and development.

FSAT is not yet suitable for purposes such as establishing eligibility for funding from Australian Government programs.

FSAT allows students to be automatically assessed online against the following English language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skill areas of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF):

  • Learning (Indicator 02 only)
  • Reading
  • Listening (Receptive)
  • Numeracy

For the majority of VET learners, it is recommended that organisations and their administrators select the medium level (Form 2) assessment for each of these four core skills. The Form 2 entry point provides learners with a starting point of accessible questions mainly at ACSF level 3. Learners will be presented with the first group of items at these levels and, based on their responses, will be presented with the next group of questions progressively higher or lower in difficulty.

It is estimated that at least 80% of VET learners can start their LLN assessments at this middle level of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).

The fact sheet on where to start learners in FSAT provides further information on the starting points to assign learners to for an FSAT assessment.

To ensure that Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) assessment results genuinely reflect the test taker's skill levels and that these results are interpreted correctly, it is important that those involved in FSAT's use, delivery, assessment and interpretation have the appropriate knowledge, skills and understandings required for the roles they undertake.

The FSAT qualifications fact sheet provides recommendations regarding the knowledge, skills and understandings required to administer the language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) components of FSAT, which align with the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).

Further information on when FSAT can and should not be used is available in the Frequently Asked Questions