VET Student Loans (VSL)

The new VET Student Loans 2016 (VSL) scheme announced at the end of 2016 continues to have minimum LLN requirements – and CSPA is still an approved assessment tool for VSL purposes. We trust you will continue to use CSPA as your one-stop pre-training LLN assessment tool to meet your ongoing training requirements whilst still meeting your VSL requirements, should you decide to offer your learners access to the VSL scheme.

Why is CSPA your best option?

  • The CSPA is designed as a pre-training assessment tool that can be used at an RTO's discretion to assess a range of relevant core skills. Because the CSPA is computer adaptive it can be used to assess all your learners across different skill levels, including against the different levels of the ACSF in Reading and Numeracy. This means that in addition to meeting the specific VSL requirement of determining whether a learner is at the minimum Reading and Numeracy level of ACSF Exit Level 3, the CSPA can also be used for all your learners as a general pre training assessment. Therefore there is no need to have two different assessment processes or tools available for VSL and non-VSL learners.
  • The ACER method of mapping and reporting against the ACSF uniquely uses a combination of both statistical, empirical data and professional judgement to set the levels of the individual items/questions and to establish the boundaries (cut-off points) between each of the five levels of the ACSF, helping to guarantee that the assessment of reading and numeracy are valid, reliable and fair.
  • The CSPA is flexible and includes a range of different assessments and will be enhanced further in 2018, including an improved admin system, having the questions refreshed and updated, new reports made available, etc.

Note: the only change in relation to LLN requirements is that students may also provide a qualification at AQF Level 4 (delivered in English) and above as evidence of meeting academic suitability. It is our belief that this is a risk, as based on Australia’s performance in PIAAC, our estimate is that only about 50 per cent of such adults would exceed ACSF Level 3 in reading and a much lower percentage in numeracy. Our reading of the PIAAC data about qualifications vs literacy and numeracy performance is that you would need to go to a Bachelor degree (AQF 7) or above to get a clearly high percentage of people having the required minimum ACSF level skills. For the details of the relevant VSL information see Subdivision B (Student entry) of the legislation – clauses 80 Academic suitability; 81 Results of assessments of competence in reading and numeracy; and 82 Assessment of competence in reading and numeracy at the following link: