ACAS Moderation

ACAS Moderation Workshop – 26th & 27th May 2012

Report on Australian Canoeing Assessors’ Meeting, Devonport, Tasmania.

This meeting was held thanks to Jason Dicker gaining an internal grant from Australian Canoeing. This allowed a number of representatives from each state to come together to discuss assessments. It didn’t stretch to cover all costs but covered flights, accommodation and meals for Sat and Sun am.

The South Australian contingent of Phil Doddridge, Peter Carter, Emily Rozee and Scott Polley were picked up from the Launceston Airport Friday evening by Jason Dicker, chair of the Education and Safety Technical Committee.

Jason chaired the meeting starting Saturday, beginning with an introduction to Australian Canoeing, and its organisational structure.

Jason Dicker introduced himself as the volunteer Education and Safety chair, with Jim Murphy the chair of Canoe Education. He described the committee as a ‘loose group of experienced canoeists’. There was discussion of relationship between Australian Canoeing Award Scheme, VET and NOLRS scheme. He made the point that Australian Canoeing (AC) allows anyone from any level into the ACAS scheme but  they do not necessarily pass. Eg can go straight into award scheme at advanced level.

After these introductions, representatives were asked to provide a picture of the state of play in their home state.


Ryan from Victoria advised that Flatwater Guide was the most common award. It consisted of a 2 day induction, 1 day assessment, an exam, and a project. At the assessment each candidate was required to teach one stroke to peers.


Les from WA spoke about a club based sea kayaking program. There was no course but assessments taking place. Candidates had to complete many paddles over a period of months. The only paperwork required for assessment is trip plan. He highlighted an issue about a local private provider training and passing instructors good teachings but poor skills. He also highlighted that he was made an AC assessor without doing anything by an Australian Canoeing rep.


John spoke about sea kayaking in NSW, and said that it was mainly a club based activity. NSW sea club is a training provider not affiliated with AC who run a couple of weekends instruction, as well as instructor development weekend known as the Rock and Roll weekend.

Lyn was a volunteer assessor coordinator for NSW canoeing. The most common award was the flat water guide. Assessors must do cert iv assessors or shortened sports commission coaching award first. Evaluation Problems with keeping log books. Use of video send in to show improvement in skill. Training and assessment over 2 days.


Mark from Queensland said that they also mainly did CKL and flat-water guide. The guide consisted of 2 day skills, 2 day guide training and 1 day assessment with peers. If assessment difficult, they used video backup. Following this candidates could elect to do a 2 day additional instructor course, followed by a 1 day assessment.

Sea instructor program consisted of a 5 day training program followed by a 2 day skills and 1 day assessment as guide. Theory assessment consisted of quiz questions from resources.


Run a number of training weekends for all disciplines.
Sea training separate was done separately, and advanced ww separate.
Candidates are assessed by being given a group of a students to teach.
Scott outlined the flat water program and Phil Doddridge outlined the sea kayak program. It was highlighted that the flat water and sea log books had been successful in making the program prescriptive and clear to candidates.
There was quite a bit of discussion about the relationship of VET to Australian Canoeing, with a number of folks thinking it added unwanted complexity, where others that were in settings where VET was valued advised that they had to deliver VET based training and assessment.
The group then broke up into several break out groups, including white-water, sea and flat-water. It was clear that flat-water was not on the radar of organisers initially as the although every attendee received a copy of the assessment tools for white-water instructor and sea instructor, there were not flat-water instructor tools to be found. Luckily Peter Carter had one on hand. This was curious as each state noted that Flat-water was the major award achieved.
There were a number of changes to be made to the Flat, White-water and Sea guide/instructor assessment guidelines and award scheme handbook.
For flat-water it was clear that all state representatives (except SA) did not see the value in assessing expedition management, so a recommendation was made to withdraw this component. As an individual, I argued for an ‘Expedition Endorsement’ much the same as the ‘Moving Water’ endorsement, but this idea was not supported.
There were a number of other changes that Peter Carter has notes on.
Saturday night was a social night, with a few folks enjoying local brews. It was great to spend some time chatting with different folks from around the country who were equally passionate about promoting safe kayaking/canoeing and quality kayak/canoe instruction.
Sunday am the group was divided into sea and white-water, which again seemed a bit odd given the major focus of flat-water for AC. I chose to go with the sea group which enjoyed robust discussion but did not result in a boat getting on the water. Some good discussion and ideas, and Mark from Qld has agreed to update the AC information. It has been good that since that time there has been a lot of email exchange on the topic of sea assessments.
The white-water group made some changes to the rescue documentation and some other changes to the AC award scheme handbook.
We departed lunchtime very grateful for the opportunity for assessors to get together and discuss various issues that they experienced. There was a strong sense that most assessors were reasonably consistent with expectations at each award level, but that workshops such as this would help address the variations in practice.
Ideally there might have been more communication and a stronger agenda prior to the event, but it is difficult to say whether the outcomes would have been stronger or not.
I think this sort of meeting might be held on an annual basis funded by local state grants where available, and with some support from AC when possible. It might be done in a different state each year, with video link up to those folks that can’t get there.
Well done to Jason Dicker for pulling the group together and getting the support from AC.
Scott Polley -Assessor Coordinator South Australia 2011/2012


Phil Doddridge – Instructor in Charge, Sea Kayak Programme

After being an Australian Canoeing Assessor for many years it was fantastic to get together with others from each State to review the Australian Canoeing  Awards Scheme and how it was being applied across Australia.

It quickly become clear that there was much to be considered. The main topics of discussion centred on:
An understanding of the history of the structure and functioning of the Scheme.
Articulation to VET competencies including current deficiencies in both.
Content and wording of individual awards.
Assessment evidence guides for assessors.
Moderation of the standards expected when assessing candidates.
It was thought that the formation of a national network of key assessors in each state to promote ongoing improvement in the Awards Scheme would be valuable. The group would share issues by email or some other media and collectively develop and suggest desired improvements to the Education and Technical Committee.
Already on the table is the reintroduction of the "Introduction to Sea Skills Award" and evidence guides to support the assessment forms for the Sea Instructor Award.