What is the CSPA?

The Core Skills Profile for Adults (CSPA) is a tool designed to indicate your reading, writing and numeracy/maths skills.

What is the CSPA used for?

TAFE SA uses this information to assess if you will need any learning support during your studies and to assist your lecturer in personalising your training.

Qualifications funded under Subsidised Training require applicants to complete a supervised CSPA regardless of prior educational attainment, employment experience or employment status. This is a condition of accessing publicly funded training places. There are no exceptions.

To access subsidised training other eligibility criteria must also be met.

Some qualifications require CSPA as part of Course Admissions Requirements (CAR) when applying for a place at TAFE SA.

Your CSPA results will be discussed with you at enrolment and will not be provided to you before you have been made an offer.

Your CSPA results may also be used as academic eligibility for VET Student Loans, if applicants display competence at or above Exit Level 3 in reading and numeracy.

What is the CSPA not used for?

For most courses, the CSPA is not used to rank applicants for offer. Offers are based on the date of application. Only a small number of competitive courses rank applicants on the outcome of their CSPA. Check the Course Admission Requirements (CAR) for your course.

What does the CSPA involve?

The CSPA is completed using a computer and is made up of three components: Reading, Writing and Numeracy.


The reading component involves multiple choice and some text entry questions. This section asks you to:

  • recognise the correct spelling, meanings and grammatical use of commonly used words.
  • read a short passage and demonstrate your understanding of it by answering the accompanying questions.
  • read and interpret information from tables, charts and other sources.


The writing component has two question prompts with extended text entry fields for you to type your answers. This section:

  • requires you to write a minimum of 3 paragraphs with at least 3 sentences in each paragraph so the system has enough information to grade you.
  • looks at areas such as audience, purpose, vocabulary, grammar, language choices, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation.


  • The numeracy component involves multiple choice and numerical entry questions, covering areas in basic numeracy which arise in normal day-to-day life.
  • The questions involve basic operations on whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentages and simple graphical interpretations, with higher level indicators for problem solving, numbers and algebra, measurement and geometry, and statistics and probability.
  • There is an in-built calculator in the numeracy section.

What support is available for applicants and students with a disability or medical condition?

A Student Services staff member can answer your queries and work out a plan if you need extra support.  We recommend you book an appointment at least 7 days prior to your scheduled CSPA session to discuss your individual circumstances.

You can book an appointment online or by calling TAFE SA Customer Support on 1800 882 661.

If you need individual support or adjustments for the CSPA, you will need to provide documentation from a treating practitioner.  This can be a medical practitioner, psychologist, or other accredited health specialist.  You can use the Medical Practitioner report, or provide a letter written by your treating practitioner.

How to book your CSPA

SATAC applicants

Once you have applied for your TAFE SA course you will be contacted via email on how to book into your CSPA.

Where can I get further information about the CSPA?

Visit the TAFE SA student website to access resources that will provide you more detail on what to expect at your CSPA session, the session types available to you and what you are required to bring with you.

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