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What is assessment?

Within the Department's Dimensions of teaching and learning, assessment is described as the purposeful, systematic and ongoing collection of information as evidence for use in making judgments about student learning.


Assessment can be used for:

Planning: finding out where the students are at, so that the teacher can start at an appropriate place, finding out how this particular group of students best learn.

Student feedback: so students know how they are progressing through the learning process. Explicit feedback from the teacher can provide information on what the student is doing that is effective and the next step in the learning process.

Reporting to parents and authorities: Are the students achieving a standard appropriate to their learning ability? What is the next step in their learning? What can be done to support them? What do they need to be doing for themselves?

Types of Assessment

Formative assessment: used to map/monitor learning progress during a unit of work. Formative assessment provides ongoing feedback to teachers and students. The assessment provides information on progress, and identifies and addresses areas that require further development e.g. writing folios, work conferencing, teacher questioning, learning journals, portfolios, digital portfolios, reading logs, observations, interviews, and continua such as the Year 2 Net.

Summative assessment: generally completed at the end of a unit of work to document the level of achievement. Summative assessment may include: written tests, oral presentations, concept maps, problem solving activities, project work, essays, formal assignments and exams. This assessment can provide feedback to the teacher about the effectiveness of the unit of work.

Diagnostic assessment: designed to identify areas of weakness and strength. Diagnostic assessment may include: checklists, running records, continua and formal assessment tools.

How is assessment planned?

Assessment is integral to the teaching and learning cycle. When planning assessment tasks as part of a unit of work, it is important to cater for all students in the class.

When constructing an assessment task/activity the teacher will consider a range of points.

Consider the student's needs

What are you trying to assess?

Can students demonstrate their learning in another way? For a student with difficulties with reading and writing, a formal pen-and-paper test is not the best way to assess their understanding and learning of the skills and knowledge taught - it is more likely that literacy skills are being assessed. Consider alternative forms of assessment such as:

Check that the student understands the assessment task. Is the language used clear and explicit?

What specific adjustments are required to ensure the student can access the task? Will they need a reader, a scribe, extra time or a reduction in the length or complexity of the task? What evidence will inform these decisions?

Equity and Special Provision

Equity in assessment requires that all students have an opportunity to demonstrate their current knowledge and skills, free from bias and misrepresentation.

The Queensland Studies Authority describes special provision as the means of making reasonable educational adjustments to assessment conditions that ensure equitable assessment for all students. Special provision may apply to any student, depending on the circumstances. In making a decision about special provision, the school must take into account the mandatory and significant aspects of the subject outlined in the syllabus and the school's work program.

Further resources

Queensland Curriculum Assessment and Reporting (QCAR) Framework

Queensland Studies Authority External Link has information on special provisions allowed in senior assessment and in statewide and national testing; and Assessment Bank - an online assessment and resource collection.

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Listen to what a teacher from Clifford park Special School has to say about assessment.Video link will open in a new browser window 1.4 Mb.

Find out how Clifford Park Special School tackled this issue across the whole school.Video link will open in a new browser window 3.5 Mb

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