Learning Matters

Friday 02 Aug

Assessment is the process of identifying, gathering and interpreting information about student achievement. Assessment can be used for a number of purposes, including to:

  • assist student learning and improvement
  • evaluate and improve teaching and learning programs
  • provide information on student learning and progress in relation to the Australian Curriculum achievement standards
  • report on the achievement of each student at the end of a semester

Research indicates that the most effective assessment:

  • aligns to what is taught
  • is authentic and appropriately challenging
  • provides realistic contexts
  • allows students to demonstrate performance in multiple ways, using multiple pathways and representations
  • is accessible to all students
  • values depth, not speed
  • features clear explanations and examples of what is required
  • reflects Australian Curriculum achievement standards

The most ineffective assessments feature:

  • timed tests
  • end of term tests placed weeks or months after teaching has taken place - making it more about memorisation than learning
  • speed pressure
  • ‘fill-in-the-box’ worksheets or tests that are unrealistic in context
  • an emphasis on memorisation of easily outdated or googleable information rather than higher order thinking skills
  • little opportunity for improvement

At Living Faith, our students work through a flexible series of success criteria that cater for the different abilities within the student body. The success criteria include a series of gateways that the students pass through across the semester and feature statements taken directly from the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards.

The students have access to the success criteria (written in student-friendly language) and their teacher explicitly explains what they need to do to achieve a cool, warm or hot for each gateway task. A cool means that a student is achieving at the achievement standard. A warm means a student is achieving above the achievement standard. A hot means a student is achieving well above the achievement standard. The students receive feedforward from their teacher on each gateway task to help them improve their learning before final assessment.

While we encourage our students to show responsibility for their own learning, ultimately, it is the teacher who directs the students to undertake either the cool, warm or hot gateway task. Teachers do this either at the beginning of the task, or during the feedforward process.

- Rebecca McConnell, Director of Learning and Innovation