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Testing and assessment

The Purpose of Assessment 

Assessment is a tool to improve students learning and as a way of systematically gathering evidence to make reliable and consistent judgments about students learning and reporting this to parents.

At Meridan teachers use assessments that are designed to meet three main purposes:

  1. Assessment for learning – This is monitoring and diagnostic assessments designed to monitor and identify areas for target teaching to support student’s’ progress to meet learning expectations.
  2. Assessment as learning – This includes self-reflection and self-tracking so students can monitor their own progress and achievement of learning goals.
  3. Assessment of learning – This assists teachers at the end of a unit or set of learning experiences to gather evidence of student knowledge, understanding and skills as described in the year level curriculum.

Assessment ‘for’ and ‘as’ learning

At Meridan State College we use a range of tools and assessment tasks to continually monitor student learning. These include diagnostic testing and formative assessment tasks. Ongoing feedback and clear expectations through learning goals, and criteria sheets, and the ability to track these goals, enable students to reflect on and monitor their progress. Teachers provide timely and ongoing feedback that enables each student to monitor their own learning and develop achievable learning goals and task based criteria. Feedback is a central part of the assessment for and as learning and:

  • is specific to the individual student.
  • focuses on the quality of the student response and how to improve it.
  • is directly relevant to the learning intention of the lesson.
  • is reflective of unit and lesson learning goals.
  • encourages self-regulation,
  • prepares students as assessment capable learners.

Specific guidelines around giving feedback are articulated for Secondary Staff in the Secondary Feedback Model.

Student progress in the Primary school is monitored using a variety of assessments and leads to a data informed classroom through:

  • Triangulation of data - including NAPLAN, PAT R, PAT M, NCR Diagnostic and LOA
  • Standardised assessment tools including PAT R and PAT M from Year 2 to 6
  • Diagnostic assessments – NCR diagnostics, Words Their Way Spelling Inventories, PM Benchmark and Probe, letter/sound inventories and Early start performance activities
  • Check in tasks in the unit – We use check in tasks throughout the unit to monitor student understanding and progress and to design next learning steps. These are planned within unit planning or informally with “ticket out the door” tasks.
  • Teacher and student conferences

Student progress in Junior Secondary is monitored using a variety of assessments and leads to a data informed classroom through:

  • Triangulation of data - including NAPLAN, PAT R and PAT M and LOA 
  • Diagnostic assessments –including Probe, which inform the Learning Enhancement needs of a student
  • Formative and monitoring assessment tasks – used throughout the unit to monitor student understanding and progress and to design next learning steps
  • Drafting – the drafting process is used by teachers to provide specific feedback to students around s set task
  • Criteria Sheets – used at the end of a summative piece of assessment for students to see their performance in that task
  • Teacher and student conferences

Student progress in Senior Secondary is monitored using a variety of assessments leading to a data informed classroom and tracking of student achievement. Key principles and practices that reflect practices of Senior Secondary include:

  • Formative Assessment
    • Feedback and drafting practices that reflect the key principles underpinning qualitative and quantitative feedback during learning and assessment (Refer to Secondary Feedback Model).
    • Variety of feedback that include feedback to, feedback up, feedback forward and self-reflection.
  • Tracking and Monitoring
    • Case management tracking of students across all year levels in relation to Level of Achievement Data and Attendance, and QCE credit for Year 11 and 12.
    • HOD, teacher and student discussions as per the Senior School Data Plan.
    • Subject performance tracking of students of all year levels through profiles and portfolios.
  • Pathway and Performance Interviews
    • Scheduled interviews with parents, students and a member of the Senior Executive Team focusing on Performance Pathways, Career Readiness pathway and Personal Pathways.
    • Scheduled interviews with teachers related to performance in specific subjects.

Assessment of Learning

Assessment of learning or summative assessments helps to provide evidence of student learning against curriculum descriptors and achievement standards for each learning area. It provides evidence for teachers to make reliable judgments about student achievement. This includes:

  • Unit/work program based assessment tasks.
  • End of term and semester exams.
  • Portfolios of student work.

Student progress in Primary and Junior Secondary, units of work include key assessment tasks that:

  • Are collaboratively developed in term planning sessions.
  • Are sometimes adopted or adapted from C2C assessments.
  • Enable students to demonstrate a depth of knowledge, understanding and skills from each learning area.
  • Can include more than one Learning Area to create richer tasks.
  • Are marked on a 5 point scales.
  • Assess what has been taught.
  • Include a criteria sheet or guide to making judgments to support teachers to make standard-based decisions about student work. Teacher’s award students an overall grade by identifying the evidence for each assessment element on the guide.

Student progress in Senior Secondary is assessed using a variety of assessment instruments leading to effective measurement and reporting of student achievement. Assessment tasks reflect advice provided by the QCAA in relation to the effectiveness of the assessment and the appropriate application of standards when making judgements about student achievement. Key principles and practices that reflect the assessment practices of Senior Secondary include:

  • Assessment Tasks and Criteria Sheets
    • Quality assessment that reflects a detailed understanding of the subject knowledge and the application of the syllabus constructs.
    • Consistent language and layout to make assessment accessible.
    • Use of syllabus conditions.
  • Summative Assessment
    • Post assessment feedback in relation to criteria and standards.
    • Conferencing to plan future improvement.
    • Post unit feedback related to inform future practices.
  • Assessment Schedules
    • Coordinated by Curriculum HODs and published for each semester.

Planning for Assessment P -12

Planning for assessment occurs as part of the curriculum planning process at a whole-school level, year level/ faculty and unit level, and in Senior Secondary, where programs are externally approved.

  • Planning for assessment includes making decisions around:
  • Purpose of assessment
  • Content and construct validity of assessment
  • Types and tools of assessment to be used
  • The timing of the assessments
  • Guidelines and conditions for assessment

Ensuring Consistency of teacher judgement

Consistency of teacher judgement relies upon consistent interpretation of assessment tasks and the criteria sheets.

To ensure this, the Primary School:

  • Allocates time for Year Levels to implement the calibration processes for key tasks to support consistency of judgements.
  • Uses Year Level meetings to moderate samples of work from each class.
  • Develop assessment tasks during or immediately after planning sessions and unpack in Year Level meetings and post planning.
  • Participate in Coalition moderation where teachers moderate a task across schools.

To ensure this, Junior Secondary:

  • Allocates time for Year Level and Faculty Groups to implement the calibration processes for key tasks to support consistency of judgements.
  • Uses Year Level and Faculty Group meetings to moderate samples of work from each class.
  • Develop assessment tasks during Year Level and Faculty Group planning sessions and unpack in Year Level and Faculty Group meetings and post planning.
  • Participate in Coalition moderation where teachers moderate a task across schools.

In Senior Secondary the appropriate application of standards when making judgements about student achievement includes internal and external moderation processes, linked to certification processes. Key principles and practices involved include:

  • Moderation and Verification
    • Internal moderation processes around tasks and profiles/folios including unpacking exemplars, cross-marking and ranking processes.
    • External moderation in line with QCAA Moderation and Verification processes for Year 11 and 12.
    • Internal VET moderation and survey processes in line with RTO requirements.
    • External VET moderation in line with Vet Audit.
    • External approval of senior subjects in line with QCAA requirements.

Assessment and Differentiation

When required, special provisions in the conditions of assessment are made to reflect differentiation, or adjustments, made in teaching and learning. These can include the way the assessment is presented, the way students are allowed to respond, the physical conditions and/or the time allocated for the assessment tasks.

Special provisions in the conditions of assessment may include:

  • Product - changing the way the assessment is presented. For example, being read to rather than reading unless reading itself is what is being assessed or the use of visual responses.
  • Response - allowing students to complete assessments in different ways such as using computer software or through oral presentations rather than written work.
  • Learning environment - changing the physical conditions.  For example, students are withdrawn to do assessment in an alternative setting with adult monitoring.
  • Time/Pacing - allowing the student a longer time to complete the assessment, or change the way the time is organised or when the assessment is scheduled.

Alternative assessment tasks are designed for students on an Individual Curriculum Plan.  These assessments are created to the teachers and case managers and are reviewed by Head of Department and Head of Curriculum in the Primary and Secondary school.  These ICP assessments are stored in Year level and Faculty folders.

In Senior Secondary special consideration and provision around assessment is guided by the processes of the QCAA and RTO. A formal process is used by students to request special consideration and to enable special provisions as required. This includes guidelines around:

  • Late and non-submission of student responses to assessment instruments in Authority and Authority-registered subjects.
  • Special provision for assessment in Authority and Authority-registered subjects related to the specific educational needs of the student.
  • Multiple opportunities to demonstrate competencies in VET courses.

NAPLAN 

NAPLAN is not a test of content. Instead, it tests skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum. 

NAPLAN tests identify whether all students have the literacy and numeracy skills that provide the critical foundation for their learning, and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community. Students are assessed using common national tests in reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. 

NAPLAN tests broadly reflect aspects of literacy and numeracy common to the curriculum in each state or territory. The types of test formats and questions are chosen so that they are familiar to teachers and students across Australia. 

ACARA provides example tests so that teachers and students can get a sense of the ‘look and feel’ of the tests and to understand what types of questions are asked. NAPLAN tests are not tests students can ‘prepare’ for and previous NAPLAN tests are not available on this website. Students should continue developing their literacy and numeracy skills through their school curriculum because the tests contain questions similar to those that are undertaken in regular classroom learning and assessment. 

Please Note: All links below will open in a new external browser. 

Year 3 example NAPLAN tests 

Example tests ​​Answers
Year 3 reading - example test
Year 3 reading - reading magazine
Year 3 reading - answers
Year 3 language conventions - example test Year 3 language conventions - answers
Year 3 numeracy - example test Year 3 numeracy - answers
Example NAPLAN writing prompts: City or country, The Box
See also information about assessing the writing task.
Note: the writing topic assigned to Years 3 and 5 will differ from the topic assigned to Years 7 and 9. However, the genre (narrative or persuasive) for all years will be the same and all students will be required to produce the same type of writing.

Year 5 example NAPLAN tests 

​​Example tests Answers
Year 5 reading - example test
Year 5 reading - reading magazine
​​Year 5 reading - answers
​​Year 5 language conventions - example test Year 5 language conventions - answers
Year 5 numeracy - example test Year 5 numeracy - answers
Example NAPLAN writing prompts: City or country, The Box
See also information about assessing the writing task.
Note: the writing topic assigned to Years 3 and 5 will differ from the topic assigned to Years 7 and 9. However, the genre (narrative or persuasive) for all years will be the same and all students will be required to produce the same type of writing.

Year 7 example NAPLAN tests 

Example tests Answers
​​Year 7 reading - example test
Year 7 reading - reading magazine
Year 7 reading - answers
​​Year 7 language conventions - example test Year 7 language conventions - answers
​​Year 7 numeracy - example test (calculator allowed)
Year 7 numeracy - example test (non-calculator)
Year 7 numeracy - answers (calculator allowed)
Year 7 numeracy - answers (non-calculator)
​ ​Example NAPLAN writing prompts: City or country, The Box
See also information about assessing the writing task.
Note: the writing topic assigned to Years 7 and 9 will differ from the topic assigned to Years 3 and 5. However, the genre (narrative or persuasive) for all years will be the same and all students will be required to produce the same type of writing.

Year 9 example NAPLAN tests

Example tests Answers
Year 9 reading - example test
Year 9 reading - reading magazine
​​Year 9 reading - answers
​​Year 9 language conventions - example test Year 9 language conventions - answers
​​Year 9 numeracy - example test (calculator allowed)
Year 9 numeracy - example test (non-calculator)
​​Year 9 numeracy - answers (calculator allowed)
Year 9 numeracy - answers (non-calculator)
Example NAPLAN writing prompts: City or country, The Box
See also information about assessing the writing task.
Note: the writing topic assigned to Years 7 and 9 will differ from the topic assigned to Years 3 and 5. However, the genre (narrative or persuasive) for all years will be the same and all students will be required to produce the same type of writing.