The following guidance is provided to support schools to develop and implement quality school-based assessment of students across Foundation to Level 10 (F–10).
VCAA guidance on assessment
To support schools to improve their formative assessment practices, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has developed a series of online resources:
- Formative – provides advice to teachers about how to develop formative assessment rubrics and put formative assessments into practice in the classroom.
- Insight Assessment – a collection of online assessment tools aligned to the Victorian Curriculum F–10. The platform supports high quality assessment practices and provides teachers with information they can use to target the learning needs of students as they progress along the continuum.
- On – online adaptive assessments, in English and Mathematics that cover levels 2 to 10 of the Victorian Curriculum, to support teachers identify student learning strengths and weaknesses and assist in forward planning of teaching programs.
- Education State sample assessment – a set of assessment tasks to support teachers to assess the capability Critical and Creative Thinking.
- Digital Assessment Library – formative assessments to support teachers to know what students have and have not learnt, identify strengths and weaknesses, and to plan their instructions effectively.
Department guidance on assessment
The department provides guidance to schools on strengthening assessment as part of the broader guidance on improving student outcomes.
Framework for Improving Student Outcomes
Under the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0), 'Assessment’ is identified as one of the 5 core elements that make the most difference to student outcomes. The dimensions that underpin the Assessment elements are:
- systematic use of assessment strategies and measurement practices to obtain and provide feedback on student learning growth, attainment and wellbeing capabilities
- systematic use of data and evidence to drive the prioritisation, development, and implementation of actions in schools and classrooms.
Schools are expected to align the design and delivery of school-based assessment to FISO 2.0. Online supports for the Assessment core element are available on the Guidance and Resources tabs of the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0) policy.
Practice principles for excellence in teaching and learning
The practice principles for excellence in teaching and provide additional guidance for school leaders and teachers to deliver the curriculum and engage students, including guidance on the school’s approach to assessment. The practice principles support teachers to determine student learning needs and how students can demonstrate their level of understanding.
An essential practice principle regarding assessment to supports schools to improve student achievement and motivation is Practice 6 Rigorous assessment practices and feedback inform teaching and learning. This includes four actions:
- teachers design authentic, fit for purpose assessments to reflect the learning program and objectives
- teachers use assessment data to diagnose student learning needs and plan for learning
- teachers provide regular feedback to students on their progress against individual learning goals and curriculum standards
- teachers analyse student achievement data to improve their practice.
The Reflection tools booklet and Essential resources support schools to reflect on the use of the practice principles and evaluate their impact. These resources are available on the Practice principles for excellence in teaching and page.
To support teachers to evaluate the impact on student learning growth, Evaluate the impact of your , a toolkit, is provided. One essential element to support schools reflect on their school-based assessment is the Understand assessment design — the what, when and how of . This tool comprises of six elements and supports teachers and leaders to evaluate and improve assessment processes and practices in their schools:
- Understand assessment
- Assess the knowledge and understanding of your
- Assess the capabilities and skills of your
- Assess the attitudes, motivations and dispositions of your
- How to interpret assessment
- Understand your impact on student learning
When considering assessment of student achievement and progress, effective teachers see formative assessment as an integral part of teaching and learning, for both themselves and their students. Using data and feedback, teachers identify important issues, which drive inquiry and actions. Teachers monitor the impact of their actions and adjust their practice accordingly.
The department provides guidance and advice to support high-quality assessment practices and provides teachers with specific information to target the learning needs of students, see Assessment, theory and practice within the teaching and learning .
Formative assessment strategies
Best-practice formative assessment uses a rigorous approach in which each step of the assessment process is carefully thought through. This helps to identify the actual learning level against the Victorian Curriculum F–10 achievement standards of each student based on evidence of what the student knows and can do, and to understand what each student is ready to learn next.
Best practice formative assessment is embedded in the curriculum program and teachers’ units of work/learning sequences. It helps students and teachers identify students’ strengths and target areas that may need additional work, and to set learning goals in the classroom.
Key questions that formative assessment can answer or inform include:
- Where is the student currently at in their learning along the Victorian Curriculum F–10 learning continuum for each curriculum area?
- What does the student need to do to achieve this learning?
- How will the teacher and student know that they have learned it?
- How can the assessment information be used to influence student goal setting and lesson planning for improved student learning outcomes?
According to the department’s Professional Practice Note 6 , schools who have teachers who collaborate, adopt evidence-based teaching strategies, have professional conversations about how to improve their teaching, and use evidence to moderate assessment are all using formative assessment. Evidence must be directly observable (the teacher should be able to see it, touch it or hear it).
For further information, examples and resources to support teachers and schools to strengthen formative assessment practices, refer to: Formative Assessment Strategies for Teaching and Learning . The strategies described in this resource can be modified to suit different learning stages and curriculum areas and can be adapted for all school types and for remote and flexible learning.
Teachers may want to focus on introducing 2 to 4 strategies to support monitoring student progress and inform future teaching. Teachers can build a bank or toolkit of formative strategies over time that they can draw on to support their assessment practices and to support students to develop skills for self-assessment and peer-assessment.
Assessment of English as an Additional Language proficiency and progress
The English language proficiency of English as an Additional Language (EAL) students should be assessed using the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.
The length of time during which a student will be assessed against the EAL standards depends on many factors, such as the existing English language proficiency of the student, the number of years of schooling completed, level of literacy in their first language and background experiences.
If a teacher’s assessment of an EAL student against the English achievement standards places the student well below their peers, and the student still requires substantial support in learning English as an additional language, then teachers should continue to use the EAL standards.
The progress of students who have not yet reached an achievement standard can be reported using a Reporting developed by the department. It will allow teachers and schools to use the Beginning (.1) and Consolidating (.2) proficiency levels for assessment and reporting purposes. These additional levels allow schools to demonstrate that EAL students are making satisfactory progress in learning English as an additional language before they reach the achievement standards described in the EAL curriculum.
It is not appropriate for an EAL student to be assessed against the English standards in one mode, such as Speaking and Listening, and the EAL standards in other modes. While the oral language proficiency of an EAL student may appear to correspond to that of their peers, the demands of the curriculum become more complex as students progress through the year levels, and these students can struggle to cope with the academic requirements of the English curriculum.
Once an EAL student has reached the end of their respective A, B or C pathway and achieved the standard in all three language modes of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing and Writing, they can be transferred to the Victorian Curriculum F-10 English for assessment and reporting purposes.
Sample progressions along the pathways of the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL are provided by the VCAA. The department has developed additional pathways and transitions that can support teacher understanding of the typical language learning pathways of EAL learners.
Teachers should use a range of assessment data and strategies to inform their judgements regarding EAL students’ progress. For more information about the assessment of EAL students, refer to: Tools to Enhance Assessment Literacy for Teachers of English as an Additional .
Reviewed 15 March 2022