Assessment Principle 5 Support Materials

Assessment should lead to informative reporting

Reporting happens at the end of a teaching cycle and should provide an accurate summary of the formative and summative assessment information collected for each student. The purpose of reporting is to provide feedback to students, parents, and teachers. The information is also valuable for school and system-wide planning. It is important that, in addition to providing an accurate synopsis of student performance, the judgements of student achievement are reliable.

Reflecting on reporting

Reporting using grades

It is a federal government requirement that schools report student achievement to parents using grades. Grades are a broad classification of student performance and while they are a useful way of communicating with parents, grading students as A, B, C, D and E does not provide a level of detail necessary to inform teaching programs. It is recommended that grading is an end process that is completed after more detailed assessment has been conducted.

As reporting student achievement in terms of grades is a broad classification of performance, each grade represents a wide range of student ability.  Many students will be given the same grade in semester 1 and semester 2, even though their teachers will have observed growth in learning. Bearing in mind that work in semester 2 builds on semester 1, maintaining a grade indicates students have held their own in the face of more advanced material and in this way have grown in their learning.

Moderation of teacher judgements

Moderation of teacher judgements is an important component of reporting student performance. It is however useful to consider two broad purposes of moderation, Moderation for Learning and Moderation for Reporting. The two purposes of moderation are complementary and the one can be used to support the other.

  1. Moderation for Learning supports teachers within and across schools in developing shared understandings of students' learning and shared expectations of student performance. It is closely aligned with the formative purposes of assessment.
  2. Moderation for Reporting enables teachers to develop consistent judgements of student performance and is closely aligned with the summative purposes of assessment.

Moderation for Learning focuses on teachers working together to reach more in-depth understandings of their students' learning relative to a broader group of students. This broader group may be students who are in the same year level or students from across year levels. When moderation processes focus on learning, they support teachers in refining their understandings of what their students know and what they need to learn next. In this context, the moderation process should use fine-grained information about specific aspects of learning.

Because Moderation for Learning is concerned with understanding learning at a fine-grained level, it will be very difficult to ensure teachers' judgements are highly comparable and teacher time will best be used in analysing the different features of students' work and what that means for learning.

Moderation for Reporting focuses on those aspects of assessment where schools are required to be accountable for student performance and where it is important that teacher judgements are comparable. When undertaking moderation for reporting purposes, the emphasis is on broad classifications of student performance (e.g. reporting student performance in terms of grades or in terms of achieving the standard), and ensuring teachers have consistent interpretations of these broad classifications.