Year 4

Humanities and Social Sciences Support Materials

Assessment Principle 3

Assessment should be fair

Civics and Citizenship snapshot: Local government

Humanities and Social Sciences/Knowledge and understanding/Civics and Citizenship/Government and Society and Skills/Questioning and researching/Analysing/Communicating and reflecting

Content Description

The purpose of government and some familiar services provided by local government

(e.g. libraries, health, arts, parks, environment and waste, pools and sporting facilities, pet management)

Locate and collect information and/or data from a variety of sources (e.g. photographs, maps, books, interviews, internet)

Translate collected information and/or data into different formats (e.g. create a timeline, change data into a table and/or graph)

Present findings and conclusions in a range of communication forms (e.g. written, oral, visual, digital, tabular, graphic), appropriate to audience and purpose, using relevant terms

Nature of the assessment

Written work (research draft) and visual representation of learning (brochure/poster/newspaper advertisement)

Purposes of the assessment

To assess student understanding of the services provided by local government and their ability to collect information, translate that information and present findings

Stage in the Teaching sequence

The middle and the end of the teaching cycle – formative assessment

Background learning

In prior lessons, the teacher gave students the opportunity to:

  • participate in group activities to become familiar with the purpose of government
  • discuss and develop an awareness of the different levels of government
  • brainstorm and investigate the function of local government and the range of services provided in their local area.

Assessment task

The students chose one of the services provided by their local government (e.g. libraries, health, environment and waste, parks, pools and sporting facilities, arts, pet management). They were required to locate and collect information from a variety of sources and to find out how the service contributed to community life and how it impacted upon them and their families.

Students were provided with the following prompts to assist them in focusing their research:

  • Describe the local government service.
  • Who would use this service?
  • Do people have to pay for this?
  • Why does your local government provide the service?
  • Who benefits from this service?
  • What would happen if your local government stopped providing it?

The students were required to make notes using a graphic organiser as they researched. During this phase of the process, the teacher provided formative feedback and guidance in relation to locating information and effective research techniques.

The students used their research to produce a promotional text. In preparation for the task, the teacher showed and discussed a variety of different promotional texts (i.e. brochure, poster, newspaper advertisement) with the class.

The teacher provided a checklist of the task requirements to the students:

  • explanation of services and benefits for local community members
  • how the community benefits from this service
  • subject-specific language to be included
  • use of text features suitable for the genre (e.g. catchy title, pictures, prices).

Assessment process

The teacher provided feedback in the planning and drafting stages to guide and direct students. The teacher kept anecdotal notes of students’ research skills and their understanding of the topic. In particular, she noted any misconceptions and strengths.

She assessed students’ promotional texts, paying close attention to their ability to use their research to develop an appropriate text.

Using the information

The teacher identified those students who required support in building their research skills because of their inability to locate, categorise, synthesise or translate information. She planned small-group instruction and modelled strategies for these students, and observed them more closely prior to reporting.