Implications for teaching, assessment and reporting

In the Western Australian Curriculum: English, the three strands of Language, Literature and Literacy are interrelated and inform and support each other. While the amount of time devoted to each strand may vary, each strand is of equal importance and each focuses on developing skills in listening, speaking, reading, viewing, writing and creating. Teachers combine aspects of the strands in different ways to provide students with learning experiences that meet their needs and interests.

In Year 3, for example, students might select a favourite poem and share it with the class, explaining why they chose it (Literature). They might explain the way particular grammatical choices affect meaning, for example the use of verbs, adjectives and adverbs in the poem (Language). Students might then create their own poems and present them to the class (Literacy). In Year 8, a teacher who wishes to develop a unit focusing on humour might have students begin by selecting and analysing a variety of humorous texts (Literature), considering structure and vocabulary choices that create particular effects or nuance (Language). They might then change some of the words to create different effects in the text (Literacy).

While content descriptions do not repeat key skills, it should be noted that many aspects of the English curriculum are recursive, and teachers need to provide ample opportunity for revision, ongoing practice and consolidation of previously introduced knowledge and skills.

Students learn at different rates and in different stages. Depending on each student's rate of learning, not all of the content descriptions for a particular year level may be relevant to a student in that year level. Some students may have already learned a concept or skill, in which case it will not have to be explicitly taught to them in the year level stipulated. Other students may need to be taught concepts or skills stipulated for earlier year levels.

The content descriptions in the Western Australian Curriculum: English enable teachers to develop a variety of learning experiences that are relevant, rigorous and meaningful and allow for different rates of development, in particular for younger students and for those who require additional support.

Some students will require additional support to develop their skills in listening, speaking, reading, viewing and creating. In the Western Australian Curriculum: English it is expected that appropriate adjustments will be made for some students to enable them to access and participate in meaningful learning, and demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills across the three English strands. To provide the required flexibility teachers need to consider expanded interpretations of terms used in the content descriptions and content elaborations. Terms such as 'read', 'listen' and 'write' could be expanded and interpreted as 'read using text to speech software or Braille'; 'listen using signed communication'; and 'write using computer software'.

Teachers use the Western Australian Curriculum content and achievement standards first to identify current levels of learning and achievement and then to select the most appropriate content (possibly from across several year levels) to teach individual students and/or groups of students. This takes into account that in each class there may be students with a range of prior achievement (below, at and above the year level expectations) and that teachers plan to build on current learning.

Teachers also use the achievement standards, at the end of a period of teaching, to make on-balance judgments about the quality of learning demonstrated by the students – that is, whether they have achieved below, at or above the standard. To make these judgments, teachers draw on assessment data that they have collected as evidence during the course of the teaching period. These judgments about the quality of learning are one source of feedback to students and their parents and inform formal reporting processes.

If a teacher judges that a student's achievement is below the expected standard, this suggests that the teaching programs and practice should be reviewed to better assist individual students in their learning in the future. It also suggests that additional support and targeted teaching will be needed to ensure that the student does not fall behind.

Assessment of the Western Australian Curriculum takes place in different levels and for different purposes, including:

  • ongoing formative assessment within classrooms for the purposes of monitoring learning and providing feedback, to teachers to inform their teaching, and for students to inform their learning
  • summative assessment for the purposes of twice-yearly reporting by schools to parents and carers on the progress and achievement of students
  • annual testing of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students' levels of achievement in aspects of literacy and numeracy, conducted as part of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)
  • periodic sample testing of specific learning areas within the Australian Curriculum as part of the National Assessment Program (NAP).