Ways of Assessing

The ‘ways of assessing’ complement ‘ways of teaching’ and aim to support teachers in developing effective assessment practices in the English learning area.

The ‘ways of assessing’ also complement the principles of assessment contained in the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline. The assessment principles, reflective questions and assessment snapshots, available on the Authority’s website, support teachers in reflecting on their own assessment practice in relation to each of the assessment principles. Here teachers will find:

  • background information for each principle
  • reflective questions
  • guidance for addressing the principle within their own assessment practice.

Refer to the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline (https://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/) for further guidance on assessment principles, practices and phases of schooling.

Assessment, both formative and summative, is an integral part of teaching and learning. Assessment should arise naturally out of the learning experiences provided to students. In addition, assessment should provide regular opportunities for teachers to reflect on student achievement and progress. The key to selecting the most appropriate assessment is in the answers to several reflective questions. For example:

  • Is assessment an integral part of your Teaching and learning cycle?
  • How do you use your observations of students (during the course of classroom activities, in assignments and in tests) to determine how learning can be improved?
  • Is the assessment educative?
  • How do you identify students’ misconceptions or gaps in their learning?
  • How do you identify the next skill or understanding a student, or group of students, needs to learn?
  • How do you use assessment to inform your programming and lesson planning?
  • Is the assessment fair?
  • Do your assessment practices cater for the diverse needs of your students? Are they inclusive, accessible to all students and free of bias?
  • Do some students require a differentiated assessment task in order to fully demonstrate their understandings and/or skills?
  • Is the assessment designed to meet a specific purpose?
  • Do your assessments have a clear purpose?
  • How do you ensure your students are clear on what aspects of learning are being assessed?
  • How can you be sure your assessment tasks are reliable, measure what they intend to and provide accurate information about each student?
  • Do your assessments lead to informative reporting?
  • What range of evidence do you draw on when you report student performance and evaluate your teaching?
  • How do your assessments lead to school-wide evaluation processes?
  • How do you work with colleagues to evaluate student achievement data and how does this work inform your teaching?

Refer to the Judging Standards tool in the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline (https:/k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/assessment/judgingstandards) when reporting against the Achievement Standard; giving assessment feedback; or explaining the differences between one student’s achievement and another’s.

In the Western Australian Curriculum: English, the three strands of Language, Literature and Literacy are interrelated and inform and support each other. In English, assessment tasks typically address the syllabus content in interconnected ways within relevant contexts that are meaningful to students.

The following table provides examples of assessment strategies which can enable teachers to gather a broad range of evidence for assessment in English.

Examples of assessment strategies

Examples of sources of evidence


Ongoing and first-hand observations of student learning, documented by the teacher (can be conducted both informally and formally). Teachers may observe a range of oral, written or multimodal tasks to inform their assessments.

Video or audio recordings

Teachers can observe students through video or audio recordings of activities, such as role-plays, performances, speeches, text reading, play-based learning or debates.

Group activities

Collaborative or cooperative activities give teachers opportunities to observe students’ understandings, cognitive skills (such as analysing or evaluating information) and interaction skills.

Authentic or integrated tasks in English and other learning areas

The demonstration of learning through activities, such as fieldwork; community service programs, such as fundraising; and product design and development. Demonstrating learning when creating texts; giving presentations; participating in inquiries; undertaking research; rehearsing and presenting dramatic performances across learning areas.

Tests or quizzes

These may include verbal questioning, multiple-choice, short answer responses or open-ended questions that require longer, sustained written responses.

Producing oral, written and multimodal texts

These texts may include informative, analytical and persuasive texts, such as recounts, reviews, reports, infographics, discussions, speeches, responses to texts like stories or pictures, debates, explanations, procedures, analytical and persuasive essays; or imaginative texts, such as narratives, drama scripts, picture books and poetry. Both drafts and completed versions of texts provide valuable insights for teachers.


Discussions or interviews with students that are conducted either face-to-face or via audio and video recordings. Conferences can be used to probe for a deeper understanding of a student’s learning.

Self-assessments and evaluations, and student journals

The self-reflection of achievement and progression towards goals or criteria. This allows students to practise personal reflection and metacognition. Journals provide personal accounts of student responses to learning activities, experiences and understandings.

Peer assessments

Students evaluate and provide feedback on the work of their peers. This can be formative or summative, formal or informal. Peer assessment is of most value when the goals and criteria are made explicit to all students.