Ways of Assessing

The 'ways of assessing' complement 'ways of teaching' and aim to support teachers in developing effective assessment practices in the Sciences.

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 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.

The key to selecting the most appropriate assessment is in the answers to several reflective questions. For example:

  • How do you use assessment as the starting point of your programming and lesson planning?
  • Do your assessments have a clear purpose? Do they cater for the full range of abilities?
  • Do you design assessment tasks in a way that meets the dual purposes of formative and summative assessment?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • What information do you collect to evaluate your own teaching?
  • How do you work with colleagues to evaluate student achievement data and how does this work inform your teaching?
  • What range of evidence do you draw on when you report student performance and evaluate 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 Standards; giving assessment feedback; or explaining the differences between one student's achievement and another's.

The following table provides examples of assessment strategies that can enable teachers to understand where students are in their learning. Assessments should also be based on the integration of a range of types and sources of evidence. It is not expected that all of these types of assessment should be conducted.

Examples of assessment strategies

Examples of source of evidence


Students plan and conduct an investigation, either individually or in groups, to identify and construct questions; gather data; process, analyse and evaluate their data; and communicate their findings. This could be presented in a variety of formats, e.g. formal scientific report, science poster, oral presentation.

Practical activities

The demonstration of learning through an individual or small group activity, to develop understanding of science concepts and/or skills. It could include a practical report, responses to questions, or observations of student science skills.


The demonstration of learning through activities, such as virtual and actual fieldwork.

Visual representations

The demonstration of learning through tables, graphs, diagrams, graphic organisers, models, simulations, posters, brochures, and digital media (e.g. video, slides, photographs, animations, blogs).

Comprehension and extended response

The demonstration of learning through the use of articles from different forms of media. Students find the scientific inconsistencies, outline the scientific principles involved, compare data and conclusions (e.g. advertising items and popular science items).


Discussions or interviews that are conducted individually, in groups or with the whole class. These could be face-to-face, online or via audio and video recordings.

Oral presentations or performance

The demonstration of learning in role-play, speeches, simulations, debates and structured discussions.


The observations of student understandings, process and skills through the use of anecdotal notes, checklists, photographs, videos or recordings.


Collections of student work that provide long-term documentation of student progress and achievement. Portfolios may contain a range of work undertaken by the student and be evidence of project management.

Tests or quizzes

The demonstration of learning through short or extended written responses or oral responses. These may include verbal questioning, multiple choice, short answer responses or open-ended questions that require longer, sustained written responses.


The self-reflection of achievement and progression towards goals. It allows for metacognitive thinking about student learning and personal reflection upon strengths and weaknesses.

Peer assessments

Individuals, pairs or a group of peers provide evaluative feedback on performance or activity.

Student journals

Journals provide personal accounts of student responses to learning activities, experiences and understandings. They can be used to document the journey of a long-term project.