Ways of Assessing

The 'ways of assessing' complement 'ways of teaching' and aim to support teachers in developing effective assessment practices in the Humanities and Social 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 (http://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 lesson planning?
  • Do your assessments have a clear purpose?
  • 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 which 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.

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).

Group activities

Cooperative activities that provide opportunities for individual and peer-learning. During group work, teachers should stop at key points to check individual student understanding.

Videos or audio recordings

The recording of student achievement in physical and verbal activities such as role-plays, performances, speeches, play-based learning or debates.

Field-work and practical (authentic) tasks

The demonstration of learning through activities, such as virtual and actual fieldwork; community service programs, such as fundraising; creating models; and product design and development.

Tests or quizzes

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

Written work

This includes short and extended written tasks. These may take the form of short responses, such as worksheets and sentence or paragraph answers. Longer responses may include essays, information reports or imaginative texts, such as narratives and journal entries. Students may also conduct inquiry tasks in which they must develop questions; gather, analyse and evaluate information; communicate on findings and reflect upon conclusions.

Graphic organisers

The demonstration of learning through making connections, showing relationships and concept mapping of student knowledge.

Visual representations

The demonstration of learning through maps, tables, graphs, diagrams, posters, brochures, photographs and other digital media (e.g. slides, animations, blogs).

Performances or oral presentations

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


Discussions or interviews with students that are conducted either face-to-face or via audio and video recordings.

Portfolios and work samples

Collections of student work that provide long-term documentation of student progress and achievement. Portfolios may be subject-area-specific or contain a range of work undertaken by students.

Self-assessments and evaluations, and student journals

The self-reflection of achievement and progression towards goals. It allows for metacognitive thinking about their learning and personal reflection upon their strengths and weaknesses. Journals provide personal accounts of student responses to learning activities, experiences and understandings.

Peer assessments

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

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