Ways of Assessing

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

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?

In the Languages, the two strands Communicating and Understanding are interrelated and inform and support each other. When developing assessment tasks, teachers provide students with opportunities to communicate in the language that they are learning and to demonstrate their understanding of the language needed for effective and interculturally appropriate communication. Assessment tasks typically address the syllabus content in interconnected ways within relevant, meaningful contexts to students. As students demonstrate their learning in different ways, teachers use ongoing assessment processes that include a diverse array of assessment strategies.

Refer to the Judging Standards tool in the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline (http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/judging-standards) 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, their responses, comprehension, pronunciation, use and understanding of a range of vocabulary and grammar documented by the teacher through the use of anecdotal notes, checklists, photographs, videos or audio recordings. Observation may take the following form:

  • participation in group and whole class   activities such as jigsaw, gallery walks, flyswat, shared book reading or   play-based learning
  • following instructions in the target language   for a craft activity, sport, game or cooking
  • developing and performing in a role play
  • question and answer sessions
  • over the shoulder marking of student work.

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.

Short responses

Short responses to tasks may take the following form:

  • drawing diagrams, maps, sketches or graphs
  • translating text from one language to another
  • cloze activities, multiple choice questions or   jumbled sentences
  • participating in games such as: sentence   relay, hangman, anagrams, drawing a word/ phrase, acting out a word/phrase,   asking questions to guess a character
  • short oral responses naming objects or images
  • colouring or circling an image to demonstrate   comprehension of spoken text
  • reading for information in a written text
  • listening for information in a spoken text
  • writing a blog post, shopping list, diary   entry, poem, postcard, song lyrics, menu, recipe, invitation, message, speech   bubbles or comic strip
  • giving short oral descriptions of a stimulus   picture.

Extended responses

Extended responses to tasks are longer answers that may take the following form:

  • response to a statement or question such as an   email, blog post, letter, diary entry, article, short story, account or   personal profile
  • response to an experience such as a film   review, restaurant review, or report on an excursion
  • response to information and or data such as   newspaper articles, artefacts, blog or table of statistics.

Practical and authentic tasks

The demonstration of learning through practical authentic or simulated activities may take the following form:

  • following instructions to perform a   traditional or modern dance
  • cooking food and selling it at a food stall
  • setting up and running a class café
  • contributing to a class blog
  • purchasing or exchanging items from a stall
  • creating an itinerary or schedule for a class   trip or excursion
  • conversing with speakers of the target   language through the Internet.

Performances or oral presentations

The demonstration of learning in practical performances or presentations, interviews, role play, speeches, simulations, debates and performances may take the following form:

  • conducting an interviewing and being   interviewed
  • performing a song or acting in a play
  • performing a story telling, puppet show,   poetry recital, radio program, weather report
  • participating in a debate
  • delivering a speech
  • participating in a simulation activity such as   asking and following directions, purchasing items from a stall
  • participating in shared, sustained   conversation.

Visual representations

The demonstration of learning through making connections, showing relationships and concept mapping of student knowledge through visual representations may take the following form:

  • displaying information on Venn diagrams, maps,   posters, graphs, tables, concept maps, timelines, brochures and charts
  • creating digital presentations with slides,   animation or video
  • creating a comic strip or story board
  • translating information from written text into   a timeline or concept map.


Collections of student work that provide long-term documentation of student progress and achievement may take the following form:

  • video and audio recordings of student work
  • written samples of work such as a student   diary, journal of a class mascot, record of class rules/routines, labelled   drawings of favourite characters from stories.
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