Years 7 to 10 teaching and assessment


Teaching and Learning Principles Mandated Materials icon

The Principles of Teaching, Learning and Assessment focus on the provision of a school and class environment that is intellectually, socially and physically supportive of learning. The principles assist whole-school planning and individual classroom practice. It is essential, therefore, to ensure that there is a shared understanding of them within particular school communities and a collaborative effort to implement these principles in ways appropriate to individual schools.

Opportunity to learn

Learning experiences should enable students to observe and practise the actual processes, products, skills and values that are expected of them.

Students should have the opportunity to engage fully with the concepts they are expected to develop; observe people engaged in the processes which they are to learn; and encounter examples of high-quality products of those processes, so they can see what it is they are aiming to achieve. For example, students are more likely to understand and make sense of mathematical, scientific or social science ideas if the information and experiences they engage with are inherently meaningful. They are more likely to write, perform or design well if they see the writing, performing or designing processes modelled and encounter examples of 'good' writing, 'good' performance or 'good' design. They are more likely to learn to respect and value the views of others if the school environment models such behaviours.

Students should have the opportunity to engage as fully as possible in the processes they are expected to learn about or through. For example, if they are expected to learn to plan, investigate and make choices, then they must practise these skills, rather than carry out the plans, investigations and choices of others. Where skills need to be developed to a high level of proficiency, appropriate practice of the actual skill is needed in settings that approximate those in which the skill is to be used.

Connection and challenge

Learning experiences should connect with students' existing knowledge, skills and values while extending and challenging their current ways of thinking and acting.

Learning should endeavour to ensure fresh challenges to students' existing knowledge, skills and understanding and new ideas are realistic. Sometimes existing conceptual frameworks and capabilities can be readily extended to incorporate new learning; at other times they need to be exposed (and possibly discarded) in order for new learning to occur. Either way, learners need to be able to connect new experiences to what they already know and can do, while at the same time reconstructing what they know and can do to take account of the challenge provided by their new experience.

Action and reflection

Learning experiences should encourage both action and reflection on the part of the student.

Learning is likely to be enhanced when students engage actively with the task at hand. They should be encouraged to think of learning as an active process on their part, involving a conscious intention to make sense of new ideas or experiences and improve their own knowledge and capabilities, rather than simply to reproduce or remember. This means that learning experiences should be meaningful and involve students in both doing and reflecting. Students should learn to carry out relevant actions (do, imitate, plan, experiment, test, create, rehearse, make, choose, try alternatives) and reflect upon and make sense of the results of those actions (What does this mean? Why did that happen? Am I surprised by this answer? Does it make sense? How is this problem like others I have seen before? What worked? Why? How does this connect with other learning? Are these ideas related?). Language plays a major role in connecting doing and reflecting, and students need to learn to use language as a tool for their own learning.

As part of the reflective process, students should be helped to make connections between apparently unrelated ideas and experiences and different areas of knowledge. Teachers should emphasise the interconnectedness of knowledge, skills and values, both within and across different learning areas. Schools should provide an environment in which knowledge, skills and values are seen as an integrated whole, and their development as a lifelong endeavour.

Motivation and purpose

Learning experiences should be motivating and their purpose clear to the student.

Students should be provided with purposeful and relevant activities that stimulate thought, inquiry and enjoyment. They may regard such activities as purposeful and relevant if they have an immediate practical goal (I need to know what happened in the story, we need to reduce harassment at school, we need to work out how much money we have collected) or if they relate to some longer-term goal which the student values (I need to practise my serve so my overall game will improve). Activities should be consistent with students' maturity and should endeavour to engage both their interest and challenge them to succeed. Students should be clear about what is expected of them, what they are trying to learn and why. Teachers can enhance motivation and purposeful learning by making clear to students the long-term outcomes expected from their learning.

Inclusivity and difference

Learning experiences should respect and accommodate differences between learners.

Students have a variety of past experiences shaped by their language, culture, health, location, values, abilities and disabilities, and previous education. Thus, teaching must be highly adaptive, acknowledging, respecting and accommodating the diverse background experiences students bring to the classroom. The extent to which a student can benefit from an experience will depend on the extent to which it connects and challenges that student's knowledge.

Students develop at different rates and also learn new ideas more or less quickly. They should be provided with the time, conditions and encouragement they need to learn in stimulating ways, and be discouraged from superficial learning that gives the impression of keeping pace at the expense of long-term and sustained learning. Students may differ in the extent to which they prefer to work independently or collaboratively, through pictures or words, orally or in writing, laterally or in a linear fashion, cautiously or adventurously. The same student may successfully use certain approaches in one learning situation and other approaches in a different learning situation.

Students should be provided with a rich variety of learning opportunities that enable them to build on their existing experiences and personal strengths and work in preferred ways. Ideally, the experiences should also broaden students' horizons by extending the range of contexts in which they can function and the learning strategies that are available to them as individuals.

Independence and collaboration

Learning experiences should encourage students to learn both independently and from and with others.

If students are to become autonomous learners, they need to experience regular opportunities for both individual and collaborative learning. Working individually is necessary and can help to ensure a personal grasp of concepts, processes and skills. Working with peers enables students to be challenged by the views of others, clarify ideas and interpret and use appropriate language. Often discussion will involve students in explaining ideas to others and, in doing so, clarifying these ideas for themselves.

Learning experiences should be structured so that students can learn not only from their immediate peers and teachers but also from family and community members and people from other parts of the world. This will help them to appreciate that all people can contribute to learning and that life experiences are to be valued, together with books and other sources of information. It will also enable them to see things from different perspectives, to stand outside their own culture and their own society, to value and respect diversity, and to be critical of and able to analyse different points of view.

Teachers should plan learning experiences that enable students, whether working individually or in groups, to become increasingly autonomous. Students should be assisted to reflect on their own learning, thinking about how they learn and the conditions that help them to learn. Classroom processes should give students some flexibility in choosing ways of working and encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning.

Supportive environment

The school and classroom setting should be safe and conducive to effective learning.

A supportive learning environment provides the intellectual, social and physical conditions in which effective learning can occur. School and classroom policies and practices should be designed to foster in students the knowledge that they can be successful autonomous learners. They should support the development of a confident approach to learning and a desire to achieve well. For example, this means that students should feel challenged and able to take sensible risks in their learning in the knowledge that the errors that may result will be regarded as a necessary, acceptable and often a helpful part of learning.

Further, the school and classroom should provide a cooperative atmosphere, free from harassment such as teasing, sarcasm or remarks that stereotype or denigrate students or their efforts. Difference and diversity should be respected and sensitivity shown to matters of gender, cultural difference, social class, ability and disability, family circumstance and individual difference. A supportive learning environment also provides sufficient, fair, safe and ethical access to a suitable and varied range of resources, including space and equipment, print and other materials and useful technology. This does not imply a need for the same environment for all. Indeed, special provision may often be necessary to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to learn.

Curriculum Mandated Materials icon

Curriculum Support Materials Support Materials icon New

The curriculum support materials have been developed by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (the Authority) as part of the School Education Act Employees (Teachers and Administrators) General Agreement 2017 (Clause 61.1–61.3).

The materials provide examples of approaches to teaching, learning and assessment using the Western Australian curriculum and Achievement Standards and are reflective of the Principles of Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

Please note: Access to the curriculum support materials require teachers to login or register for an Extranet account at


Assessment Principles and Reflective Questions Mandated Materials icon

The assessment principles were informed by the most recent research into best practice in assessment and the impact of assessment in improving student learning.

The overview of research provides further support to teachers in reflecting on their own assessment practices.

Snapshots Support Materials icon

The assessment snapshots illustrate the assessment principles within a classroom or school context. The contexts and observations represent what many teachers already do and serve to show that the assessment principles apply across the broad range of assessment activity from teacher observations and teacher devised assessments, through to the use of data from standardised tests.

How can teachers use the assessment snapshots?

The assessment snapshots are envisaged as a starting point for discussion of the assessment principles.

  • What aspects of the assessment principles are illustrated in the snapshot?
  • How might you refine the assessment approach described in the snapshot to suit your particular context?
  • What other assessment strategies have you found useful? How can you use the assessment principles to help you refine your assessment strategies?
  • Do you plan for assessment when you plan your lessons? (What do you want your students to know, understand and be able to do? How will you know if your students have achieved this? How will you use the information to plan/refine your instruction?)

Assessment Activities Support Materials icon

The sample assessment activities exemplify a broad range of strategies teachers employ to obtain information about their students' skills and understandings, and range from asking questions during a lesson to giving a formal standardised assessment. The activities reflect the Principles of Assessment and the assessment strategies outlined in the Ways of Assessing section in each Phase 2 and 3 syllabus.

A sample marking key has been provided with many of the tasks. These keys vary in their format according to the years of schooling and the assessment strategy, and should be developed by teachers at the same time the assessment activity is being developed. The summative marking keys are detailed and can be used at the end of a teaching cycle to provide additional evidence for reporting purposes. The marking keys:

  • help to ensure a consistent interpretation of the criteria that guide the teacher's judgement
  • provide the basis for feedback to students, and
  • enable the fair and valid ranking of student achievement.
The assessment activity and marking key formats are not prescriptive.

Science Year 7 Assessment Activities Science Year 8 Assessment Activities Science Year 9 Assessment Activities Science Year 10 Assessment Activities

Judging Standards Support Materials icon

Please note: Judging standards materials are now housed within the extranet for privacy of student work samples, especially for those relating to performance. Teachers can login or register for an account at

Judging Standards Overview

Judging standards is a tool to support teachers when reporting against the achievement standards for each year of schooling; when giving assessment feedback; and when explaining the differences between one student's achievement and another's. The achievement standard describes an expected level that the majority of students are achieving or working towards by the end of that year of schooling. Some students will have progressed beyond the achievement standard; others will need additional support. The expected standard for each year is described as 'C' or Satisfactory.

‘As reporting student achievement in terms of grades is a broad classification of performance, each grade represents a wide range of student ability. Many students will be given the same grade in semester 1 and semester 2, even though their teachers will have observed growth in learning. Bearing in mind that work in Semester 2 builds on Semester 1, maintaining a grade indicates students have held their own in the face of more advanced material and in this way have grown in their learning’ (Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline, Assessment Principle 5-Assessment should lead to informative reporting).

The Judging Standards resources comprise three, interrelated components:

Grades, and or achievement descriptions: for describing student achievement for the purpose of reporting. Grades, and/or achievement descriptions, are not assigned for individual pieces of work.

Assessment pointers: for validating teachers’ professional judgement when reporting against a five-point scale.The pointers are examples of evidence in relation to the achievement standard; should be used with the annotated work samples; and, exemplify what students may demonstrate rather than a checklist of everything they should do. In some learning areas, depending on what has been taught in the reporting period, teachers may refer to only a selection of the pointers in one or more of the subjects and/or contexts of the learning area.

Annotated work samples: for supporting teachers when reporting against the achievement standard; when explaining the differences between one student’s achievement and another’s; and, in implementing internal moderation practices. ‘Moderation for Reporting focuses on those aspects of assessment where schools are required to be accountable for student performance and where it is important that teacher judgements are comparable. When undertaking moderation for reporting purposes, the emphasis is on broad classifications of student performance (e.g. reporting student performance in terms of grades or in terms of achieving the standard), and ensuring teachers have consistent interpretations of these broad classifications (Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline, Assessment Principle 5-Assessment should lead to informative reporting).

Policy Mandated Materials icon

Further Information and Related Links

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