Assessment & Reporting
Assessing Student Learning
Finding out what students know and understand is a fundamental part of effective teaching and learning in every classroom. Assessment is how teachers gather information about each student’s learning so that they can identify what students know, understand and can do. They use this information to plan future teaching and to improve their students’ learning. Assessing students’ learning allows teachers to give feedback to their students and report on student progress to parents and carers. Teachers at Spensley Street spend a lot of time selecting quality assessments, gathering accurate information about learning and preparing detailed evidence-based student reports that are given to parents and carers twice a year.
What is assessment?
Assessment of students’ learning is a fundamental part of an effective teaching and learning program in every classroom, in every school. Assessment is how teachers gather information about each student’s learning so that they can identify what students know, understand and can do. Teachers use this information to plan future teaching, target students’ needs and improve their learning.
Assessing students’ learning allows teachers to give feedback to their students and report on student progress to parents and carers. Teachers at Spensley Street spend a lot of time selecting quality assessments, gathering accurate information about learning and preparing detailed evidence-based student reports that are given to parents and carers twice a year.
The information gathered through the assessment process is used by the school to analyse the needs of its students. This information is shared twice a year with the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
The principles of assessment
The Spensley Street Assessment and Reporting Policy states that assessment practices at the school gather information about student development, taking into account the whole child and the complexity of learning and learners.
Assessment should be ongoing and related to learning goals, to the school’s teaching and learning programs, and to Victorian Curriculum standards.
Most importantly, assessment should lead to improved teaching and learning.
The assessments we use at Spensley Street
Our teachers use many different ways to gather information about their students’ learning.
Our assessments range from informal, on-going observations and checklists to formal, standardised tests. Assessment happens every day in every classroom. All teachers follow the school’s Assessment Schedule, where particular assessments are carried out at particular year levels each term.
Students are involved in assessment through a process called self-assessment. This encourages students to reflect on and monitor their own learning, and it informs their own future learning goals.
Teachers gain detailed information about a student’s reading, writing or numeracy understanding by conducting a 1:1 interview or observation such as the English Online Interview and the Maths Assessment Interview.
Reading assessments are used at all year levels to obtain detailed diagnostic information about our students’ reading and comprehension skills. The results from these assessments can be compared to those of same-age students in other schools.
Standardised tests allow us to compare the performance of our students against those in other schools. Some of these tests are available online, which gives teachers information very quickly.
Spensley Street teachers use Essential Assessments and Progressive Achievement Tests (P.A.T.) with all students in Years 2 to 6 to assess and monitor mathematics, spelling & reading knowledge, and we also use Essential Assessments to gain more information about reading progress.
The results of online tests are available to teachers immediately and can be used diagnostically (to identify gaps in learning), as well as to confirm teachers’ judgements about student achievement levels. Collecting information via online assessments allows the school to monitor student progress over time, and to identify students who need specific extension or support.
The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy is a series of four assessments – Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy – for students in Year 3 and Year 5. They are standardised, national tests, completed over a two-week period in March each year.
NAPLAN results are available in August when parents receive individual reports showing their child’s results on an achievement scale for each assessment area, and comparing these to the national average. Contrary to many people’s belief, NAPLAN results form no basis for selection into secondary schools.