Student assessments are developed using a standards-referenced approach with the A-E Common Grade Scale as a point of reference for determining student achievement.
The A-E Common Grade Scale summarises the standard (or quality) of achievement associated with each grade. The scale describes:
Grades are given for individual achievement. Individual performance is measured against stage appropriate outcomes, with achievement determined by the administering of quality assessment for, of and as learning experiences. Students receive the grade that best matches the standard of their achievement they have demonstrated. Teachers are not limited to set numbers of each grade within their class or school.
Feedback is directed to the achievement of standards and away from comparisons with peers. It is not an indicator of potential, but rather of how evidence from assessments and observations meet the assessment criteria.
Grades are one aspect of school reporting to parents. Other important tools include:
Student performance is formally reported on towards the end of Term 2 (Semester 1) and again at the end of Term 4 (Semester 2). A school report is prepared in accordance with the CEDoW Assessment and Reporting Policy, providing information about student progress.
Parent/teacher/student learning conferences are held in conjunction with the written student report. At other times during the school year parents or teachers can request an interview to discuss student achievement.
The Common Grade Scale describes performance at each of five grade levels:
The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the content and can readily apply this knowledge. In addition, the student has achieved a very high level of competence in the processes and skills and can apply these skills to new situations.
The student has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content and a high level of competence in the processes and skills. In addition, the student is able to apply this knowledge and these skills to most situations.
The student has a sound knowledge and understanding of the main areas of content and has achieved an adequate level of competence in the processes and skills.
The student has a basic knowledge and understanding of the content and has achieved a limited level of competence in the processes and skills.
The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding in few areas of the content and has achieved very limited competence in some of the processes and skills.
For more information, visit the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) website.
Primary students in Year 3 and Year 5 participate in the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) in May each year. NAPLAN is a part of the National Assessment Program (NAP) and how governments, education authorities and schools can determine whether young Australians are reaching important educational goals.
Students are assessed using common national tests in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) and Numeracy.
NAPLAN tests broadly reflect aspects of literacy and numeracy common to curriculums in all States and Territories. The types of test formats and questions are chosen so that they are familiar to teachers and students across Australia. The school and parents are provided with a written report in late Term 3. The data of all students is analysed by the school to inform learning and teaching, to focus on professional learning and develops targets for improvement.
For more information, visit the National Assessment Program (NAP) website.
The transition from the current paper-based tests to computer-based assessments is currently underway in schools across the country – including at St Thomas More. NAPLAN Online will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information. The assessments can run through a real-time internet connection or onscreen without an internet connection.
More information about NAPLAN Online on the NAP website and in the 'Understanding NAPLAN Online' video below.