Assessment and Reporting
The student portfolio contains work samples collected as part of the overall assessment and reporting process, and includes samples of best work, Rich Assessment Tasks (learning tasks that provide the classroom teacher with quality information about the strategies being used by your child to solve problems) and examples of work in progress. The student portfolio includes individual Learning Goals for each semester.
The Learning Goals for the first semester are developed after careful observation and rigorous assessment of your child’s progress during first term. Goals are set focussing on the development of Literacy, Numeracy and/or Behavioural /Organisational skills. Students in Years 2 - 6 also set ONE of their own Learning Goals. This is done after discussion and consultation with the class teacher, so that the goal set is meaningful and realistic for the student. These Learning Goals are evaluated at the end of each semester.
Work samples, together with other forms of learning and assessment, are used by the class teacher to determine each child’s performance against the AusVELS standards. For more information about Student Portfolios read our letter to parent re Student Portfolios.
Things to look for in the child’s portfolio:
- Evidence of development – improvement and progress
- Best work practices and best efforts
- Presentation elements
- Content of their work
- Evidence of creative thinking in their work
- Signs of “having a go” and risk-taking with their learning
What to do:
- Celebrate your child’s achievements
- Look for indicators to focus on for future development
- Communicate with your child’s class teacher about the progress shown through the portfolio
The student portfolio is sent home with your child’s mid-year and end of year reports for you to view, share with your child and celebrate their progress. The portfolio needs to be returned to school mid-year but can be kept at home when it is sent home with the end of year reports and can be kept as part of your records of your child’s progress over their primary years of schooling. The student portfolio provides valuable insight into your child’s achievements and development.
Parent, Student and Teacher Conferences (PST)
Parent / Student / Teacher Conferences are held twice each year. The first Conference is held early in February (for students in Years 1 - 6). (Prep parents have a formal meeting with their child’s class teacher in the first week of school). The purpose of the Parent / Student / Teacher Conference is for parents to share relevant information about their child and for the class teacher to share information about their initial observations and assessments of the student’s progress.
The student participates in the conference to share their learning goals for the semester. These goals have been developed by your child’s teacher as a result of extensive assessment and observation of your child at work. Your child has also formulated one of their own learning goals (Years 2 - 6).
Conferences are scheduled for 10 minutes, with an additional 5 minutes available to talk to the teacher alone, if required. If a parent needs to discuss a significant issue about their child, an alternative time will need to be arranged. In the last week of Term 2, another Parent / Student / Teacher Conference is held for all students in Years Prep - 6. The aim of this conference is to clarify any issues related to the written report, to discuss the child’s progress towards achievement of the Semester 1 Learning Goals, to share the student’s Semester 2 Learning Goals and to discuss one of the student’s assessment tasks in their student portfolio. Conferences are again scheduled for 10 minutes, with an additional 5 minutes available to talk to the teacher alone, if required.
These ‘Conferences’ are different from the ‘Parent-Teacher Interviews’ held in previous years. Rather than adults talking ‘about’ the student, it is important for the student to be ‘involved’ in the process. If there is important information that parents need to communicate to teachers about their child, then it is recommended that contact is made as soon as needed (rather than waiting for the Conference) to share the information. Similarly, the class teacher needs to contact parents in a timely manner to share important information about the student.
Assessment and Monitoring Schedule
The Assessment and Monitoring Schedule outlines the compulsory literacy and numeracy assessment tasks to be completed by class teachers and the dates that the results of these tasks are due each term. The results of these tasks are provided to the Literacy and Numeracy co-ordinators and certain results provided to the Support team. This allows the Literacy and Numeracy co-ordinators to monitor the progress of students in these areas. Results provided to the Support team enable the them to define which students may need additional support through participation in a relevant support program. Professional development is provided to class teachers to ensure they are competent in the administration, scoring and interpretation of student assessment results. The Assessment & Monitoring Schedule ensures an appropriate balance of assessment tasks (eg. formative and summative tasks) and includes scope for class teachers to develop their own ‘rich assessment tasks’ for student portfolios.
Individual Learning Plans
Individual Learning Plans are developed by a class teacher for students achieving significantly above and below expected AusVELS levels. (If a student is achieving slightly above or below expected levels, it is expected that the class teacher will be able to meet the needs of these student with slight modifications to their normal classroom program). Detailed guidelines have been produced for teachers outlining the process of developing an Individual Learning Plan for a student. In summary, an ILP will be developed when a student is achieving well above or well below their expected levels of achievement or if there is an aspect of their behaviour that needs to be formally addressed. If the student is participating in a support program, then the support program teacher will develop the individual learning plan. Most Individual Learning Plans will be of one or two term’s duration, address one Key Learning Area (eg. literacy or numeracy), will identify the specific skills that the student needs to develop, provide an outline of the class activities that will assist to develop the skills and outline how the parent can support the student at home. The Individual Learning Plan is created using the E-SLIP database. It is sent home (usually after an initial discussion with the parent) and is signed by the parent, the student and class teacher. Once returned, it is kept in the student’s confidential file. A record of the ILP is created on E-SLIP and class teachers also record that the ILP was created on the SLIP Class Overview.
Assessment and Monitoring Schedules
Click on the level to read a summary table presented term by term for the whole year.
Level 2 (Year 1 & 2)
Level 3 (Year 3 & 4)
Level 4 (Year 5 & 6)
UNSW Maths and English Competitions
Each year students in Years 3 - 6 at Eltham North Primary School have the opportunity to participate in the Australasian Schools English and Mathematics Competition. The competition is an initiative of Educational Assessment Australia (EAA) of the University of New South Wales. The UNSW competition provides an opportunity for all students to gain a measure of their own achievement in an external assessment situation. It provides schools with comprehensive reporting of result sand also gives parents helpful information regarding their child’s performance in English and Mathematics.
All students receive a Certificate and an individual Student Report indicating which questions they answered correctly, as well as the average mark for the state. The Student Report is particularly useful for highlighting student strengths and weaknesses in English and Mathematics.
Certificates are awarded for each year level as follows: High Distinction to the top 1% of each year level in the state; Distinction to the next 10% of entrants in each year level in the state; Credit to the next 20% of entrants in each year level in the state; Achievement to students who were placed within the top 20% of the year group in their school and the top 50% in the state, but who have not qualified for a higher certificate; Participation to all other participating students.
Participation is voluntary and is available to students for a nominal fee. Competitions are usually held between May and June each year. Eltham North students have performed very well in previous competitions with many students achieving excellent results.
E-SLIP (Electronic – Student Learning Initiatives and Programs) is our electronic database that provides personal details of every student and their involvement in our school’s Student Learning Initiatives and Programs. The E-SLIP database was developed by one of our staff members using Filemaker Pro software and is accessible via the curriculum server. It is extremely well-designed, comprehensive, yet user-friendly. Every class teacher has the relevant software installed on their laptop computer so that they can access E-SLIP and have been provided with appropriate professional development. It is the responsibility of class teachers to enter relevant data on E-SLIP, however, Support Program teachers enter and record ILPs for students participating in these programs. The SLIP Class Overviews (outlined below) are used to cross-reference with E-SLIP to ensure all data is up-to date. The Assessment & Reporting team are responsible for monitoring the implementation of E-SLIP.
Student Confidential File
The Student Confidential File provides a ‘hard copy’ of much of the information contained on E-SLIP. Detailed Guidelines of how information is to be collected and stored have been produced. The Student Confidential File contains:
- Personal details (CASES data)
- A copy of all mid and end of year reports
- Assessment records from the previous year
- Any reports from other assessments (psychology, speech, language)
- Copies of reports from support teachers
- Copies of Individual Learning Plans
The Student Confidential File contains information and examples of assessment that cannot be easily recorded on E-SLIP, eg. actual copies of Running Records that have been analysed, student test sheets, etc. The Student Confidential File provides significant information about a student and their educational progress and is particularly useful for teachers to review at the start of the school year in order to gain valuable information about the student and an understanding of their learning needs.
Moderation is an extremely important element of the assessment and reporting process and occurs formally and informally throughout the school. Each year after the student writing component of NAPLAN testing is completed, the Year 3 & 5 teachers meet for half a day to moderate together. This time is spent discussing the assessment of student writing within teams and across teams, ensuring there is consistency of teacher judgement. Moderation occurs within teams during student report writing time. Teachers are encouraged to seek additional support if they are unsure on how to report a student’s level of progress. This support may come from within the team or from a member of the support team. Common assessment tasks within areas also provide opportunities for moderation as teachers ensure that the task and the assessment of the task is completed consistently. Team Meetings and Team Planning Days also provide opportunities for teams to moderate and decide how various tasks in their Unit of Work will be assessed. Class teachers are also involved in moderation sessions with support staff in deciding which students should participate in a support program.
Student Achievement Data
Student Achievement Data is collected mid-year (via the SLIP Class Overview) and formally at the end of the school year. At the start of the school year, each class teacher receives an outline of students achieving above and below expected State levels (according to Student Achievement Data). This information is used by class teachers to assist in grouping students for instruction and for identifying which children may require an individual learning plan. Again, at mid year, this information is provided to class teachers. This enables class teachers to moderate on their assessment and reporting of student progress and ensure consistency across teams. The Support Team also analyse the results to determine effectiveness of support programs for selected students and to assist in deciding which students require further assessment for possible inclusion in a support program.
A formal written analysis of the Student Achievement Data is also completed. This analysis examines student performance in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Number and Mathematics over the past three years. Comparisons with NAPLAN results and Reading Benchmarking results are also made and the results of different cohorts of students are analysed to determine their growth over time. The Literacy and Numeracy Co-ordinators also interpret the results and use the information to monitor student progress and determine future directions in these key learning areas. The results and analysis are presented in our school’s Annual Report and Strategic Review.
Reading Benchmarking Data
The Reading Benchmarking Data is collected in mid-November each year. Our Reading Recovery Teacher completes the ‘running records’ for each student in Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 against the required Benchmark texts. (Having one highly-trained person to administer the assessments ensures consistency of results). Unit Leaders and class teachers receive a copy of their students’ results. This information is also communicated to the next year’s class teacher, so that they are aware of which students may require additional support. The Support Team analyse student results to determine the effectiveness of the Prep Literacy Support, Year 1/2 Literacy Support, Reading Recovery and Horizons programs for participating students.
A formal written analysis of the Reading Benchmarking Data is also completed. Again, trends in overall student performance and cohorts of students over the past three years are identified and comparisons with Student Achievement Data are made to ensure acceptable reliability and validity of data. The Literacy Co-ordinator also interprets the results and uses the information to monitor student progress and determine future directions. The results and analysis are presented in our school’s Annual Report / Triennial Review.
Student Survey (Teachers and Teaching / Feelings about Yourself and School)
Each year the Year 5/6 students complete the Student Survey. The Teachers and Teaching survey assesses student perceptions of the quality of instruction and teacher feedback, teacher helpfulness, responsiveness, energy, enthusiasm, fairness and firmness. The Feelings about Yourself and School survey assesses student ‘feelings’ in connectedness to school, teachers, peers, self esteem, student safety and motivation to learn. The survey forms are sent away for data entry and the results are returned to the school for interpretation. These results are initially provided to the Year 5/6 co-ordinator and teachers to discuss / analyse. Further (in-depth) analysis is then completed, interpretations and recommendations for improvement made and provided to the Year 5/6 teachers and the Principal for discussion. The results and analysis are presented in our school’s Annual Report and Strategic Review.
Parents are randomly selected (from different classes) to complete the survey. After the survey is completed, it is returned to the school in a sealed envelope and sent away for data entry and analysis. Parents have the opportunity to comment on the School Curriculum in the following areas: Quality of Teaching, Academic Rigour and Student Reporting. Parents also have the opportunity to comment on the School Environment in the following areas: General Environment, Customer Responsiveness and General Satisfaction. The data is interpreted by the Leadership team and recommendations are made for improvement. The results and analysis are presented in our school’s Annual Report and Strategic Review.
The Staff Survey is completed by all staff ‘on-line’ to ensure confidentiality. All staff (including support staff) have an opportunity to comment on their perceptions of School Morale, Supportive Leadership, Goal Congruence, Professional Interaction, Professional Growth, Participative Decision-Making, Role Clarity, Feedback, Curriculum Co-ordination, Student Orientation, Effective Discipline Policy, Student Misbehaviour, Excessive Work Demands and School Distress. The data is entered externally and results reported back to the school. The data is interpreted by the Principal and the Leadership team. Again, recommendations for improvement are considered and the results and analysis are presented in our school’s Annual Report and Strategic Review.
Assessment Instruments Used
The Support Program Teachers are responsible for completing various assessments of students, according to the Assessment & Monitoring Schedule. These include:
The auditory processing abilities of all Prep students are screened during first term. The Auditory Processing Kit (Victorian Department of Education, 1999) is used. Auditory processing assessments examine the child’s ability to repeat sentences that gradually increase in word length and complexity; and their ability to repeat a series of digits that also increase in length from 2 digits to 5 digits. All students’ results are recorded and provided to each prep teacher. If a child’s auditory processing results are significantly below expected levels, students are referred for further audiological and auditory processing assessment. The auditory processing screening assessments also provide support teachers with an opportunity to listen for any speech or articulation difficulties. These students are then referred for assessment to our school speech pathologist.
Prep teachers screen the phonological awareness abilities of Prep students at the start of the year (as part of the Prep Entry Assessment Program) using the Child Screening of Phonological Awareness (Love & Reilly, 1995). Towards the end of first term, support teachers then re-assess those children who scored poorly on their initial assessment. As phonological awareness has been shown to be the best predictor of later reading achievement, it is a vital skill. As such, children who are found to be struggling in this area after re-assessment, are included in a support program to explicitly teach phonological awareness sub-skills. Prep teachers receive a copy of their student’s results.
Boehm Test of Basic Concepts
During Term 2, selected Prep children are screened for their understanding of basic concepts (eg. over, around, centre, before, etc). The children selected are those that may have scored poorly on the auditory processing assessment and/or those who have been identified by their Prep teachers as having difficulties following basic instructions. These children are screened using the Boehm Test of Basic Concepts – 3 (Boehm, 2003). Prep teachers receive a copy of their student’s results and parents receive an individual report, outlining ways they can assist their child to develop these basic concepts at home. Students scoring low results may be referred for further assessment of their receptive language by our speech and language pathologist.
At the beginning of Term 1, all Year 1 students considered ‘at risk’ (involved in Prep Literacy Support Program) or new students to the school are administered the Observation Survey by our Reading Recovery Teacher. This involves assessing the child’s reading level, concepts about print, letter-identification, word reading, writing known words and hearing and recording the sounds in words. This information is used to decide which children should receive Literacy Support and Reading Recovery. This information is then passed onto class teachers of the children concerned.
Teacher Professional Leave
Teacher Professional Leave is a recent initiative aimed at supporting the implementation of the Blueprint for Government Schools. Teacher Professional Leave enables teachers to be released from their teaching duties to undertake a research project aimed at improving student learning outcomes.
Teachers have participated in Group projects (consisting of 10 teachers from different schools in the Nillumbik Network) with the aim of developing a common approach to assessment & reporting strategies (as outlined in the Blueprint for Government Schools, Flagship Strategy 1: Student Learning). Twenty days leave was granted. This involved preparing a Common Curriculum Day for all 10 schools (and others) on using ‘Common Rich Assessment Tasks’ and school visits documenting best practice in areas of: student reporting, three-way conferences, use of student portfolios, student goal-setting and tracking, and electronic databases to track and monitor student progress.
As a result of participation in this project, the following initiatives have been implemented at Eltham North Primary School:
- Modified student report format (more streamlined)
- PD to staff on the new report format, including goal setting, individual learning plans and student self-assessment.
- Revised Assessment & Monitoring Schedule.
Further initiatives include:
- Consistency of approach to use of student portfolios (including common assessment tasks).
- Trialling three-way conferences across the school.
Teachers have been granted Teacher Professional Leave to further develop the school’s electronic database. This has involved receiving training in various computer programs and making refinements to the database. In particular, refinements such as the linking of student reports, specialist reports and individual learning plans to the database and the inclusion of student assessment results have all been made.
Mid-Year Student Reports
Recently, our teachers participated in some ‘moderation’ sessions. These sessions enabled our staff to compare their assessment of student work with other teachers in their level, as well as teachers in other levels throughout the school. This ensures that teachers are being consistent in their judgement of student progress. What we have found in recent years is that teachers at Eltham North have often been conservative in their judgement of student progress. Our students’ results in external tests and the reading benchmarking assessments are frequently higher than the results given by many class teachers. As such, we are endeavouring to address this issue by encouraging our teachers to judge student progress less conservatively (and therefore, more realistically). The impact of this is that, for some students, their results may differ from previous years’ results (ie. some results will be higher than previously). This difference represents an ‘adjustment’ to a more accurate reporting of student progress.
As such, it is critical that parents realise that student learning does not always follow a perfectly linear pattern – improving a set increment at each reporting cycle. Children’s learning typically follows a more staggered approach, with periods of rapid development, followed by periods of consolidation. Our reports will now reflect this development more accurately. It is not reasonable to expect that your child will automatically move up one increment each semester. There will be times when they may move up 2 or 3 increments and times when they may not move up at all. This is normal – and is not necessarily a reflection of brilliant or poor teaching, but a reflection of what is typical in terms of children’s intellectual growth and development.