OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: Australia 2011

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This book provides, for Australia, an independent analysis of major issues facing its educational evaluation and assessment framework, current policy initiatives, and possible future approaches. It shows how student assessment, teacher appraisal, school evaluation and system evaluation can bring about real gains in performance across Australia's school system.



Student assessment

Student performance in Australia is assessed by a wide range of instruments, ranging from national standardised tests to ongoing daily formative assessment in the classroom. At the national level, both full-cohort and national sample assessments of Australian students are conducted, the results from which are used as key performance measures towards national goals. At the system level, many state and territory governments administer testing with both diagnostic and monitoring purposes. States and territories are also responsible for externally-based summative assessment, in particular in view of assessing students for secondary education certification. At the school level, student assessment plays the key role in informing schools and teachers about students’ individual achievement through teacher-based summative and formative assessments. A major asset is that a coherent framework for the assessment of student learning is in place in Australia. Other strengths include the credibility of NAPLAN results among school agents; the moderation processes and dedicated tools to support student assessment; the existence of consolidated assessment practices for secondary school qualifications; good practices of formative assessment; and the reliance on teacher-based summative assessment. Priorities for future policy development include developing national consistency while respecting state and territory assessment strengths and cultures; reinforcing the assessment validity of NAPLAN; establishing safeguards against overemphasis on NAPLAN; strengthening teachers’ capacity to assess student performance against the Australian Curriculum; building teachers’ competence to use student assessment data; maintaining the centrality of teacher-based assessment; and increasing the visibility of the Australian Government’s goals for formative assessment.


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