The assessment triangle to track learning

Student self-assessment is embedded into teaching practice at Rooty Hill High School.

25 August 2020
Three students and Mark Scott on a Zoom call.
Image: Rooty Hill High students, from left Tarsha, Rumman and Chad zoom in for a podcast recording with Secretary Mark Scott

Assessment is “pretty complex” and not that well understood, according to Chris Cawsey, principal at Rooty Hill High School.

Ms Cawsey spoke with Secretary Mark Scott on the ‘What works best’ podcast about the focus and approach to assessment at her school. The theme of assessment has been included in the 2020 update to the flagship research from the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE).

Ms Cawsey refers to Professor Geoff Masters’ definition of assessment as a “point in time judgement about progress or attainment” and sees Rooty Hill High as an “assessment-centred school”.

“Rather than assessing students, we like to think about assessing the learning,” Ms Cawsey said.

“One of the absolute beliefs of Rooty Hill High School is that teacher assessment, school assessment and student assessment needs to be on the agenda constantly.”

Key elements of assessment at Rooty Hill High include student self-assessment and teacher feedback within lessons, assessing progressive learning over a period of time, and longer term assessment often via external testing.

The school triangulates external data from NAPLAN with other in-class assessments to look for patterns of evidence to show a student is making progress in their learning.

Students have clear learning intentions tied to syllabus outcomes with a success criteria so both students and teachers can make judgements on learning. Students also select work samples to annotate demonstrating evidence of meeting benchmarks or syllabus outcomes.

Teachers then review lesson design and use external evidence to explain how the learning occurred and what strategies worked best.

“The whole staff work together in order to embed this practice,” Ms Cawsey said.

Listen to the episode with Chris Cawsey on assessment and hear from Year 12 students at Rooty Hill High about their experience of assessment in the CESE podcast.

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