Assessment advice – inclusive multimodal assessment

This resource is part of a suite of conversations between the English Curriculum Team and teachers and school leaders from across the NSW Department of Education. These recorded sessions draw upon research and experience in subject English and present a range of evidence-based strategies for refining assessment practices.

Audience: Stage 6 teachers

Watch 'Creating an inclusive multimodal presentation assessment in Stage 6' (1:01:49)

This session will support teachers to understand ways to develop an inclusive multimodal assessment

(Duration: 1 hour 1 minute 49 seconds)

Speaker 1

Here’s some sort of outline where I think I'm heading today and I'm very excited that lots of people are excited about spending this time to reflect about multimodal assessment tasks and how we can make them inclusive, and how we can really think about how they're put together and what's best for our students.

So, what I'm aiming to do today is think about the features of an inclusive assessment, what makes a multimodal assessment inclusive. I'm also thinking I'm going to talk about ways to compose it, to meet particular syllabus outcomes, and I'm going to look at particular outcomes, and try and talk to you about the content points that are there, that match or go with multimodal assessment.

I want to talk about, and help you develop clarity around the components of the multimodal presentation and how you can assess this effectively – and that might sound a bit odd now, but it'll make sense as we move through – and provide you with the opportunity to develop a reflective process to utilize when you're evaluating or thinking about multimodal presentations and how you put them together for your students. And of course, in this forum, we're developing an opportunity to share ideas and I've got a little proposal at the end about how we might be able to share our ideas about multimodal presentation so, we'll get to that.

So, welcome. The first part I'm going to talk about looking at clarifying some definitions to start with, because it's always good when we start something like this to all be on the same page and for you to see where I'm coming from in terms of what I'm defining each of these things to mean. So again, if you have a comment or question, you're welcome to ask that in the chat and I'll stop and address that.

Okay, so, the first one I'm going to have a look at is the idea of what is a multimodal in terms of the NESA glossary? And then also what is a presentation. Now, NESA doesn't outline exactly what a presentation is in their glossary but there are lots of hints or allusions to what a presentation is throughout the syllabus and throughout the outcomes and the content points.

So, if we agree that, and we take the NESA glossary as that's what a multimodal is, we're going to agree that it comprises of more than one mode and that it can include print, image spoken texts and as in a film or a computer presentation, so, that's all part of it so, we need to have one more than one mode. And that's fine and we can think of lots of examples of things that have more than one mode. But then when we put the Word presentation alongside multimodal, then we have to think about opportunities for that to be in front of an audience for a particular purpose.

So, you can think, yes, this is a multimodal text, but is this is a multimodal presentation? And so, if we accept that a presentation is communicating something to an audience for a specific purpose and if I've, Jacquie and I've had this discussion several times and we've Googled every dictionary we can find, and probably the most rounded definition we've come up with is the one that I've placed here.

So, it's typically a demonstration, an introduction, a lecture, or a speech meant to inform, persuade, inspire, motivate, or to build goodwill, or to present a view, a new idea, or a product. So, you can think of lots of examples of things that are a presentation in that way.

So, putting the 2 of those definitions together, we end up with a multimodal text with more than one mode that is presented in some way in front of an audience for a particular purpose, and there's some purposes listed there.

Okay, that seems like a big starting point to start with.

Okay, the other definition, I want to clarify so that we're again, we're all thinking the same before we move through, is what do we mean by inclusive? And we're taking the different definition here from NESA. So, an inclusive assessment has to have multiple access and entry points for all students. Now that means that if it's something like “select”, might be to select a text to analyse, then analyse the text and then present the text, they’re levels of engagement and levels of entry points. So, a student might need some support in selecting the text, they may need some support in analysing the text, a scaffold, etc. So, just to clarify what I mean by multiple access or entry points.

The other way that we can ensure that, assessments are inclusive is to ensure that we're assessing a range of outcomes and their knowledge, understanding and skills across the course. That there's a variety of text, so that it doesn't all rely on one thing. So, if we have a student who finds it difficult to write, or a student who finds it difficult to act, or speak, that they have other opportunities to shine. Okay, so, that makes it inclusive.

And that there's a variety of mediums that at least one task within that involves student choice and that can be teacher-led student choice. So, here's a few things for you to choose from, or choose something and run it by me before we move ahead. So, there is that idea that we're giving lots of options and it's really open so that lots and lots of students can access it.

The other definition I'd like to clarify too, is the difference between differentiation and adjustment. So, we all attempt, and I'm saying attempt because I've done a state-wide staffroom on differentiation before and everybody knows it's a really difficult and challenging way to teach, but it's also a very exciting and responsive and individual way to teach for our students.

But to differentiate is that idea of forward planning and programming where you consider the students in your class, the particular ones, their abilities, their learning styles, their interests and their needs, and you try and give a variety of tasks or, a variety of support to different people in the class based on based on those things, as opposed to an adjustment, which is measures or actions taken in relation to students with a disability to help them access syllabus outcomes and content on the same basis of their peers. So, it’s not a dumbing down. It's really a bit more of a scaffolding up, or an adjustment to, so that they are not advantaged, but they are not disadvantaged and that's a really important definition, to understand the difference between the 2.

I just, I'm just going to spend another minute just sort of clarifying that, and you can go to – and Jacqui will put some links in the chat – there is lots of information about the difference here and what you can do, and how you can adjust assessment tasks for students. So, you think about you’re not adjusting the curriculum, but you're giving the same curriculum, but with adjustments. We make them inclusive, and you're just ensuring that students with disabilities have the same access to the same content and the same outcomes as everybody else.

Alright. And oh, this one, I wanted to just point out, too, that the adjustments have to be reasonable, and again, this, you can find lots of information on reasonable adjustments too. I’ll just give you a moment to scan that page.

And the last thing I'm going to talk about here, is this concept of universal design, and I'm sure a lot of you have seen this little comic before, it's lovely. And I just wanted to point out that you would have students in your, perhaps in your class, or in your group or in your school who fall into any of these categories, perhaps a permanent disability or a temporary disability or a situational disability.

And so, the concept of universal design is that you design things so that it addresses all of them. For example, there might be something like, if you're showing, if you have a text and you have a student in your class who needs Braille or oral reading of the text, that you may, which would be a permanent disability.

A temporary one may be a student who's had operation on their eyes and they're wearing patches and so they might need the speaking of the text for a week or a period of time.

Or there could be, this is not a very good example of a situational disability, but someone's carrying something and their hat, or their scarf or whatever falls down over their eyes and they can't see, and that's sort of a situational. Probably, a better one might be designing a doorknob so that it can be opened with someone with one hand, they can use your elbow and that's a person with a broken arm or a person who's carrying lots of things. So, if, and that's a situational disability. So, if you design for all, then it works for everyone. It's quite interesting that concept.

Okay, so, now we have all the definitions sort of in our mind and a bit of an idea. Then I'd like to start to talk about how you might plan your inclusive multimodal presentation task. And here I did a lot of reflecting about what I do, and what I did in my schools to get to this point, and I came up with this sort of list of things that I consider.

So, I want to do a multimodal, I want to have a multimodal presentation in a particular unit or module that I'm teaching, and I need to think about these things.

So, first of all, what technology have my students got access to? What ability do they have in using this technology? Have I backward mapped some of these things into the junior years? If I haven't, what support can I give them to access a particular piece of technology? And I'll talk about these in turn in more detail as we move through. How I consider my assessment program, how is where I'm doing this multimodal assessment? How does it fit across all of the course that I have? Why have I chosen to put it there? What outcomes have I allocated to it? Have I thought carefully about that overall, in my assessment program? Do my outcome and content points, are they aligned to the purpose of the multimodal tasks and am I reflecting those in the marking criteria?

Then thinking about the module, am I placing this multimodal task in the right module? Does it align well with Texts and Human Experiences? Does it align well, does it align better with Module A?

Is my purpose clear? It needs to, the intent of the purpose of the multimodal has to be clear for teachers, especially if you have multiple teachers on a particular year group or course, and they all have to mark it, they all have to disseminate the information, they’d all have to do the teaching learning activities within that module. And are the student instructions clear, the task outline clear?

Have I decided on the audience in the context of the multimodal? And there's a whole lot of research about looking at real world scenarios rather than an essay on legs to give students a real audience and real contexts so that you're preparing them and the spirit of the syllabus definitely supports this. We want to support students’ creativity. And Louise Ward talks always when she gets questions about multimodal, she's saying, “Now the spirit of the syllabus is to allow them some choice, some creativity and a real-world situation so they’re building those skills to take with them.”

And then also thinking about, how inclusive is this? And these aren't necessarily in an order, you may jump around, but they're all things that you have to think about. Are there multiple entry points? Can every student access this assessment? What will I need to do if I have to do an adjustment? Or how will I need to differentiate, if I need to differentiate for some of the students in my class?

Now, the first one talking about the first one for a moment, this is a real issue and especially an issue for people that are in the country and or other schools where they don't have internet access readily available, and so, some of the suggestions that I might put forward is to consider some time in class. If you don't have a skill and you want to use a particular platform, then to perhaps invite another teacher and do some team teaching so that that teacher's in there.

You might be able to put students in support teams and I certainly have done this numerous times when there's been a filming aspect, because having a camera sitting on a static desk and then trying to speak doesn't allow them the full range of their engagement, because they're worried about the angle. Whereas someone else holds the camera for them, someone else zooms, moves it, then that gives them a lot more flexibility.

Another school I was at purchased some equipment in the library, quite a few KLAs, pooled some resources, and the students were able to borrow it. And in fact, when I was in Coonabarabran I liaised with the central schools and we bought a greenscreen and a large screen. So, actually when we presented the students’ films that was from our film club, and Extension 2, we could present them on full screens, in an outside cinema, under an alcove it was beautiful. So, a real live audience.

[Allow access to] Quiet spaces to film or record, some students don't do this. The first time I marked a multimodal presentation recorded, students were doing it in their bedroom. It made me feel pretty uncomfortable about being inside their room. You could develop some samples from previous classes and mark them with your class using the marking criteria so they can see and of course the backward skill development is really important.

Thinking about your assessment program, where does it sit in your program? If you're offering a variety in the senior years of assessment, experiences and outcomes, 3 things that I like to consider, the skill development and maturity of conceptual understanding. If I'm posing a multimodal that requires like a Pecha Kucha, for example, to my advanced class, it's not probably something I would do as my first task, because, you know, you never know they might be up to it, but they might not be up to it.

So, thinking about that, which module suits it? Is Texts and human experience the best because you want to do a representation task? Or does it sit just as well somewhere else? And of course, the inevitable is the whole idea of your school and its timetable and potential clashes and time constraints with things going on. You don't want them to be stressing, doing their Advanced tasks if they've got their Extension 2 task due in in the next week. So, thinking about those nuts and bolts as well.

And then starting to select your outcomes and content points. So, what I did here is, I apologize for all the Standard in English studies, but I just did one course, and I went through the Advanced outcomes and content points across the syllabus, and I've identified where I see the outcomes that really hone-in on looking at a multimodal text or deal with the teaching and learning of a multimodal text.

And so, I've come up with this list: outcome one, 2, 3, 4 and 7. What I'm going to do now is to dive into each of these and talk about them a little bit and why I think that they're important.

On the first couple, because I had some space, I put some coding, I put some English textual concepts and the learning processes, just because I'll be referring to that information when I talk about the actual task, I'm going to show you.

So, here, responding and composing one and 2 for outcome one looks at that creative, informed, sustained interpretation and that close analysis of text and I think that's important in terms of their creativity, and I'm talking here about both critiquing, or analysing a multimodal text, as well as composing a multimodal text and that they compose texts that integrate different modes, media and forms and assess the impact of this combination on meaning and response. So, here they're referring to what meaning they're trying to put across, and the response is the acknowledgment of the audience as well, within that. And here I've put in red the idea of code and convention, representation, engaging critically, experimenting, and reflecting.

Outcome 2 – I'll go a little bit quicker so that I get to the task. I'm just trying to keep my eye on the time. I knew I would do this; I would go a little bit too slow.


Having a look at sophisticated texts, composing complex and sophisticated texts in different modes, media, and forms. That's quite an explicit outcome content point there, to show that there had to be depth to any aspect that they compose. Evaluate effects of using different textual conventions, modes, and media in sophisticated and challenging texts. So, there is some really good keywords there about making sure that the students are extending themselves and that they're really understanding how the complexity of multimodal texts work and how to put them together, and I'll do a lot more talking about that in a minute.

This one is looking at mode, medium and form shape and inform responses to text. Looking again, coding conventions coming up and engaging critically here and looking at how multimodals work. Use appropriate and effective form content, style and tone for different purposes and audiences and evaluate their effectiveness in real and imagined contexts. So, here my point I made before about making the purpose and the audience clear and giving them a real context to work within and then to compose their text, and I'm going to again keep reiterating here “form”, because I think when we’re working with multimodal text, we don't deal enough with helping students to understand the form of the multimodal, we sort of assume that they can do it.

And Outcome 4 looks at literary devices in creating new texts because again, we want them to be able to show imagery, to show their deep understanding, their conceptual understanding. Perhaps, write their speech that they're presenting within their multimodal with conceptual images behind them, that have a thread that runs through, so, we want that deep understanding and experience of that.

Again, we go to form, modes and media, deliberate effects in sustained compositions. So, we're looking for deliberate effects, again, focusing in on the form. And to experiment, here we're going to the last one, and justify the textual conventions, media, and technologies in adapting and recreating text for audiences and contexts. I think I'm making my point here.


So, I don't need to read through number 7. But again, we've got this idea here that there’s – except that I will highlight the last one on this page, this idea of different ways in which form and personal style, language, and content, engage and position the audience.

So, my argument that I hope I've tried to give to you over this last 5 minutes by looking closely at these content points, is that the syllabus supports presentation. That audience for a particular purpose in a context, presenting it, getting the feel, you know, that presentation is there and that awareness of audience and also the awareness of form. Okay, and I'll hopefully tie this all together when I talk about the marking criteria for the task.

Okay, so let's have a look. I did plan to look at more than one task, but I quickly realized that we would run out of time. So, I'm going to have I'm going to have a look at this at a particular task for Advanced because they’re the outcomes that we've already had look at.

So, first of all, just to put you in context, I’ve chosen the common module, Texts and Human Experiences. I'm thinking about how you have already engaged personally with the module statement within that. They've engaged personally with the English textual concepts of representation, code and convention and style, but if you teach through the English textual concepts, you've already done others. So, you'll be building on their understanding of ones that they've done in previous modules as well that have come up.

You’re demonstrating, applying their knowledge, skills, and understandings of that module statement because you've looked at it deeply and you've done a variety of texts. Engaged personally with their texts and their related texts, and then perhaps experimented with modes and media forms and features. Hopefully looked at some, maybe had a go at doing some and I'm going to give you some formative assessment ideas to build to this assessment task after.

And reflect, looking at the learning process of reflecting on their skills, of their set texts within the module. They need to know their set texts really well and perhaps they’ve already practiced responding to short answer questions on a variety of texts about Texts and Human Experiences. So, that's kind of the context in which then, those teaching and learning have led to this task.

Okay, so this task itself is a real-world audience. I'm going to propose, a clear purpose and a particular context. I'm advocating here, I've chosen a particular platform and software, which is Adobe Spark. Now, Jackie will pop in the chat that all DoE students have access to Adobe Spark, a free version of that, and it is a widely used website platform for lots and lots of companies.

And in fact, when I did this with my English Studies class, because I did a different task where we used Adobe Spark, several of them, their parents used it to advertise their businesses and so, the students were actually quite familiar with how Adobe Spark worked. So, their task is to develop a website using Adobe Spark, of a presentation experience of probably 10 or 15 minutes, and this will make sense to what that means in a moment.

The purpose of the website is to present your deep understanding and evaluation of the human experiences in your set text and a related text of your own choosing, and you need to include your understanding of why these texts are valued as exemplars representing human experiences.

Now, that could be an essay, really, couldn't it? Or an extended response. Not an essay but an extended response. But here we're giving them an audience for this presentation, so, the audience are Year 10 students and they're pretty highly motivated, interested in the Advanced course. So, what we're asking them to do is within this particular website, is to select 2 or 3 human experiences explored in your texts and present your analysis of the specific language forms, features and structures used to represent them, and to use the form of the website and the capabilities of the program for the intended purpose, audience and context.

Okay. So, I'll just give you a minute if you want to reread any of that.

So, what Adobe Spark allows you to do, if you're not familiar, is that it's a scrolling function, which is a presentation for the user, and there's text visuals, you can embed links, audio, and film. And the user makes it interactive and it's then a presentation by its nature and you scroll through at a pace. So, if we're thinking about 10 or 15 minutes, an average scrolling, and if they're going to embed a short film that they've made or a little speech that they've made, or some sort of other little link to it, a YouTube clip that means something, or they want to play a snippet of their related text, maybe it's a film and they want to play a little bit of the trailer. Then that needs to be only a minute or 2 so that the experience is approximately 10 to 15 minutes and that sort of gives them a gauge because they always ask, “How long does it have to be?” And so, that gives them a little bit of a thing, but of course, the length of time is always up to the user.

Yeah, I've just seen Kylie's question about posting the chat, posting it in, and what we’re proposing to do is to write this task up as an assessment task and then to put it in the channel for you. Okay? So, that's the answer to that because I have more clearly, I have the marking criteria as well. Okay.

So, here then, I'm going to select these outcomes and I'm going to just tell you why I've chosen them, because these will guide the teaching and learning activities and they will also guide the success criteria that the students will get, because when you hand this out, you would give them that success criteria, which then becomes the marking criteria. So they know exactly what they have to do, what's valued, how the form of an Adobe Spark works, and what you're looking for, and what I mean, by marking “looking for”, what the audience is looking for, because it is the same. I want audience engagement well, that's what we’re asking to do, to be able to use the form well and to engage the audience. So, it works that way.

So, here I've chosen outcome 1, 3 and 7, and I've actually picked out a couple of content points that are guiding my marking criteria. So, I'll just let you read those 2.

So, you may have noticed the first one is sort of gearing to the multimodal text. The second one is gearing towards the content within that about the human experience and then if we have a look at the next 3, which all come from Outcome 7, I'll give you a moment to have a look at those.

And here, what I'm pointing out [is] how beautifully this particular task sits because it is looking at the human experience again, so, that first outcome, understanding and apply in number 7 is looking at the forms and the features and the structure of the texts, and how they represent those universal themes of the human experience. So, moving from content to the technical side of the multimodal task, how am I going to do that? How am I going to represent that? Looking at the technological elements, the aesthetic, to show those, and you get that personal and public worlds. And remember the tasks, ask them to also convey to the Year 10 students why these texts are valued, why they're good, so, thinking about value and then this idea of experimenting with their compositions, in terms of their own style, their own understanding of the form, to engage and position the audience.

Alright so, they're such thoughtful content points that give us so much information when we're trying to teach our students about how to look at other multimodal texts. Okay. So, if you think about – now this is a list here that I've just put before I talk about the marking criteria, – this is just a list here of things that you could do in a formative assessment way to build up to this assessment task, because it's not something they could do straight away.

So, if you think about there may be some students in your class that need some support to choose an appropriate related text. Okay, because they often, you know, Finding Nemo might not cut it for this particular task. So, have a think about how you might support students to do that.

Some way of experimenting with the use of Adobe Spark, and what I did was, I actually made an Adobe Spark right in front of them and it only took about 2 or 3 minutes. I just made one on an idea and I actually did it on just an idea from 1984. I just picked an idea, and I started putting it together, and they just watched me construct this task, this little Adobe Spark. So, and then I let them have a little play and I gave them a little checklist for each peer, and each peer looked at it and said, “Oh no, that font looks terrible”, and “that colour doesn’t, that clashes.”

And so, started to have these amazing conversations about what made the Adobe Spark look good and what didn't and if you could put some timing on to how fast a person could scroll, and all kinds of discussions about what they could do and how they could make it better and that was really, really rich.

Engaging critically with the module statement and the set so, you might make sure that you've already done some analysis paragraphs. You may have done a Socratic circle where the students have had an opportunity to sit in a group, and be critiqued about some of their views, and have an inner circle, an outer circle, and some discussion about who was talking. Get them, allow them to practice that rule in a low-stakes situation.

You could do, engage critically with a variety of texts in class, so, some group work, some analysis stations, have some texts around the room. I've done this very often with students and they really like it. They move around the room, and they sit in little groups, and they analyse the texts, and then they leave their work there and the next person comes along and adds to it or reads what they've got. And it just pops ideas into their mind that they hadn't thought of. And even students who are perceived to be weaker students can come in from a different perspective and see something from a very different point of view and can add a richness to a student who only sees things in one way. So, they’re really great.

There’s the idea of a gallery walk or a learning wall that you may have already done. You may have done lots of thinking routines, some paragraph analysis. You could, Jacquie and I were talking about using 6 learning hats and doing it as an oral experience to sort of allow them to practice that speaking and thinking things through. Jacquie is popping some links in the chat to Gallery Walk and other bits and pieces.

And then of course you would allow them opportunities to experiment with their own composition, expressing their personal experiences and the experiences of others in their world. So, a writing journal, you may have been using in texts and there might be some low-stakes oral presentations, one thing I did with my English studies –I had all boys – was to get them to take their mobile phone and interview an older member of their family about a human experience that they'd been through and then we played them and talked about them and it was just a nice low-stakes. We made the questions up together so that it was inclusive and they, they all felt, and they were really proud when they came up with some other questions, I think some of the relatives prompted them a little bit, but there was some beautiful formative assessment going on there.

And then that would build to their ability to then be able to embed perhaps an oral piece or embed a little filming. They may decide to film that little interview and pop it into their Adobe Spark, which is very easy to do. And then the user in the presentation plays it when they're ready in the flow of the Adobe Spark, which I'll talk about in a minute in the marking criteria. Conscious of the time.

Okay. So, here we go.

Thinking about marking the task because it's all well and good to make a great task, but you really need to have that marking criteria all sorted before you start so that you can give the students the success criteria, so they know what's going on and even a practice at marking one, which I always try and do before we start. So, thinking about the marking criteria, [it] needs to be aligned to the outcomes and we've already decided on those, and I've even gone to the point where I've picked out the particular content points that I want to align to.

It needs to be aligned to, of course, an understanding of the module statement. It needs to be aligned to the purpose of the task and the audience to inform and entertain and if you are using the English textual concepts, which is not a NESA thing, it's a department, our team’s push and because we see the value and lots of people do, of using English textual concepts. The idea of representation, code and convention and style, and they're the ones that have come up the most for me. So, if you keep those in mind when you're making your marking criteria.

I'm going to advocate that when I do a marking criteria for a multimodal, I do 3 aspects. I mark 3 aspects, and the decision has to be made about what weighting each of these get. It is so important, I’ve seen some people allocate 3 marks here, 2 marks here, 1 mark here, and then not be happy with the result, the mark, because it adds up to be a C and it's really better than a C, because they've had to nit-pick. I'm not advocating that at all.

What I'm advocating is that you need to look at the multimodal presentation through the lens of these 3 aspects so that you are really teaching students how a multimodal presentation is composed and put together and how it works.

So, the first area – and again, these aren't in any order – is one we're very familiar with, and that's looking at the content, the content of their multimodal presentation. That's where they demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understandings of the analysis of the text and how they convey meaning in line with the module statement, which in this case is Texts and Human Experiences.

Now, in this task, when I did it, I advocated 50/50 to because I felt that for inclusive reasons, the students had chosen the related text themselves, so therefore they were choosing something that they liked, and I felt that it just added a zest to their composition if they were yes, doing a set text which they enjoyed clearly or maybe not. But they also had this sort of added zest because they were dealing with something that they had chosen themselves, and so I did advocate kind of a 50/50 there.

Then the other aspect of the marking criteria we would talk about the delivery of that presentation, and I'll go into the nuance of that for this one, in a moment but I've also shown you how you can tweak it for other presentations. So that delivery, and this is where the students demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and understandings about how a presentation is delivered, and what that looks like.

And an example of that I'm demonstrating right now, I don't know if you can see me in a little box in the corner, but I'm not staring off into the distance, I'm not speaking in a monotone, I'm not holding my hands still because I'm a hand user. I'm natural, I'm delivering to my audience with the sincerity in my voice and the intonation and the speed and trying to keep an eye on the time and all of those things in a personal way, because that suits this context, and this is a multimodal presentation.

And then the last one, which you may not have thought about as much, is that aspect of the technical, and this is where the students demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and understandings of the form and how it is composed for a purpose and audience. And I've found in my experience, my 30 something years’ experience that form questions are the most difficult for students.

So, it's sort of become my mission a long time ago to always consider both my teaching and learning activities, and my assessment to support students, to really understand the form and how the form works.

So, I'll give you a minute to digest all of that.

So, thinking about the one we're most familiar with first, alright. So, you can see that I'm advocating an approach that is not 3 dot points like the HSC, because the HSC is a formative, at the end, impression marked to that criteria, this is very, very different to that, this is a learning experience, a feedback opportunity for students and I’m advocating that while you're giving this to them as a success criteria to show them what you're looking for, what needs to be there, and then you're also giving feedback across all of those areas as well.

So, you can see I've got skilful, effective, sound, satisfactory or needs improvement. Now, in the technical one I'm going to do in a minute and the delivery one, that “needs improvement” may become, “needs improvement” or “N.A”, may not be applicable.

Okay. So, you've got to kind of play with it and tweak it, but these are familiar to us, so you want them to show their understanding of the main text, use good examples, show their understanding and analysis of the related text, use great examples. You want them to show why they're both valued, in however way they do that in their analysis and you want them to demonstrate in their writing, and their speaking in the multimodal presentation their control of their own language forms and pictures and structures. That they understand if they're writing a little analysis, what that has to look like.

Okay. So, I think that's pretty straightforward for most people. Yes, Jacquie.


[Audio echoing]

So, Julie’s asked, “do you mean the form of the text, or the form of the multimodal task?” And I just replied saying that it’s a reflection of both. If they can apply their understanding in their own composition, they’re more likely to be able to analyse texts as well.

Speaker 1

Yes, yes. And there's no way you would ask them to do a multimodal text if you haven't dealt with multimodal texts before. It's a bit like asking a toddler to read a book and they can't read. Very difficult. They bump and bumble along and talk about the pictures, but they won't be able to read the words and that's how I likened it to feeling helpless. So, it'll make more sense in a moment when I show you the next 2.

Now again, these would all be together on one page, but of course, because of the nature of a PowerPoint, I had to split them over 3 screens. So, if we look at the next one, here we're looking at the idea of delivery. And the delivery I put into 3 sort of aspects.

So, you can think about a student speaking, or on film or an interview situation, or a group. I've often done a group task like where you present a book review, a “book nook”, like that used to be on the ABC where 3 people are talking and they interview, and they talk about books. So, that's why I've got engagement with other participants, because you don't want them just be looking at the camera and not actually turn to the group member.

So here, I'm talking in delivery about audience engagement, use of voice, and that idea of the natural body movement, the natural gestures and how that might work. Now if you think about adjustment for disability, you can deal with these, for example, in Adobe Connect if they're going to embed some oral, they can write the oral, but if they're unable to speak for selective mutism, or a stutter, or they find they just clamp up, then that perhaps can be spoken by someone else, but the speaking is embedded. Well, then you would have to think about, they're still in charge of the clarity and volume and variation in tone, they’re still in charge of it because they're asking someone else to speak it for them, and so, they could ask them to do it again or to think about, that they’re understanding how the presentation works. But that's for a disability adjustment.

I'm thinking the idea of eye contact with the audience and that would be the camera if it's filmed, engagement with the others I've talked about, those natural body gestures, the idea of posture and the idea of how they're presented. So, making a speech in your bedroom, hunched over a doona with your singlet top on is not dealing with natural body movement well. [Laughs] And you're laughing I'm sure, but I've had one of those, in a filmed speech multimodal.

So, that idea of looking, and again they can be adjusted to suit whatever you want. In the task that I'm proposing, the Adobe Spark, you would, if they embedded some video then you would be dealing with the audience engagement in terms of eye contact, the use of voice in anything that they put in, or if they showed themselves in some way, those body gestures.

But again, only the blue may apply so, you would adjust that to suit.

[Use of voice: Clarity and volume, variation in tone.]

Now that third aspect.

Yeah, Rebecca, I can see your question about is it necessary for a person to be seen? No, no, in this case, in an Adobe Connect, it can be just the voice. It can just be. I had a boy, he wrote a short creative about a human experience and he spoke, and it had some poetry in it and he spoke it and he embedded that and so, when you got to that part, you played that and then he had linked it for organizational flow, back into the Adobe spark.

So, that, that's true. But I will talk a little bit more about that because that comes up as a question. So, I'll come back.

And the last one that I'm going to advocate here is again, this can be adjusted to suit your particular task, but it's really honing-in here on Outcome 7, the form, the features and the structures of mode and media.

So, the 3 areas that you need to consider when you are looking at a multimodal text and I'm thinking of things like “the storm”. I'm sure people can put in the chat, any others, a few of the others that they know, I've got a bit of a blank because I'm talking too much. They have technical aspects, they have organizational aspects, and they have audience engagement aspects. So, to critique a multimodal along these 3 lines, they are really understanding how they work together and, to then show them that this is what you're looking for.

So, in technical aspects here, remember one of the criteria was to try and use, the task outline was to try and use all of the capabilities of the program, the software. So, they have to think about, if they're not going to embed their own voice, are they going to embed a short little bit from somebody else's voice? Are they – and that adds – are they going to show a little bit of their related text, a grab from that? etc.

So, that idea of embedding video or audio or links into their piece, the “organizational” is really important because that’s that flow of information of each text, the balance of information between the text, how they flow in the task from one text to another, and the interactivity path is important, and the editing. You just don’t want spelling mistakes and grammar errors within an Adobe Spark, within a website.

And then, the whole idea of audience engagement of the form I'm talking about here, I'm not talking about audience engagement of the person, I'm talking about of the form. Does the whole piece hold together to engage that target audience? Which we recall is Year 10, a motivated Year 10, but Year 10. And does it convey the purpose? Does it entertain them as well as inform them? Is it, and I don't mean entertaining about rolling around laughter, I mean entertaining in that they don't want to just, chew their leg off because they have to read it.

So, it has to work, to go through. Now, I'm really getting close to time here.

So, what I'm going to advocate here, and I'll do this quite quickly because this will be an ongoing thing, is we got together as a team and we made a big list of as many multimodal types or tools that we could think of, not thinking about the presentation part yet, just the list of all the multimodal types that you might be able to do and then we started to think about multimodal presentations. Are these a presentation? Are they inclusive? And what aspects need to be tweaked or considered or added to, in order to make these a multimodal presentation that is inclusive for all students in the class. And I'm going to, when I tidy up this piece, I'll pop it into the message board and send out an alert. So, because I'd be really interested for you to add, and get some input from any of you.

So, we've made a start and I'll just show you 2 examples of the start that we've made. I've got the Adobe Spark there, it's inclusive and I've said why, and I've already said these things, it's a multimodal, it's a presentation, but there are potential issues with it and that would be the ones that I tried to cover in the teaching learning activities. That it does need to be taught, time has to be given to play and to enjoy the creativity of it.

But again, we have easy access. Whiteboard animator is another one, it's inclusive, it's multimodal and a presentation because it has visuals and a voiceover, and the images are produced by the students and conceptual highlighting deep knowledge. One of the potential issues for your students might be that it's conceptual, so it may not be appropriate for English Studies. Unlike the Adobe Spark, which can kind of be modified for everyone. My English studies class did a fabulous one on role models in sport and they went off and interviewed students in Year 7 about sportspeople that they really liked that were just fabulous.

And again, I've got the same question, I'll talk about that in a moment, about does it have to have voice. Then we talked about the Pecha Kucha, the podcasts and the picture book and I'll just highlight, I'll just talk about the podcast for a moment because it's not technically a multimodal because it’s just oral.

So, people saying to me, “Do you have to have voice?” Well, here's a popular one, a podcast which just has voice. So, you might need to think about here, how can you add another aspect or another element to the podcast, and one of the things we were talking about was that often podcasts have a grab on television which advertises them or on the internet, which has the person telling a little bit about themselves and why you should listen to their podcast. So, that might be something, and that would show their thesis statement, that would give an introduction to their podcast, and then that makes that one a multimodal, as opposed to just a presentation, so you can go back and forth.

I had a big discussion with another person about a picture book because technically a picture book is multimodal. In fact, picture books people think are really easy, but they're really difficult to write for the illustrations and the text to speak to each other just right for them to be engaging for an audience. But if you don't present them to an audience, then it's not a presentation. So, we talked about perhaps having, inviting, I mean I used to do it because my high school was next to my primary school so we could take our picture books down to the primary school and allow the students to read their picture book to classes, and we looked at the audience engagement and who was asking questions because primary school children are really strong critics if they don't like something.

And so, there's some examples and, we've got others, and I'll pop that in and alert you because I’d be really interested to hear what you think. And I think it’d be quite a valuable resource from people thinking about the considerations of multimodal presentations.

Okay, so, we did have a few questions that came through in the enrolment survey So, one of them was, “What defines a presentation?” I think I've covered that pretty well. “Can a student present a feature article?” I would advocate that a feature article is really a type of discursive text and can be very entertaining if presented. And so, I think if you present it like a TED talk, that might be a way of presenting a feature article because most TED talks follow the pattern of a feature article, they pose an issue, or problem or an idea, they give the pros and cons and they start to give their argument and then they come back to that beginning again.

Yes, I see the vlog or the blog, they were other ones that we had on our list.

Now, the question that's come through about 10 times, “Does voice need to be a component of the multimodal?” Now, if you go and look through the syllabus or even look at some of the outcomes and content points that I picked out, the idea of a presentation in front of an audience where you are speaking, or your voice is in the spirit of the syllabus and Louise Ward talks about this all the time. Why wouldn't you give your students an opportunity to present, with their own voice, or with their own face because they are going to have to do that in real life.

And what about us? I mean, I had a teacher friend of mine who retired halfway through last year because she just could not present on the laptop all the time, to her classes. She was bright in person, but she just couldn't get that multimodal thing going and I think that you are just doing them a disservice if you don't allow them an opportunity to present with their voice in some way.

So, does it have to be there, in terms of them standing in front of you? No, they can be filmed, they can be recorded, the recording can be supported by visuals, like in a TED talk, the podcast can be supported, can be fixed, or over and over again, you get kids editing their work. They film it or record in sections and then they put it together, could do that really easily on their phones or on iPads or again, we talk about that access to technology issue that we talked about right at the very beginning, providing them with some access.

Suggestions for distance ed. I would suggest that because we can upload things, we can record, we can send thumb drives, that multimodal presentations are a really cool way for distance ed. But I might be wrong in that context, but that would be my suggestion.

And then there was some a question about giving some advice on scaffolds for extended responses and discursive, and I would send you at this point possibly to our HSC hub, where we have lots of scaffolds and walking through how to write personal responses, and how to write discursive responses. You go through the Craft of Writing resources that are there and yeah, they’re the main questions that came through.

[End of transcript]

This session will support teachers to understand ways to develop an inclusive multimodal assessment for Stage 6. The English curriculum team will highlight how to utilise course outcomes, plan the task so it aligns to the purpose of the task and ways to structure and design clear marking criteria. Examples will focus on Stage 6 Standard and Advanced common module Texts and Human Experiences.


The following structure guides the session:

  • understanding – the purpose and parameters of a multimodal presentation in Stage 6, clarifying the difference between differentiation and adjustment, defining the concepts of inclusivity and universal design
  • applying – exploring ways to design an inclusive multimodal presentation which is aligned to specific outcomes
  • assessing – discussing ways to align marking criteria to syllabus outcomes and the purpose of the task
  • exploring – unpacking two sample assessment tasks that have applied these principles in their design.

Related resources

NSW Department of Education and Training

NSW Department of Education and Training – Technology 4 Learning

  • The Student Filmmaker resource – Module 1 – introduction to screen recording, Module 2 – camera and sound capture techniques, Module 3 – planning for a better film and Module 5 – final edits and publishing)

NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) advice and resources

Australian government

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)


This accredited professional learning is connected to the domains:

  • Professional engagement – Standard 6 – Engage in professional learning
    • 6.2 – engage in professional learning and improve practice.
Return to top of page Back to top