Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

The Best Start Year 7 assessment and feedback is accessible to all secondary teachers.

Best Start Year 7 provides teachers with a snapshot of the key literacy and numeracy skills their students demonstrate on entry to Year 7. It is designed as an assessment for learning to help inform targeted teaching strategies to meet the learning needs of all students. Schools are able to decide how Best Start Year 7 might supplement current transition and literacy and numeracy assessment practices.

Best Start Year 7 is optional for secondary schools to use. Schools may choose to withdraw if their circumstances change, by contacting the Best Start Year 7 team at beststartyr7@det.nsw.edu.au.

The Best Start Year 7 assessment is only available in the first five weeks of Year 7. Schools will continue to have access to feedback from the assessment and may also continue to use other assessment practices to support student learning.

The Best Start Year 7 assessments are only available in the first 5 weeks of Year 7. Students enrolling after week 5 may undertake other forms of assessment as decided by the school.

All schools are able to complete the assessment within the assessment window.

Information to support parent communication will be made available to participating schools in Term 4.

Best Start Year 7 assessment information that will be available in Scout and PLAN2 will travel with the students if they move to another department school.

The Department of Education will provide future information for 2020.

The assessment window for 2019 is 1 February to 8 March.

Assessment

The literacy assessment covers the literacy progression sub-element Understanding Texts – Reading and comprehension. The numeracy assessment covers all elements of the numeracy progression with a focus on Number Sense and Algebra. From 2020, Best Start Year 7 will also assess the writing element of the progression – Creating text, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling sub-elements.

There is no prescribed time for each assessment. Each test is designed to be completed within a usual school period.

Schools are encouraged to have all Year 7 students participate in both the literacy and numeracy assessment. This will provide teachers with a snapshot of a range of literacy and numeracy skills and understandings that each student brings to secondary school.

Yes. Each student will complete the same set of test items and with questions grouped in order of difficulty. The assessment should follow the test administration process which includes the active supervision of students whilst completing the assessment.

The assessments are not adaptive like NAPLAN Online. They target key literacy and numeracy skills fundamental to success in secondary school.

No calculator is needed for the numeracy assessment. It is recommended that students have access to paper and pen or pencil for working out their answers.

There is no option currently available to print the assessment. Best Start Year 7 is an online assessment to allow for a quick turn-around of results. This will provide teachers with quicker access to information about students to help plan their teaching as early as possible.

Schools are able to decide what other assessments they may use to monitor the growth and development of students. Assessment feedback can be accessed in Scout and links from the Best Start Year 7 assessment will be made to the learning progressions. Schools may choose to use PLAN2 to access assessment information and to record further progress by students.

The Best Start Year 7 assessment is completed only once by students within the assessment window. It is designed to help secondary teachers identify students that may require additional support. Schools are able to decide what other assessments they may use to monitor the growth and development of students. Schools may also choose to use PLAN2 to record student literacy and numeracy growth.

Best Start Year 7 is a diagnostic tool designed to identify students that will require additional support with key literacy and numeracy skills.

Assessment feedback

Feedback from the assessment will be available to the school within a week of completion of the assessment.

Feedback from the assessment will be available through Scout and additionally through PLAN2.

Results from the Best Start Year 7 assessments are only available to individual schools that complete the assessment. They are not published for comparison of schools.

Sample reports and how to access feedback from the assessment will be provided during the professional learning available in Term 4.

The feedback will allow teachers to identify what students can do and which students may require further support. Teachers are then able to use the feedback from the assessment to design and plan targeted teaching strategies to support student learning.

Feedback from the assessment is designed for secondary teachers to analyse individual student needs and target their teaching accordingly. Schools may choose to use the information from the assessment to facilitate discussions with parents.

Technical

The assessment is accessed via a URL link. There is no need to download any additional assessment software. Technology requirements are available on the Best Start Year 7 resources webpage.

Students may use their own devices, though devices must meet the Best Start Year 7 assessment technology requirements. Technical requirements are available on the Best Start Year 7 resources webpage.

Students are able to complete the test at a later stage as long as they have their log in details and have not yet submitted their response.

The excel reports available after the assessment may be used by schools to upload into Sentral and other third-party platforms.

Accessibility

Test items cover content from Stages 2, 3 and 4 and students may receive the same level of support during the assessment that they would normally receive in the classroom. Individual schools are able to determine the suitability of the assessment for their students.

Professional Learning

A range of professional learning will be available to schools who choose to use Best Start Year 7 including face-to-face and e-learning courses Details for professional learning can be found on the literacy and numeracy professional learning website.

Details for professional learning can be found on the literacy and numeracy professional learning website.

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