The 8 themes of what works best with the Assessment theme highlighted. The 8 themes of what works best with the Assessment theme highlighted.

High quality student assessment helps us know that learning is taking place. Assessment is most effective when it is an integral part of teaching and learning programs.

Literacy assessments are available for students K–6. These assessments are aligned with the National Literacy Learning Progression and NSW syllabus outcomes. Feedback is available in PLAN2 and can be used to create Areas of focus for monitoring of student reading development.

The Phonological awareness diagnostic assessment is a short on-demand assessment that tells teachers how students are progressing in phonological awareness.

Phonological awareness diagnostic assessment

Narrator:

The Phonological awareness diagnostic assessment is a short assessment that tells teachers how students are progressing in phonological awareness.

The short assessment, available to all NSW public Schools, allows primary and secondary teachers to individually assess and clarify a students’ skill level for Phonological awareness. It will help teachers to diagnose how students are progressing, determine the focus for explicit teaching and learning, and monitor learning progress.

Phonological awareness is a critical skill for all students’ literacy development and a predictor of later reading and spelling success.

Teachers will be able to use the assessment flexibly to suit the needs of individual students by choosing which subskills they will assess.

The assessment consists of five subskills beginning with word, syllable, onset and rime awareness, moving to the more complex subskills of basic and advanced phonemic awareness.

The assessment will support teachers to target all areas of phonological awareness.

The assessment can be used for any student from Kindergarten onwards.

Listen to this kindergarten teacher talk about how she would use the diagnostic assessment.

Kindergarten teacher:

I have completed some explicit teaching around segmenting and blending syllables.

I’m unsure about the learning of one of my students in this subskill.

I will use the diagnostic assessment to assess their learning in syllable awareness to determine what explicit teaching and practise is required.

Narrator:

A Year 4 teacher is concerned about one of their students who is experiencing difficulties in reading.

Year 4 teacher:

I have a student who demonstrates strong oral language comprehension.

However, when they are reading a book to me they struggle to decode the words on the page and their reading is very slow.

I know a deficit in phonological awareness, particularly phonemic awareness, could be the reason for this.

I will use the assessment to diagnose if this could be the possible cause for their word reading difficulties.

Narrator:

Feedback is provided which informs teachers about next steps in learning and how they can plan additional support that students may need.

Teachers will be able to access the assessment tool via the ALAN portal.

For more information visit the Literacy and Numeracy website.

[End of transcript]


The Phonics diagnostic assessment is an on-demand assessment for all students that can support teachers in knowing how students are progressing in phonics.

About the Phonics diagnostic assessment

Narrator:

The Phonics diagnostic assessment is an online, on-demand diagnostic tool that informs teachers of student progress in phonics. The tool assesses how students blend sounds together to read words.

The assessment tool is available to all NSW public schools and is different from the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, as this assessment can be used as needed by teachers, year round, to assess the phonic knowledge and skills of any student; from kindergarten onwards. It can also be used to re-assess students at any time.

We know that phonic knowledge and skills are essential for learning to read and write.

The assessment tool supports teachers to plan for future teaching and learning, by helping them to: diagnose how students are progressing in phonics, determine areas for future explicit teaching, and monitor student learning progress over time.

Teachers will be able to use the assessment flexibly to suit the needs of individual students, by choosing which phonic knowledge skill set and word list to use when assessing a student.

The assessment is organised into four phonic knowledge skill sets.

These are sequenced and start with beginning phonics skills and move to more complex skills. To support ongoing assessment and monitoring of student progress, each set has two lists of words to choose from, a List A and a List B.

Listen to this teacher share their experience using the Phonics diagnostic assessment.

Teacher:

After an initial assessment I completed earlier in the term, followed by explicit teaching after analysing my students results, I was unsure about the learning progress of one student. So I decided to use the Phonics diagnostic assessment to inform me of their progress.

I found using the assessment quite easy. I had initially used List A in the second word set, Consonant digraphs and one syllable words, to assess the student and so decided to use List B of the same word set to inform me of their progress. The assessment didn’t take long at all and the student enjoyed having the opportunity to demonstrate their new learning.

The student’s responses and analysis of assessment feedback showed me that student’s phonic knowledge had improved as they could blend and read words containing consonant digraphs.

The assessment also identified the next area to focus future teaching and learning on; reading CVCC and CCVC words with consonant blends.

Narrator:

Teachers can access the assessment tool via the ALAN portal, in the on-demand assessments section.

For more information visit the Literacy and Numeracy website.

[End of transcript]


The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is a short, assessment that tells teachers how Year 1 students are progressing in phonics. This assessment is mandatory for all Year 1 students in NSW schools from 2021.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

Narrator:

The Phonics Screening Check is an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they know and can do when reading. It can support teachers to plan for student’s learning by providing them with information to target their teaching.

The Phonics Screening Check is a short online assessment that individually assesses a student’s phonic knowledge and skills. The check assesses how students blend sounds together to read a word.

Simone Austin:

I was quite surprised with some of the results in the assessment. I had some students who already knew all the individual sounds but in the assessment I found that they couldn’t blend them together.

In the check I observed the way that students were articulating their sounds and that quite often students if they weren’t sure of a sound, they may mumble it, and then which impacted the full reading of the word.

I also noticed that a lot of students were able to self-correct on the word which I was not aware that they were doing in the classroom so that was really great in the check for me to see that and it was also good to see students be able to break up the sounds and then put them back together.

I found the check very easy to administer. It was a lot quicker than I imagined it to be and the students seemed really at ease when doing it.

The check’s really going to impact on my teaching because it’s really given me some insight into certain vowel diagraphs that a lot of my students didn’t know that I thought they had learnt from prior phonics lessons, but unfortunately weren’t able to blend them together during the assessment.

With the information I gathered from the check, I’m now going to take it into my classroom and see if the gaps that I found in the check with the student’s sounds, whether those are the same gaps in their writing.

And some of the things that I saw the students were capable of I can now build on those within my classroom.

[End of transcript]


The Check-in assessment is an online reading and numeracy assessment for students in Years 3–9. The Check-in assessment can supplement existing school practices to identify how students are performing in literacy and numeracy and to help teachers tailor their teaching more specifically to student needs.

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