Assessment practices – consistent teacher judgement

Consistent teacher judgement is a key aspect of professional practice in assessment.

Framing this support

While the processes to support consistent teacher judgement have not changed with curriculum reform, assessment should reflect the key intentions of the new curriculum, with a focus on ensuring every student;

  • learns with understanding
  • builds skills in applying knowledge, and
  • makes excellent ongoing progress.

Collaboration supports the identification and sharing of best practice across classrooms. Effective collaborative practice within your stage or faculty will support successful implementation of the curriculum, including assessment. Consistent teacher judgement is underpinned by discussions about the syllabus and how outcomes can be assessed in ways that best allow all students to demonstrate what they know or can do. This fosters a deeper understanding of the syllabus itself, as well as of expected student achievement in relation to the syllabus.

Schools may consider the phases of curriculum implementation and reflection questions to plan and evaluate quality assessment practices.

Purpose of resource

The Assessment practice – consistent teacher judgement resource provides advice for school leaders and teachers in designing, marking and moderating school-based assessment. Advice includes strategies for developing effective consistent teacher judgement practices to support curriculum implementation.

Target audience

The audience for this resource is school principals, executive teams and teaching staff. Curriculum Advisors and Officers can also use this resource to guide schools with their assessment design, implementation and evaluation practices.

When and how to use

The release of syllabuses provide schools with an opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of existing school-based assessment practices. This resource can be used by schools to support assessment processes to enhance curriculum implementation. Key considerations are highlighted for schools to reflect on their consistent teacher judgement and moderation practices.

Research base

This resource was developed by Curriculum and Reform.

The research base used was NESA’s NSW Curriculum, the department’s What works best in practice and Guide to evidence-based models of collaborative inquiry (PDF 1250 KB)


Email questions, comments and feedback about this resource to using the subject line ‘Consistent teacher judgement for assessment’.

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs

Alignment to School Excellence Framework

The importance of consistent teacher judgement and collaborative practices are key messages in the School Excellence Framework (SEF).

The school has processes in place to support teachers’ consistent, evidence-based judgement and moderation of assessments (SEF Excelling statement - Teaching Domain - Assessment).

Alignment to Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Consistent teacher judgement is also a focus area of professional practice in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, Standard 5.3 – Make consistent and comparable judgements – 5.3.2, 5.3.3, 5.3.4.

Consulted with: Strategic Delivery, Strategic School Improvement and Transformation representatives, Curriculum Secondary Learners, Curriculum Primary Learners and Curriculum and Reform program.

Reviewed by: CPL R/Director and CSL Director

Created/ last updated: March 2023

To be reviewed: December 2023

Key principles

  • Consistent Teacher Judgement improves the reliability of assessment data. It means that pieces of student work of the same quality should be awarded the same mark or grade.
  • Moderation is comparing student work to established standards to support consistent teacher judgements about student learning and achievement. It occurs during discussions in which student work samples are compared to agreed quality criteria and the common grade scale. By participating in moderation, a shared understanding of the range of skills, knowledge and/or understanding students may demonstrate, is developed. This supports consistent teacher judgement.
  • The NESA common grade scale continues to support teachers to make consistent and comparable judgements about student learning. As the new curriculum is enacted, schools can collect school-based work samples to guide decisions around student achievement.
  • Awarding A – E grades remains an on-balance judgement based on a variety of assessment activities and tasks undertaken by students up to that point in time.

Important considerations

When designing assessments, it is important to ensure all teachers share a consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn (syllabus outcomes). This includes how to effectively differentiate tasks to allow all students to demonstrate what they know and can do.

"In order for teachers to draw accurate conclusions about student learning, careful consideration needs to be given to the construction of assessment tasks...

  • The validity of an assessment task refers to the degree to which it accurately measures those things the teacher is attempting to measure.
  • The reliability of an assessment task refers to the extent to which it produces stable and consistent results over time, and with different learners and assessors. (p26, What works best 2020 update)
  • designing assessment tasks collaboratively. This supports teachers to develop a shared understanding of task requirements.
  • developing assessment rubrics or marking criteria through a collaborative process, and with close reference to the syllabus and the standards. By discussing expected levels of achievement and how these could be demonstrated by students, teachers can also provide guidance on the extent to which achievement of success criteria by individual students has been demonstrated.
  • trial draft assessment rubrics or marking criteria before implementing. This may involve considering possible unexpected student responses and how the assessment of student achievement using the draft assessment rubric or marking criteria may be applied.
  • discussing the assessment rubric or marking criteria, prior to implementing the task, to ensure there is a shared understanding of its application by teachers.

When marking school-based assessments:

  • it is important that teachers have a good understanding of the assessment rubric or marking criteria and how to apply this consistently for the variety of responses they mark.
  • if the assessment is undertaken by students in more than one class, a shared understanding of the assessment rubric or marking criteria will ensure reliability of marking by different teachers.

Some activities teachers might consider in their stage or faculty to support consistent teacher judgment and moderation include:

  • discussing student work samples as part of school-wide cycles of collaborative planning and evaluation.
  • building awareness of the cognitive biases’ teachers may hold (positive or negative) when approaching student work. Strategies to avoid the impact of unconscious biases include: blind marking, double marking, and regular, open conversations about student work through ongoing moderation practices.
  • comparing and evaluating grades across classes. This can be undertaken through:
    • discussions of grade level data in school data management systems, or
    • conducting a gallery walk of student work samples aligned to each grade or performance level.
  • engaging with communities of practice or local teacher networks. This can be particularly useful for small school contexts.

Schools may explore additional examples of practice by accessing the recommended resources.

Reflection questions to help schools review their consistent teacher judgement and moderation practices.

For school leaders:

  • What activities will be undertaken to engage teachers with the new syllabus and explore the changes to assessment? How will such a change be managed?
  • What processes are in place to support teachers in designing assessment tasks that are valid and reliable?
  • How are routine opportunities for teachers to share interpretations and understandings of marking criteria provided?
  • What professional learning is undertaken to build teacher capacity to make consistent and comparable judgements of student achievement?

For teachers:

  • What processes are in place to support teachers’ consistent, evidence-based judgement of student achievement?
  • What moderation structures are in place to facilitate meaningful collaborative discussion of student work samples by teachers?
  • How are work samples and assessment information used to evaluate student learning over time? How is this information used to implement changes in teaching that leads to measurable improvement?


The following resources are recommended to strengthen knowledge and understanding of consistent teacher judgement and moderation practices.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Classroom teachers
  • Creative Arts
  • Cross curriculum
  • Curriculum and Reform
  • English
  • HSIE
  • Kindergarten
  • Languages
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Numeracy
  • STEM
  • Science
  • Science and Technology K-6
  • TAS
  • Teaching and learning
  • Technologies
  • VET
  • Web page
  • Year 1
  • Year 10
  • Year 11
  • Year 12
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Year 4
  • Year 5
  • Year 6
  • Year 7
  • Year 8
  • Year 9

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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