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Assessing and reporting student achievement

The page describes the methods of assessing student achievement in the range of subjects studied in Australian and New Zealand schools and how these assessments are reported on senior secondary certificates and related documents.

The page does not refer to calculation of tertiary entrance scores or rankings.

1. Assessment

Assessment is a judgement of student achievement or progress in a program of study and indicates the level of knowledge, skills and understanding achieved by the student.

There are four main methods of assessing students’ academic achievement:

 In Australia the methods of assessing student achievement are combinations of these. None of the states/territories uses a single method of assessment only.

External examinations

All students studying a subject sit for the same examination, normally at the end of the study period. The major purposes of external examinations may be to allow students to demonstrate their achievements against set standards and to rank all students in the state on a single specified scale.

Moderated school-based assessment

School-based assessment is done by teachers in schools using a variety of assessment methods. The marks from this assessment process are moderated by various factors including the school group’s performance at external exams or advice from outside experts. The reason for doing this is so that direct comparisons can be made between assessment marks awarded by different schools and marks placed on the same scale.

School-based assessment (not moderated)

School-based assessment is done by teachers in schools using a variety of assessment methods. In some states, the results of subjects with non-moderated assessments are recorded on certificates and other documents.

Policies and procedures aim to ensure that the standards for student assessment are followed as stated in the syllabus or course documents. The assessments may be subjected to some form of moderation within the school but there is no system-wide moderation. However, courses and assessment procedures may be accredited by the central assessment and certification authority.

External scaling tests

The content of these tests may be based on state curriculum or may be an assessment of general scholastic ability. The tests are used to rank students on a statewide basis.

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2. Reporting

Student achievement may be reported by using numbers (marks, scores or percentages), grades or descriptive statements.

Marks

Marks usually indicate a student’s relative standing compared with other members of the candidature. Marks can be totalled or averaged for comparison of achievement levels. Raw marks are rarely used. The marks are usually subjected to scaling or standardisation to put them on a common scale.

Grades

Grades may represent

Descriptive statements

Statements such as Very High Achievement or Satisfactory Achievement may be written on certificates to describe a student’s performance in achieving defined objectives and standards.

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3. FAQs

What assessment method(s) are used for the senior secondary school leaving credential in Northern Territory?

In assessing student achievement for the award of the Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE), the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Board of SA uses a combination of:

How are the marks determined in the Northern Territory?

Stage 1 Subjects

Results for Stage 1 subjects are reported as an A to E grade. The grade is determined by the specific subject performance standards (a written descriptor of the grade).

The subject content, the types of skills measured, method of assessment and the range of abilities among students varies within the subject and from subject to subject. The compulsory Stage 1 subjects, Personal Learning Plan, English and/or literacy subjects and maths and /or numeracy subjects are moderated at the ‘C’.

Stage 2 Subjects

Results for Stage 2 subjects are reported as the score received out of 20 (Subject Achievement Score), a grade on a scale of A to E, and a description (e.g. 17 A Very high achievement). The marks for Stage 2 subjects are moderated to statewide standards, either by statistical methods using the external examination as a base or by other processes including visitation to schools and central moderation.

KEY TO SCORING

  Grade A* A B C D E  
  Score 20 17–19 14–16 11–13 8–10 0–7  

 

  10–20 Satisfactory achievement (SA)
  3–9 Recorded achievement (RA)
  0–2 Requirements not met (RNM)

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