St Mary’s Primary School employs a range of assessment methods across all Key Learning Areas to ensure that we are catering to the needs of all learners. We place a strong emphasis on the use of the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Continuums which provide a sequence of observable learnings and behaviours that connect with the NSW Syllabus documents.
The Literacy Continuum
Literacy is the ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading and writing, listening and speaking, viewing and representing. Literacy skills need to continually expand and diversify because our rapidly changing social and economic environment requires competence in a range of new communication forms and media. Literacy competence is central to achievement in all areas of learning as students progress through the early, middle and later years of schooling and into the workforce and personal life. (NSW DEC, 2007)
The Literacy Continuum identifies the literacy skills and understandings regarded as critical to literacy success. It maps how critical aspects develop through the years of schooling by describing key markers of expected student achievement. The continuum focuses on capturing the literacy connections that are critical to success, are applicable to all key learning areas and cannot be left to chance. It has been informed by an extensive range of international and Australian studies, reports and research. For an overview of the Literacy Continuum please click here. To see the whole document please click on the image below.
The Numeracy Continuum
Numeracy involves using mathematical ideas efficiently to make sense of the world. While it necessarily involves understanding some mathematical ideas, notations and techniques, it also involves drawing on knowledge of particular contexts and circumstances in deciding when to use mathematics, choosing the mathematics to use and critically evaluating its use. Each individual’s interpretation of the world draws on understandings of number, measurement, probability, data and spatial sense combined with critical mathematical thinking. (NSW DEC, 2011)
The Numeracy Continuum outlines a progression of learning that can be used to observe students working on Mathematical problems.All aspects of Numeracy are interrelated and overlapping. To find out more information about the NSW Numeracy Continuum please view the short clip below or click here to visit the Numeracy Continuum Website.
Assessment AS, OF and FOR Learning
Assessment is the broad name for the collection and evaluation of evidence of a student’s learning. It is integral to teaching and learning and has multiple purposes. Assessment can enhance student engagement and motivation, particularly when it incorporates interaction with teachers, other students and a range of resources.
NSW syllabuses and support materials promote an integrated approach to teaching, learning and assessment. Assessment for learning, assessment as learning and assessment of learning are approaches that can be used individually or together, formally or informally, to gather evidence about student achievement and to improve student learning.
The principles of assessment for learning and assessment as learning strategies have some common elements. Assessment for learning and assessment as learning incorporate:
- self-assessment and peer assessment
- strategies for students to actively monitor and evaluate their own learning
- feedback, together with evidence, to help teachers and students decide whether students are ready for the next phase of learning or whether they need further learning experiences to consolidate their knowledge, understanding and skills.
Assessment for learning and assessment as learning approaches, in particular, help teachers and students to know if current understanding is a suitable basis for future learning. Teachers, using their professional judgement in a standards-referenced framework, are able to extend the process of assessment for learning into the assessment of learning.
Assessment FOR Learning
Assessment for learning involves teachers using evidence about students’ knowledge, understanding and skills to inform their teaching. Sometimes referred to as ‘formative assessment’, it usually occurs throughout the teaching and learning process to clarify student learning and understanding.
Assessment for learning:
- reflects a view of learning in which assessment helps students learn better, rather than just achieve a better mark
- involves formal and informal assessment activities as part of learning and to inform the planning of future learning
- includes clear goals for the learning activity
- provides effective feedback that motivates the learner and can lead to improvement
- reflects a belief that all students can improve
- encourages self-assessment and peer assessment as part of the regular classroom routines
- involves teachers, students and parents reflecting on evidence
- is inclusive of all learners.
Assessment AS Learning
Assessment as learning occurs when students are their own assessors. Students monitor their own learning, ask questions and use a range of strategies to decide what they know and can do, and how to use assessment for new learning.
Assessment as learning:
- encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning
- requires students to ask questions about their learning
- involves teachers and students creating learning goals to encourage growth and development
- provides ways for students to use formal and informal feedback and self-assessment to help them understand the next steps in learning
- encourages peer assessment, self-assessment and reflection.
Assessment OF Learning
Assessment of learning assists teachers in using evidence of student learning to assess achievement against outcomes and standards. It usually occurs at defined key points during a unit of work or at the end of a unit, term or semester, and may be used to rank or grade students. The effectiveness of assessment of learning for grading or ranking depends on the validity and reliability of activities. Its effectiveness as an opportunity for learning depends on the nature and quality of the feedback.
Assessment of learning:
- is used to plan future learning goals and pathways for students
- provides evidence of achievement to the wider community, including parents, educators, the students
- themselves and outside groups
- provides a transparent interpretation across all audiences.
(Curriculum and Pedagogy Guidelines, Catholic Schools Office, Lismore – 2015)