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Testing and assessment

Effective processes to monitor student progress

At Mackay District Special School assessment:

  • Is used to improve student performance
  • Is based on an understanding of how students learn
  • Provides useful information to report credibly to parents on student achievement
  • Requires a variety of measures
  • Requires clarity of purpose, goals, standards and criteria
  • Methods should be valid, reliable and consistent
  • For improved performance involves feedback and reflection.

Consistency in the use of standards–moderation

When assessing students with significant multiple impairments a major challenge is that their progress can not always be easily tracked vertically. More opportunities are required in order to consolidate the knowledge and skills they learn through experience of applying their learning in different contexts. Focuses on lateral linear progression give teachers a broad framework with which to make professional judgements about student progress.

Teachers engage in the process of moderation through sharing assessment data such as work samples, student portfolios and video clips of performance. The key to achieving confidence in the quality of teacher judgements is the engagement of teachers in professional dialogue. Ongoing coaching conversations around data, pedagogy and individual student progress takes place throughout the year. 

Culture of evidence-based decision-making

Mackay District Special School focuses on monitoring key literacy and numeracy student performance indicators by:

  • Focusing on each student's learning to enhance progress, achievement and participation
  • Intentional teaching and learning
  • Functional literacy and numeracy
  • Utilising educational services to meet the needs of students.

Reporting student achievement

The ICP goals provide an important focus for reporting to parents. Program modifications and alternative learning pathways for demonstrating the standards are also considered in the reporting process. Reporting student achievement to parents can also be facilitated through student work samples, portfolios, parent/teacher/student conferences, communication books, iPads, student self-assessment and ASDAN/QCIA evidence portfolios. ICP meetings take place at the beginning of each semester with written reports based on ICP goals through OneSchool, provided to parents at the end of each semester.​

Data Walls

We use data walls to illustrate student progress. Since 2011 we have been able to track student progress. We have established school-wide process for analysis and discussion of systematically collected data on student outcomes. Data is used to identify student needs and apply resources in a targeted manner.

Toolkit 1 operationalises school-wide processes around data.