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Assessment Resource Centre (ARC)

  1. Years 9-10
  2. Stage 5 Grading
  3. Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
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Frequently asked questions about Stage 5 Record of School Achievement grading

Q. I am the only teacher of a particular course in the school and the class is very small. Do I need to have an assessment schedule and, if so, can I make up my own assessment schedule for my class?

A. An assessment schedule is important for you and your students in providing both an effective learning structure and detail of assessment expectations for the course. The schedule allows you to choose when you will gather evidence to use in judging student performance and to communicate this in advance to your students.

You are ultimately responsible for administering the assessment schedules to your classes; however, it is important that the developed schedules follow faculty and school policies. In the introduction of new courses particularly, collaborate with other staff as much as possible.

You can support each other in making professional judgements by working together in planning teaching and learning activities and assessment strategies. This collaboration leads to a shared understanding of the syllabus standards and supports teachers in making consistent and comparable judgements of student achievement in relation to these standards. It also reduces the burden and workload on individual teachers.

Q. Do I need to assess my students in terms of every syllabus outcome?

A. Grading requires an on-balance, professional judgement. In this context, professional judgement involves you matching what each student has been able to demonstrate against syllabus outcomes, informed by the grade descriptions (and assisted by the graded work samples presented in this website).

Teaching and learning should not focus on achieving individual outcomes and it is not advised that teachers assess single outcomes. Using a variety of assessment activities, covering a number of syllabus outcomes in various contexts, is the best way to make a judgement of student achievement in relation to syllabus standards.

It is expected that you assess student achievement in relation to all knowledge, understanding and skills outcomes, in manageable groupings. Values and attitudes outcomes are not to be assessed. The areas for assessment developed for each course provide one way of grouping knowledge, understanding and skills outcomes in a manageable way.

Q. How many opportunities do I need to give my students before I make a judgement of their final grade for a course? How much evidence is enough?

A. Students will demonstrate achievement in relation to outcomes at various times throughout a course. Evidence of achievement can be based on your ongoing observations during teaching and learning or from assessment activities specifically designed to assess achievement at particular points, or from both.

The important thing is to give your students a manageable number of opportunities to show in appropriate ways what they know, understand and can do before you make an overall judgement of their achievements.

The emphasis should be on the nature and quality of the evidence rather than on the amount of evidence. The evidence you collect should also meet the requirements that the system, school and community may have and should allow you to justify the judgements you have made.

Q. What are the areas for assessment and how should I use these?

A. The areas for assessment appear at the top of the course performance descriptors. They provide a focus for assessment, and also may be used as a structure for reporting student achievement. They are derived from the objectives of the course, and represent manageable groupings of outcomes. By mapping the activities to the areas for assessment when designing an assessment schedule, you can ensure that all outcomes can be assessed throughout the year in a manageable way.

Q. What has changed in Stage 5 Mathematics?

There is one Stage 5 Mathematics course for all students in Years 9 and 10.

The Mathematics grades (A10 to E2) will place all Year 10 students on the same scale. This is different to the three course arrangement (Advanced, Intermediate and Standard) that existed in Stage 5 Mathematics in the past.

Click here to see why this change was made.

Click here to see how the Mathematics Years 7-10 course may be organised.

Q. Why are Mathematics grades reported using A10, A9, B8, B7, C6, C5, D4, D3 or E2 instead of grades A to E that other courses use?

As for all other courses, there are five grades in Mathematics: A, B, C, D or E.

Due to the many pathways through Stage 5 Mathematics, each grade (except for grade E) has a further level of discrimination. That is, a grade A in Mathematics is either an A10 or A9, a grade B is either a B8 or B7, and so on. Click here to see the Mathematics course performance descriptors.

Q. How can Mathematics grades be awarded fairly to students who are following different pathways and so have different assessment programs?

Several approaches to ensuring comparability across multiple pathways have been identified. These include:

  • the use of a common task or tasks
  • common questions in assessment tasks
  • a core and further questions structure in assessment tasks
  • consensus of professional judgement by
    • comparing student achievement in each grade; or
    • comparing performances of students at the top and/or bottom of each pathway.

To see more detail on each of these approaches, click here.

Q. How can schools report on student performance in Years 9 and 10, using an A to E scale, when their students are following different pathways and so have different assessment programs?

The approaches to Stage 5 grading in Mathematics outlined above could also be used for determining grades used in A to E reports.

Q. Can a student who has studied content from the 5.1 pathway only be awarded a grade A in Mathematics?

This is highly unlikely as both the A10 and A9 course performance descriptors refer to student achievement on 5.3 pathway content.

Q. Does the answer above mean that some students are prevented from achieving higher grades?

No. Students who demonstrate the mathematical abilities required to achieve a higher grade should always be encouraged to do so by a teaching and learning program that includes the knowledge, skills and understanding in the more demanding pathways.

The Mathematics education community preferred the single scale as it allows students to aim high and have their achievement reported. Schools now have the flexibility to move students from pathway to pathway and so make and revise grade decisions right up to the end of Year 10.

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