Dean of Studies | Mr Mason Hellyer

This week has seen the commencement of exams for Years 5-11 students. This summative assessment is an opportunity to inform students of their subject progress and attainment. For many subjects this is the culmination of formative assessment, checkpoints and drafting that has been ongoing through the term. As Bob Stake, an assessment expert from the University of Illinois explains – 

When the cook tastes the soup, it is formative; when the guest tastes the soup, it is summative. 

Both formative and summative assessment is important. All assessment is an opportunity for both students and teachers to be informed of student progress.

Assessment outcomes are immensely powerful for teachers. Professor John Hattie from Melbourne University posits that a major purpose of assessment should be to provide information to schools and teachers about their impact on student learning. This knowledge then provides the opportunity to further adapt teaching and learning.

At Terrace, following an assessment period, we examine student results and utilise it in a number of ways:

  • Identifying students who require further support with literacy or numeracy and implementing an intervention to assist students. For example, the Learning Assistance program (LAP)
  • Identifying students who need extension and implementing programs to extend. For example, Math and English Honours program.
  • Intervention interviews with students who have demonstrated a major downward trend in their results
  • Identification and tracking of cohort strengths and weaknesses in literacy and numeracy, providing class teaching and external program support where needed. 

Consequently, for both students and teachers, this assessment period is an opportunity to inform progress and ascertain attainment. Most importantly, it is not the knowledge gained that is of paramount importance, it is the reinforcement of behaviours that have led to success or conversely, the changing of those that did not enable success, that is the mark of successful assessment.

I wish students all the best for the remainder of their exam block.