Dean of Studies | Mr Mason Hellyer

This week exams have commenced for Years 5 to 11 students. This summative assessment is an opportunity to inform students of their subject progress and attainment. However, 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.

However, 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 adapt further teaching and learning.

For our Year 12 teachers and students, the insights gained from the recent mock exams will strongly shape their revision strategy moving forward. Year 12 students will be receiving feedback on their mock external exam when they return to class next week.

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

  • Identifying students who require further support with literacy and/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, the Math and English Honours programs.
  • 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. Revised class teaching and external program support is then supplied.

Consequently, for both students and teachers, this assessment period is an opportunity to inform progress and ascertain attainment. However, and 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.