The Board of Studies K–10 Curriculum Framework is a standards-referenced framework that describes, through syllabuses and other documents, the expected learning outcomes for students.
Standards in the framework consist of three interrelated elements:
- outcomes and content in syllabuses showing what is to be learned
- stage statements that summarise student achievement
- samples of work on the Board's Assessment Resource Centre (ARC) website, which provide examples of levels of achievement within a stage.
Syllabus outcomes in Science contribute to a developmental sequence in which students are challenged to acquire new knowledge, understanding and skills.
Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. Well-designed assessment is central to engaging students and should be closely aligned to the outcomes within a stage. Effective assessment increases student engagement in their learning and leads to enhanced student outcomes.
Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning and Assessment of Learning are three approaches to assessment that play an important role in teaching and learning. The Board of Studies Years K–10 syllabuses particularly promote Assessment for Learning as an essential component of good teaching.
Further advice on programming and appropriate assessment practice in relation to the Science K–10 (incorporating Science and Technology K–6) Syllabus is contained in Science and Technology K–6: Advice on Programming and Assessment as well as Science Years 7–10: Advice on Programming and Assessment. This support document provides general advice on assessment as well as strategies to assist teachers in planning education programs.
Assessment for students with special education needs
Some students with special education needs will require adjustments to assessment practices in order to demonstrate what they know and can do in relation to syllabus outcomes and content. These may be:
- adjustments to the assessment process, eg additional time, rest breaks, quieter conditions, or the use of a reader and/or scribe or specific technology
- adjustments to assessment activities, eg rephrasing questions, using simplified language, fewer questions or alternative formats for questions
- alternative formats for responses, eg written point form instead of essays, scaffolded structured responses, short objective questions or multimedia presentations.
Further examples of adjustments to assessment for students with special education needs can be found in the Science support material.
Life Skills assessment
Each student undertaking Science Years 7–10 Life Skills will study selected outcomes and content. The syllabus outcomes and content form the basis of learning opportunities for students.
Assessment should provide opportunities for students to demonstrate achievement in relation to the outcomes and to apply their knowledge, understanding and skills to a range of situations or environments, including the school and the wider community.
Students may demonstrate achievement in relation to Science Years 7–10 Life Skills outcomes independently, with adjustments, or with support. The type of adjustments and support will vary according to the particular needs of the student and the requirements of the activity.
Further information about the assessment of students undertaking Life Skills outcomes and content can be found on the Board's website.
Reporting is the process of providing feedback to students, parents and other teachers about student progress.
Teachers use assessment evidence to extend the process of assessment for learning into their assessment of learning. In a standards-referenced framework, teachers make professional judgements about student achievement at key points in the learning cycle. These points may be at the end of a year or stage, when schools may wish to report differentially on the levels of knowledge, understanding and skills demonstrated by students.
Descriptions of student achievement in Science provide schools with a useful tool to report consistent information about student achievement to students, parents, and to the next teacher to help plan the next steps in the learning process.
The A–E grade scale or equivalent provides a common language for reporting by describing observable and measurable features of student achievement at the end of a stage, within the indicative hours of study. Teachers use the descriptions of the standards to make a professional, on-balance judgement based on available assessment information, to match each student's achievement to a description. Teachers use the Common Grade Scale (A–E) or equivalent to report student levels of achievement from Stages 1 to 5.
The objectives and outcomes for the values and attitudes are an integral part of learning and an important element of any course. Schools may decide to report on them separately to students and parents, such as using some form of descriptive statement.
For students with special education needs, teachers may need to consider, in consultation with their school and sector, the most appropriate method of reporting student achievement. It may be deemed more appropriate for students with special education needs to be reported against outcomes or goals identified through the collaborative curriculum planning process. There is no requirement for schools to use the Common Grade Scale (A–E) or equivalent to report achievement of students undertaking Life Skills outcomes and content.