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NSW Syllabuses

Principles of Effective Assessment

Assessment is the broad name for the collection and evaluation of evidence of a student's learning. It is integral to teaching and learning and has multiple purposes. Assessment can enhance student engagement and motivation, particularly when it incorporates interaction with teachers, other students and a range of resources.

Teachers should consider the effect that assessment and feedback have on student motivation and self-esteem, and the importance of the active involvement of students in their own learning.


  • provides opportunities for teachers to gather evidence about student achievement in relation to syllabus outcomes
  • enables students to demonstrate what they know and can do
  • clarifies student understanding of concepts and promotes deeper understanding
  • provides evidence that current understanding is a suitable basis for future learning.

Assessment activities should:

  • be based on syllabus outcomes
  • be a valid instrument for what they are designed to assess
  • include criteria to clarify for students what aspects of learning are being assessed
  • enable students to demonstrate their learning in a range of task types
  • be reliable, measure what the task intends to assess, and provide accurate information on each student's achievement
  • be free from bias and provide evidence that accurately represents a student's knowledge, understanding and skills
  • enable students and teachers to use feedback effectively and reflect on the learning process
  • be inclusive of and accessible for all students
  • be part of an ongoing process where progress is monitored over time.

Also in assessment: