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Attributes of quality assessment

Quality assessment is characterised by validity, accessibility and reliability.


The extent to which an assessment accurately measures what it is intended to measure.

Assessment instruments and performance descriptors:

  • align to what is taught (content validity)
  • test what they claim to measure (construct validity)
  • reflect curriculum requirements
  • are authentic and appropriately challenging
  • provide realistic contexts
  • allow students to demonstrate specified performance levels within curriculum documents.


The extent to which the assessment provides all students with a clear understanding of how to demonstrate their learning.

Teachers can improve accessibility of assessment by:

  • sharing assessment information before the assessment is administered
  • providing all students with sufficient exposure to, and practice in, the work prior to the assessment
  • providing feedback that is timely enough to enable students to apply it
  • taking into consideration issues of access, equity and diversity so that students are not disadvantaged by their race, gender, ethnic background, disability, socio-economic status or other factors
  • effectively communicating to students what is required for successful completion through
    • clear, appropriate use of layout, cues, visual design and format that are free of bias
    • instructions that are clear, concise and unambiguous
  • providing clear assessment criteria that
    • are taken from the curriculum to ensure assessment is connected with teaching and learning
    • are made explicit to students to focus their attention on what they have to achieve
    • provide students with feedback about their progress
  • using inclusive strategies to adjust teaching and learning experiences and assessment to enable all students to demonstrate knowledge, skills or competencies. Adjustments can be grouped into
    • timing — the amount of time allocated
    • scheduling — when assessment occurs
    • setting — where assessment is completed
    • presentation — how an assessment appears or is communicated to a student
    • response — how a student may respond to the assessment
  • designing assessment with clear and specified conditions that support students to demonstrate the skill by
    • giving sufficient notice of the task
    • ensuring that the length of the task or timeframe is appropriate to complete the task
    • providing appropriate access to equipment.


The extent to which an assessment will produce the same consistent result.

Reliability refers to accuracy and precision of:

  • an assessment — if it were to be repeated, the extent to which subsequent results would agree with previous results
  • marking guides — the extent to which marks awarded by one marker would be comparable to those awarded by another marker.

Reliable assessment ensures that judgments are trusted and defensible.Teachers can achieve reliability in the classroom by:

  • engaging in conversations to interrogate the standards/descriptions prior to teaching
  • providing as much appropriate detail as possible about the assessment to guide students
  • providing students with opportunities to engage with the standards/descriptions
  • engaging in professional moderation conversations with colleagues to share samples of students’ work and to check marking consistency.
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