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Principles of quality assessment

The following principles strengthen assessment practices.

Assessment should be:


Assessment is aligned with curriculum, pedagogy and reporting.

To produce the best learning outcomes for students, alignment means that:

  • what is taught (curriculum) must inform how it is taught (pedagogy), how and when students are given advice about how to progress (feedback), how students are assessed (assessment), what next steps are required (future learning) and how the learning is reported (reporting)
  • what is assessed must relate directly to what students have had an opportunity to learn
  • what is reported to students, parents/carers and other teachers must align with what has been learned from the intended curriculum and assessed.

Assessment is not an endpoint activity. Alignment is achieved when teachers actively plan assessment at the same time as they plan for teaching and learning.

This means that teachers:

  • have in-depth conversations during the planning stage to
    • interrogate the meaning of the standards/descriptions
    • identify what evidence will look like at different levels of performance and
    • reach a shared understanding of the qualities that differentiate achievement
  • use the knowledge and understanding gained to inform their teaching, learning and assessment
  • share the standards/descriptions with students during the teaching and learning process
  • engage in professional moderation conversations to check the consistency of judgments.

Assessment aligned with curriculum, pedagogy and reporting includes assessment of deep knowledge of concepts within and across the disciplines, problem solving, analysis, synthesis and critical thinking.


All young people in Queensland are entitled to an education that meets their needs, and prepares them for active participation in the creation of a socially just, equitable and democratic global society. Teachers can support students to access a socially just education by:

  • designing teaching, learning and assessment activities that are socially and culturally responsive and inclusive
  • ensuring access and participation for all learners, on the same basis as their peers
  • making adjustments, where required, to enhance engagement and equitable outcomes for all students
  • acknowledging the diverse bodies of knowledge, backgrounds and families of all students.

Assessment is equitable if it provides opportunities for every student to demonstrate what they know and can do.

Individual learners’ needs must be considered and, if required, adjustments made to the delivery or mode of assessment, without changing the way the assessment is judged or marked, to enable students to be able to demonstrate what they know and can do.


Assessment involves collecting evidence as the basis for judgments about the quality of learning that students have achieved.

To ensure judgments about students’ work are defensible and comparable, they are based on:

  • evidence collected from a range and balance of tasks over time
  • established standards such as
    • Kindergarten Continua of learning and development
    • P–10 Australian Curriculum achievement standards and QCAA standards elaborations
    • senior reporting standards.

Assessment provides evidence that students’ current understanding is a suitable basis for future learning.


Assessment should be part of an ongoing process in which progress is monitored over time. Assessment should:

  • be varied in nature
  • provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their learning
  • cover a range and balance, informed by
    • content descriptions
    • assessment modes (e.g. written, spoken/signed, multimodal presentations)
    • assessment techniques appropriate to the learning area
    • assessment conditions (e.g. supervised, open).


Transparent assessment enhances professional and public confidence in the processes used, the information obtained and the decisions made.

Transparency refers to:

  • the clarity of assessment expectations for students
  • the clarity of procedures for making judgments about the quality of students’ work.

Transparency can be enhanced by:

  • providing clear task descriptions so students know what they are expected to do
  • developing clear criteria and standards/descriptions, aligned with curriculum requirements, so students know how they will be assessed
  • modelling the task so students know the level of performance expected
  • engaging in moderation processes to ensure that every student has their learning assessed equally and appropriately.


Quality assessment provides information to teachers, students, and parents/carers about the depth of students’ conceptual understandings, problem solving, analysis, synthesis and critical thinking.

Informative assessment:

  • informs teachers’ planning and delivery of future learning opportunities
  • promotes further learning and development when combined with constructive feedback and opportunities for reflection
  • enables learners to understand and appreciate the progress they have made and recognise that they are being successful in their learning
  • assists students to develop their self-assessment skills to enable them to assess their own learning, set specific goals and plan next steps for their learning
  • maximises collaboration and sharing of knowledge between families and schools to support the learning and development of all students
  • leads to informative reporting
  • supports school and system-wide planning.
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