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Internal assessment

General subjects

In the new QCE system, students’ results for General subjects are based on their achievement in three internal assessments and one external assessment.

Internal assessments contribute 75% towards a student’s final subject result, in most subjects. In Mathematics and Science subjects, internal assessment generally contributes 50%. Internal assessment results are not scaled by external assessment results when calculating a student’s final subject result.

Schools develop internal assessments for General subjects according to the parameters outlined in the syllabus. This includes the type of assessment, the conditions under which it should be administered and a marking scheme.

QCAA assessors endorse internal assessment instruments before they are used in the classroom. Endorsement ensures that all assessments provide sufficient opportunities for students to demonstrate syllabus requirements and to build teachers’ capacity to develop high-quality assessments.

Teachers mark internal assessments using an instrument-specific marking guide (ISMG) provided in the syllabus. Comparability of student results is achieved through a process called confirmation.

Applied subjects

In the new QCE system, a student’s subject result for an Applied subject is based on their achievement in four internal assessments.

Applied subjects: Essential English and Essential Mathematics

Schools develop three of the four internal assessments. These require endorsement by QCAA. The fourth internal assessment is a common internal assessment developed by the QCAA, and marked by schools. Essential English and Essential Mathematics are quality assured through annual quality assurance meetings that include a review of judgments about student responses.

Applied subjects (except Essential English and Essential Mathematics)

Schools develop four internal assessment instruments from their approved study plan. These do not require endorsement by QCAA. Instead, assessment is quality assured through annual quality assurance meetings. These include a review of judgments about student responses.

Developing assessment instruments

QCAA supports schools continuing current practices of collaborating to develop assessment through communities of practice, while ensuring that the instruments submitted for endorsement and administered to students have been developed by teachers at the school.

Supported by QCAA resources, schools will have a common understanding of the summative instruments that need to be developed. These should be developed for the school’s local context, and take into consideration teacher expertise, available resources and student interest.

Comparable assessment instruments

A comparable assessment instrument is a variation that is administered when the original instrument cannot be used, for example if:

  • a student has a school-approved absence on the day an assessment is due
  • the integrity of an assessment instrument is compromised and cannot be used
  • administration of an endorsed assessment instrument is interrupted, e.g. a student becomes ill during an examination
  • illness prevents a student from attending an examination.

Note: A comparable assessment instrument is not required for students needing access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA). Cognitive, physical, sensory or social/emotional support, such as those listed in section 6.4.5 of the QCE and QCIA policies and procedures handbook, will be provided to students using the endorsed assessment instrument.

A comparable assessment instrument:

  • allows a student to draw on comparable knowledge and skills
  • provides opportunity to gather evidence of the assessment objectives and performance levels of the instrument-specific marking guide (ISMG)
  • complies with all assessment specifications outlined in the syllabus.

Variations will depend on the nature of the assessment technique and may be made to:

  • the stimulus material/s or sources that are used to develop the student’s response
  • text in items, e.g. an alternative context for the problem
  • numerical values or datasets in items
  • parameters in short response items, e.g. a change to the elements to be analysed
  • Guidance for developing comparable assessment instruments in specific learning areas is in development.

More information

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