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8.2 Integrating learning and assessment

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Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning, and schools should follow the QCAA guidelines outlined below when integrating their teaching and learning strategies with assessment for all subjects.

8.2.1 Engaging in learning and assessment

Students are expected to engage in learning in the subject or course of study including all course objectives. They produce evidence of achievement in response to assessment planned for each unit, pair of units or course.

Schools provide opportunities for teaching and learning, implement assessment, gather evidence of learning on or before the due date set by the school and to meet QCAA timelines. The evidence is matched to the relevant standards to make judgments. Schools are responsible for ensuring that students have opportunities to access the complete assessment program and experience all objectives for units where the school intends to report a result that accrues credit towards a QCE. For more information about the learning required, see Section 2.1: Eligibility for a QCE. For more information about due dates, see Section 8.2.7: Gathering evidence of student achievement.

Credit towards a QCE can only be accrued for successful completion of the equivalent of whole units or pairs of units. For example, for Applied and General subjects, students complete Unit 1 and/or Unit 2 or Units 3 and 4 as a pair of units.

Students are expected to complete the required learning as outlined in the subject matter of the syllabus prior to assessment being administered.

To achieve a unit result for Unit 1 or Unit 2, students must provide a response to each assessment that is designed to be reported to the QCAA as part of the school’s unit assessment program. For further information about the unit assessment program see Section 11.1.1: Determining results: Units 1 and 2 — overview.

In order to receive an overall subject result for Units 3 and 4, students must:

  • complete Units 3 and 4 as a pair
  • provide responses to each summative internal assessment and, for Applied (Essential) subjects, the common internal assessment (CIA)
  • for General or General (Extension) subjects, complete all aspects of the summative external assessment, on the date published on the QCAA website (see Section 10: External assessment)
  • for a General (Senior External Examination) subject, complete all requirements of the Senior External Examination.

Where there is no evidence of a response to each summative internal assessment on or before the due date set by the school, where no AARA has been approved, and where an NR is recorded, a subject result cannot be allocated.

Schools are responsible for ensuring that school communities are aware of the assessment requirements. Schools should inform students and parents/carers promptly if incomplete assessment will mean that the student will not meet requirements for a subject or course result.

Students may experience repeated or long-term absences due to a disability, impairment, medical condition or other circumstances. This may impact their ability to complete the learning requirements of the relevant syllabus or finalise assessment by the due date. In these circumstances, students may be supported by AARA (see Section 6: Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA), including illness and misadventure).

Changing subjects

When considering subject changes after a course of study has begun, schools, students and parents/carers should consider how teaching, learning and assessment requirements for the subject will be achieved within required timelines.

Schools make a judgment for reporting to the QCAA based on the completion of Unit 1 and/or 2 or Units 3 and 4 as a pair, including when there is a subject change.

To receive QCE credit for a unit or unit pair, a student needs to complete all of the learning and assessment as outlined in the syllabus, or the school’s approved study plan (2019 Applied subjects only). For example, if a student considers changing from General Mathematics to Essential Mathematics after the beginning of Unit 3, the student needs to complete all learning and assessment required for Essential Mathematics Units 3 and 4, as they are different subjects, with a different syllabus, subject matter and endorsed assessment. If part of the learning and some internal assessment for a unit is completed in one subject, it does not contribute to the completion of the learning and assessment in another subject.

If a unit or pair of units is incomplete, due to non-completion of assessment, a unit or subject result cannot be awarded and no credit towards the QCE will accrue for the unit/s.


Students may repeat Unit 1 or Unit 2 individually, or Units 3 and 4 as a pair. A student cannot repeat one summative unit or a single assessment instrument only. A unit or pair of units cannot be repeated until they have been completed. If a student is unable to complete a unit or pair of units and is considering beginning the unit or pair of units again, the school should contact the Quality Assurance Unit.

Repeating students must repeat all learning and assessment requirements. In these cases, the school must ensure the integrity of assessment. For example, a student should not sit for an unseen examination they had already completed or submit a response to an assessment they have previously submitted. For more information, see Section 8.1: Understanding academic integrity.


Schools make decisions about registering students at the school and enrolling them in subjects. Schools are to consider that a student transferring between schools should not be disadvantaged by their access to learning and assessment. When schools register a student transferring during the year, they need to consider the student’s intended pathway and whether the school can provide the opportunity for that student to complete the teaching, learning and assessment required. Students must complete the teaching, learning and all assessment in order to achieve a result, i.e. for each Unit 1 or 2 or for the Unit 3 and 4 pair. In Units 1 and 2, schools may use results from assessment completed at the previous school, together with any assessment completed at the new school to make an overall decision about a unit result (see Section 11.1.1: Determining results: Units 1 and 2 — overview).

Whether a student transfers within Queensland, from interstate, or from overseas, a result cannot be awarded, and QCE credit cannot be accrued, for partially completed single units (Units 1 or 2) or for a partially completed summative pair of units (Units 3 and 4) in Applied and General subjects. Students and their parents/carers need to be aware of this requirement at the time of registration.

Transferring between Queensland schools (or within Queensland)

Before registering a Queensland transfer student and enrolling them in subjects, the potential new school should discuss subject and course offerings with the student and their parents/carers to ensure that they will have the opportunity to meet the requirements of the QCE (the set pattern including the completed Core requirement). Schools help students to understand these requirements and the opportunities for learning and assessment the school can provide. For more information, see Section 2.1.3: Set pattern of learning and Section 13.2.5: Enrolments and results.

Once the school has registered a student, enrolled them in subjects, and intends to award credit for a unit or pair of units, the school must provide an opportunity for the student to access the learning and all assessment required to demonstrate the unit objectives and syllabus requirements.

To receive results for Units 1 and 2 or an overall subject result or exit result, students must meet all assessment requirements of their subjects and/or courses. Schools must meet QCAA quality assurance timelines — contact the Quality Assurance Unit for more information if required.

Before ceasing the enrolment of a student transferring to a new school, the original school must enter into Student Management any completed units (Unit 1 or 2 or Short Courses), or completed IA (see Section 13.2.5: Enrolments and results). When a student has partially completed the learning and/or assessment for a unit before transfer, the new school should contact the original school as soon as practicable after the transfer occurs to seek information about the learning and assessment already begun or completed (see Section 13.3: Retaining records and student work). The new school then provides the student with the teaching and learning required, and the assessment needed to complete Unit 1, Unit 2, or the Unit 3 and 4 pair. This may require the student to complete the work after the other students in the cohort, to allow time both for the teaching and learning and for assessment.

For some assessments, the student may be able to continue with an assessment instrument begun at the original school and complete the assessment at the new school, e.g. a project in an Applied subject. This will not be possible for some assessments, e.g. they need to complete the endorsed assessment (or a comparable assessment) for a General subject. How schools implement delivery of teaching, learning and assessment depends on the student, time of year and the school context. Schools may need to provide a comparable assessment with different due dates.

Transferring from interstate and international schools

Students registering with a Queensland school at the beginning of the senior phase of learning i.e. the equivalent of Year 11, are not considered to be transfer students, as they are beginning senior studies.

If a student transfers to a Queensland school part-way through a unit, their studies from interstate and overseas cannot be used to provide results towards any overall subject result in a QCAA subject. Any assessment that a student has completed that equates to a ‘semester’ or a ‘unit’ (i.e. 55 hours and completed to a satisfactory standard) can provide credit towards the QCE, but not towards a subject result for the Unit 3 and 4 pair.

For more information about interstate and international transfers, see Section 2.5.2: Interstate and overseas transfers: Non-Queensland studies and Section 13.2.5: Enrolments and results.

8.2.2 Appropriate learning experiences and materials

Schools are responsible for developing learning experiences that align with syllabus objectives and provide students with opportunities to develop appropriate assessment responses. When designing learning experiences and assessment opportunities, schools are responsible for ensuring students:

  • undertake learning in an environment free from physical, emotional and psychological harm
  • engage with age-appropriate topics, performances, activities and resources
  • develop assessment responses or create materials that would not offend, humiliate, intimidate or cause distress or harm in the wider community.

To ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and the wider school community, schools should enact proactive and practicable risk-mitigation strategies that comply with appropriate state and national legislative policies. This should involve:

  • minors being protected from material or themes likely to cause harm or distress
  • protection from offensive material and/or language that is likely to cause outrage or disgust
  • safeguarding against depictions that condone, trivialise or incite violence (either real or perceived)
  • avoiding the portrayal of individuals or groups in a demeaning or derogatory manner
  • avoiding the creation of products that could be perceived or used as a weapon
  • encouraging humane and ethical treatment of animals
  • using materials, resources and equipment in the intended manner and for their intended purpose.

QCAA assessors will, where necessary, refer student responses containing offensive or objectionable material to the QCAA.

8.2.3 Scaffolding

Scaffolding is an intentional instructional strategy through which teachers support students to develop greater independence in completing a task or responding to an assessment instrument. Scaffolding may be provided to individuals or to a class of students.

To develop students’ knowledge and skills, teachers gradually release support and responsibility to students over a course of study.

Scaffolding may include:

  • breaking a complex task, learning experience, concept or skill into discrete parts
  • modelling thought processes required to complete parts of an assessment instrument
  • pre-teaching vocabulary specific to the subject and assessment instrument
  • questioning to develop students’ conceptions, describe interpretations or challenge opinions that inform a response
  • showing examples of responses and demonstrating the match to performance descriptors and the mode of response required
  • using visual frameworks or graphic organisers to plan responses.

Scaffolding for assessment

When scaffolding in an assessment context, it is important to maintain the integrity of the assessment instrument so that a student’s response is their own. Scaffolding or task instructions should not lead to a predetermined response (e.g. identifying what information should be included in each paragraph or section of a response) or interfere with students’ ability to independently demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the relevant criteria.

Scaffolding for assessment instruments in Units 3 and 4 should focus on processes or presentation of the response. It should avoid repeating cognitions or the task description.

Scaffolding may include:

  • providing a timeline or checkpoints that students can use to manage their completion of components of the assessment instrument
  • guiding students to make predictions and/or reflect on their learning to complete the assessment instrument
  • providing prompts and cues in the task so that students understand the requirements for the response, such as problem-solving or citation method they are required to use.

8.2.4 Feedback

Two different types of feedback are equally valuable in the classroom: feedback for teaching and learning, and feedback for assessment, including on a draft response. Both are led by the classroom teacher.

The purpose of feedback is to provide meaningful information about a student’s strengths and areas for improvement to support them to progress their learning. It helps the student understand where and how they are going, and where they need to go next. 3

Features of effective feedback

How teachers and students make use of qualitative and quantitative assessment information is vital to understanding and improving learning. Effective feedback encourages self-reflection, allows students to actively monitor and evaluate their own learning, and facilitates self-direction and motivation. Together assessment and feedback support continuous, collaborative, active and self-directed learning.

Effective feedback is:

  • ongoing
  • individualised
  • specific to the teaching, learning and assessment
  • related to the standards/descriptions
  • clear, and in language that is readily interpreted by the intended audiences
  • timely, so that students can act on it and adjust their learning
  • collaborative, so that students, teachers and parents/carers all support and participate in the students’ learning
  • supportive, so that the student is encouraged to reflect and act on the feedback and build their capacity for self-assessment.

Feedback opportunities

Teachers provide feedback that varies throughout the teaching, learning and assessment process. Opportunities for feedback in the classroom may include:

  • ensuring a positive learning environment where students are aware of the protocols and practices for giving and receiving feedback in a constructive way
  • reviewing how students are working towards their learning goals
  • working with students on classroom tasks in preparation for the assessment task
  • encouraging a classroom culture that supports students to appropriately give and receive feedback when peer editing
  • enabling students to practise self-assessment, such as using checkpoints — key stages in the assessment process at which students engage with peers and/or the teacher to check they are on track for both content and assessment conditions, e.g. mode, response length.

For more information, see Section 8.1: Understanding academic integrity.

8.2.5 Drafting

A draft is a preliminary version of a student’s response to a task. A draft can be used both to provide focused feedback on a response and to authenticate student work.

Schools should have a school-based drafting policy with school-specific information about drafts.

Drafts may be created in a variety of formats and modes:

  • a student may prepare several written drafts when developing and refining a response to the topic and then submit their best, complete or near complete draft for teacher feedback, e.g. in Ancient History
  • a student presenting a spoken task practises in class and receives feedback on the draft in the mode of the response, e.g. in English a spoken/signed task
  • students practise a performance in class and are given teacher feedback on a dress rehearsal, e.g. in Drama or Dance.

Drafting allows teachers to monitor student work. Before submitting the complete or near complete draft in the mode required by the syllabus for feedback, students may be required to pass through other checkpoints, such as developing an outline or discussing their approach with the class teacher.

Providing feedback on the draft response

Teachers provide feedback on one complete or near-complete draft, which must be in the mode required by the syllabus. They may provide feedback on the draft response in a variety of ways: in writing or orally; to an individual or to the whole class; and/or through questioning.

Providing feedback is a consultative process, not a marking process. Feedback on a draft must not compromise the authenticity of student work.

The feedback may vary depending on the nature of the task and may include suggestions such as:

  • considering other aspects of the text, report, performance or activity
  • developing the response to show more awareness of the intended audience or purpose
  • rearranging the sequence and structure of the response to prioritise the most important points
  • further investigating a concept to expand the response
  • synthesising the response by editing or removing excess information
  • adhering to the required response length by editing and refining the response, checking for relevance or repetition, etc.
  • adhering to the referencing style required by the task.

For more information about feedback in the broader context of a teaching, learning and assessment program, and the characteristics of effective feedback, see Section 8.2.4: Feedback.

8.2.6 Managing response length

In developing a response to an assessment instrument, students are required to meet the conditions outlined in the syllabus. One of these conditions is the response length.

Syllabuses describe assessment techniques and conditions for each assessment technique. Assessment instruments match syllabus requirements by indicating the required length of a response as either:

  • a range, e.g. word length (1000–1200 words), page count (9–11 pages), duration (5–8 minutes)


  • a maximum, e.g. word length (up to 1000 words), page count (up to 10 pages).

Response length information is provided to:

  • ensure equity of conditions for all students
  • indicate the scope and scale of the response required
  • support students to develop skills in managing the length, scope and scale of their responses appropriately
  • ensure that internal assessments developed for General, General (Extension) and Applied (Essential) subjects meet the requirements for endorsement
  • ensure that internal assessments developed for Applied subjects allow students to demonstrate the syllabus objectives across the range of standards and match the conditions described in the syllabus.

Strategies for managing response length

Schools should develop policies and procedures that include strategies for proactively managing response length before assessment is submitted, as well as strategies for managing the marking of responses that exceed the required length.

Schools consider how they will administer strategies fairly and consistently across all subjects and for all students.

Before the assessment is submitted

When developing and implementing an assessment instrument, schools should consider how to ensure that students are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skill within the required length. Teachers proactively support students to meet the syllabus requirements for the response length indicated in the assessment conditions when they:

  • develop valid assessment instruments of suitable scope and scale
  • emphasise the response length mandated by the syllabus
  • implement teaching and learning strategies so students can learn effective skills to use when responding to assessment instruments, for example,
    • provide examples of assessment responses within the required response length, i.e. word length, duration of time or page count
    • explicitly model how to create a draft and edit a response to an assessment in the required mode, i.e. written, spoken, multimodal, performance
    • provide students with feedback at checkpoints and on the draft in the required mode if the response does not match the required length
    • give advice to students about how to develop ideas and synthesise information relevant to the task and objectives being assessed to meet the assessment conditions
  • provide opportunities for students to practise responding within the required word length in examinations
  • ensure a process is enacted for compiling and editing supporting evidence in performance assessments (e.g. in Physical Education) so that it meets the syllabus condition for length
  • in performances with more than one student (e.g. in Drama), monitor students’ text selections to ensure they meet the syllabus performance time requirements for active engagement for each student.

After assessment is submitted

Schools develop policy and strategies, based on guidelines in this handbook, for marking student responses that exceed assessment conditions for response length and are submitted on or before the assessment due date. These strategies should be suitable for the school context, assessment technique and response type.

For written responses with a word or page limit, or responses with a duration (e.g. presentations or recordings), strategies include:

  • marking only the evidence in the student response that meets the assessment conditions for response length, that is, marking from the beginning of the response up to the point where the response meets the required length, and excluding evidence after that point.
  • allowing a student to redact a response to meet the required length before a judgment is made on the evidence in the student response. Teachers are not to redact a student response. It is also not appropriate for a student to redact a response that is
    • produced under exam conditions
    • in an assessment that requires a continuous response, such as a presentation or recording.

A school’s assessment policy provides details about how the school will administer strategies fairly and consistently across all subjects and students. In determining the school policy and strategies for managing response length after submission, schools consider:

  • which strategies are appropriate for specific techniques and response types
  • how to implement the strategy before awarding a result
  • how they ensure the assessment is administered to meet syllabus conditions.

Note, however, that when marking student responses, schools cannot:

  • change the tool (e.g. ISMG, instrument-specific standards, or reporting standards) being used for making a judgment
  • penalise students for submitting an over-length response by arbitrarily reducing their result, e.g. introducing a 2-mark penalty for an over-length response
  • increase the upper limit of a length described as a range in the syllabus, e.g. allowing a tolerance of +10%
  • increase working time, e.g. allowing students to take an over-length assignment home to redact.

In any case where the complete student response is not used to determine the result, teachers annotate the student response, ISMG or instrument-specific standards to indicate which evidence was used to make a judgment.

Samples reviewed for QCAA quality assurance processes

Samples submitted for quality assurance processes must adhere to the syllabus-specified response length. If a student has submitted an over-length response, the school must make it clear on the sample which strategy was applied, so that confirmers can review only the work that the teacher has marked. Schools can:

  • submit only the evidence in the student response used to determine the provisional mark per criterion


  • annotate the student response to indicate the evidence used to determine the mark.

Determining length of a response

Response length requirements are expressed in syllabuses as a word length, time duration or page count, and vary according to the technique and response type, such as written, spoken/signed and multimodal or performance responses.

Elements to be included in or excluded from the word length or page count of a written response are provided in the following table.

Determining word length and page count of a written response
  Word length Page count
  • all words in the text of the response
  • title, headings and subheadings
  • tables, figures, maps and diagrams containing information other than raw or processed data
  • quotations
  • footnotes and endnotes (unless used for bibliographical purposes)
  • all pages that are used as evidence when marking a response
  • title pages
  • contents pages
  • abstract
  • visual elements associated with the genre*
  • raw or processed data in tables, figures and diagrams
  • numbers, symbols, equations and calculations
  • bibliography/reference list
  • appendixes
  • page numbers
  • in-text citations
  • title pages
  • contents pages
  • abstract
  • bibliography/reference list
  • appendixes
  • blank pages
* For example, by-lines, banners, captions and call-outs used in genre-related written responses
Appendixes should contain only supplementary material that will not be directly used as evidence when marking the response.

Elements to be included in or excluded from the duration of a non-written response are provided in the following table.

Determining length of a non-written response
  Response length — durationNotes
  • Any items that form part of the response and chosen by the student for inclusion in the multimodal or presentation including introductory slides or excerpts such as video or music
  • Any required referencing of texts or citations chosen for inclusion, e.g. as a note on a slide in a multimodal presentation
See 'After assessment is submitted'
Exclusions Extraneous recording prior to the beginning of the response, e.g. setting up microphones, waiting for an audience to settle, talking about setting up. The exclusions for written responses do not apply as they are not relevant to a timed response.

Responsibilities for managing response length

Schools, teachers and students have specific responsibilities for ensuring that responses to assessment are the required length.

Schools should develop school-based policies and procedures that:

  • encourage students to respond to assessment instruments within the required length
  • provide students with the knowledge and skills to respond within the required length
  • emphasise the use of checkpoints, which include the draft due date, to provide each student with feedback about their response
  • include strategies to be implemented when a response exceeds the required length.


  • implement their school’s policies and procedures
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that students can respond to assessment instruments within the required length
  • work with students at checkpoints throughout the process, emphasising the conditions of the task including response length
  • use proactive strategies to support students to meet the syllabus requirements for the response length
  • annotate any student responses submitted on or before the due date that exceed the required length to indicate the strategy used to mark the response.


  • develop a response that meets the conditions of the assessment
  • respond to feedback about the length of their response
  • document the length of their response accurately in the measurement indicated in the syllabus: either a word length, duration of time, or page count.

8.2.7 Gathering evidence of student achievement

Schools are responsible for gathering evidence of student achievement in response to assessment on or before the due date for internal assessment instruments in all subjects for all units. Strategies may vary according to the assessment technique. As schools are required to maintain the integrity of assessment, it is not possible to gather evidence for the examination technique before the due date where the student is required to respond under supervised conditions to unseen questions or stimulus materials. There may be adjustments to processes or due dates in situations when a student is eligible for AARA, see Section 6: Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA), including illness and misadventure.

Schools should be proactive in developing strategies to gather evidence about student achievement throughout the teaching, learning and assessment process. They should:

  • establish effective strategies for gathering evidence before students submit or complete assessment tasks, e.g. work completed in class in response to the instrument such as a draft, rehearsal notes, photographs of work
  • consider the mode of the assessment and how to collect evidence that meets the conditions, e.g. for a spoken instrument, a spoken response rather than a draft of a written speech. A draft rendered by text-to-speech software is not appropriate, as the student’s voice is to be recorded
  • use checkpoints to indicate the timelines for the development of key components of a student’s response and allow for gathering evidence at key junctures, e.g. declared due date for: submission of a research question, a draft in the appropriate mode or submission of a final response for the assessment instrument
  • establish school approaches to assessment practices by ensuring information in this handbook and school-based policies are shared with school staff, students and their parents/carers, and that the procedures and processes are consistently applied across all subjects
  • provide points of intervention so that teachers, other school staff and parents/carers can provide support to prevent the non-submission of a response to assessment.

Evidence collected on or before the due date and teacher observations may be used to authenticate responses as the students own work.

Schools may use a variety of methods, both direct and indirect, to collect evidence and authenticate student responses. For the purpose of confirmation, direct evidence of the student’s response is required. Teacher observations are not sufficient on their own to support a judgment.

Due dates

Schools establish the due dates for all internal assessment, including summative internal assessment. In doing so, they consider a range of factors that suit the school context and the requirements to meet QCAA timelines for quality assurance and reporting activities.

When scheduling assessment, schools must ensure adherence to the syllabus conditions and equitable access for all students, as well as the school context.

When determining due dates, schools may consider the following:

  • monitoring of student progress
  • ensuring student work is their own
  • student access to support, and time to work on the assessment
  • students transferring between schools between terms
  • school context, e.g. the school calendar (including holidays, and planned school activities such as sports carnivals, performances and excursions), and students released for school-based apprenticeships.

As schools are responsible for setting due dates in response to local circumstances, they can adjust dates to suit their context while meeting QCAA timelines.

Due dates are made clear in advance to teachers, students and parents/carers and then consistently applied.

If a student has principal-reported AARA that require an extension of time, the student is given an adjusted due date. (see Section 6.4.1: Making decisions about AARA, and 6.4.4: Possible AARA).

If a student transfers into a school, the school may need to adjust the due date for assessment to allow the student to complete the learning and have the required time to complete the assessment and meet syllabus conditions (see Section 8.2.1: Engaging in learning and assessment and 9.7.5: Confirmation decision process).

Managing school-approved absences

Students may engage in a range of learning experiences or activities that exist outside traditional school-based activities. These activities may involve prolonged absences from school, do not meet the requirements for AARA or illness and misadventure applications and may coincide with scheduled assessment periods. Where appropriate, schools may approve student engagement in these experiences. If approved, the school should:

  • support student access to teaching and learning that will allow students to successfully meet assessment requirements (see Section 8.2.1: Engaging in learning and assessment)
  • maintain equitable assessment processes
  • meet QCAA quality assurance timelines.

The school assessment policy should outline the application and approval process including the timelines for applications. Situations that are of the student’s or parent/carer’s own choosing (e.g. family holidays) are not eligible for consideration.

Schools should consider planned school activities and refer to communication and calendars from key organisations to identify periods when students may be absent at approved activities and plan for these absences in the school’s assessment calendar. If a planned absence affects multiple students within a cohort, then an adjustment to the due date for the entire cohort would be appropriate. In Units 3 and 4, the adjusted due date needs to comply with quality assurance processes (e.g. Confirmation due dates) as published in the SEP calendar.

Examples of school-approved absences may include:

  • school excursions that cannot be scheduled at another time e.g. performances being viewed as part of the assessment program
  • school, district, regional, state or national representation for school-supported sport
  • school, district, regional, state or national representation for artistic endeavours
  • student exchange programs
  • audition or entrance exams (state, interstate or international).

The list of examples is not an exhaustive list and schools should seek advice from the QCAA in unusual circumstances before approving student absences, particularly if absences will have an impact on the completion of assessment.

If the school approves the absence and the student will be absent the day assessment is due, the following actions apply:

  • for examinations – schools offer a comparable examination before the due date (For more information about comparable assessment see Section 7.4: Developing a comparable assessment instrument). Schools are to implement processes that maintain the integrity of the original assessment for the remaining cohort. The school follows the required processes if a comparable assessment instrument is used for summative internal assessment in Units 3 or 4 (see Section 9.7.2: Confirmation process).
  • for non-examinations — students are required to submit/present the assessment on or before the due date.

If a student is participating in a state or national representative activity during the external examination period, they may submit a Variation to venue application (see Section 10.4: Assessment venues).

8.2.8 Authenticating student responses

Accurate judgments of student achievement can only be made on student assessment responses that are authenticated as the student’s own work. Schools and teachers should have strategies in place to ensure authenticity of student responses. Teachers are best positioned to determine authenticity of student work and are responsible for ensuring that it complies with syllabus requirements.

Strategies for establishing authorship

When developing an assessment instrument, schools should consider how student authorship of final responses will be established. Teachers may:

  • set an assessment task that expects each student to independently develop and produce a unique response
  • vary assessment tasks each year so students are unable to use other students’ responses from previous years
  • set aside enough class time for students to complete the assessment task and for teachers to monitor the development of the response.

Teachers can collect evidence during the development of responses to establish authorship of final responses. Teachers may:

  • monitor, collect or observe progressive samples of each student’s work at various stages. This process could be documented using an authentication record, checklist or photographs
  • interview or consult with each student at checkpoints during the development of the response to ensure that it is based on the student’s own work.

To establish authorship of final responses, teachers may:

  • directly compare the responses of students who have worked together in groups
  • for text, analyse final student responses using plagiarism-detection software
  • interview a sample of students after their responses have been submitted to determine their understanding of and familiarity with their responses
  • interview a student if their authorship of text, visual, audiovisual, performance or spoken/signed responses may have been compromised (e.g. by use of AI), to determine their understanding and familiarity with their response
  • use internal quality assurance processes such as cross-marking if there is more than one class for a subject cohort.

Responsibilities for establishing authorship

Teachers, students and parents/carers have specific responsibilities for establishing authorship of responses.

Teachers should:

  • take reasonable steps to ensure that each student’s work is their own across a range of conditions, particularly when students
    • have access to electronic resources, including AI
    • are preparing responses to collaborative tasks, and
    • have access to others’ ideas and work
  • collect evidence of the authenticity of student responses throughout the process (such as classwork, outlines, plans or a draft).

Students should:

  • complete responses during the designated class time to ensure teachers can observe the development of work and authenticate student responses
  • participate in authentication processes as required by schools, such as to
    • sign a declaration of authenticity
    • submit a draft
    • submit the final response using plagiarism-detection software, where required
    • participate in interviews during and after the development of the final response.

Parents/carers can:

  • support the efforts of teachers and students to authenticate responses by ensuring that the student
    • understands their responsibilities to maintain academic integrity
    • is aware of and follows the school's assessment policy, including the guidelines for drafting and providing feedback on a draft student response (see Section 8.2.5: Drafting).

For strategies for managing instances where a response to an assessment instrument cannot be authenticated as the student’s own, see Section 11.1.5: Inability to establish authorship.

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