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9.6 Endorsement (Units 3 and 4)

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Endorsement is an annual quality assurance process based on the validity and accessibility attributes of quality assessment. It is applied to summative internal assessment instruments of:

  • Essential English and Essential Mathematics
  • all General subjects, including General (Extension) subjects.

Endorsement gives schools confidence that their assessment instruments provide valid opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and can do. Endorsement builds teachers’ capacity to develop quality assessment that is comparable across Queensland schools.

Summative assessment instruments from Units 3 and 4 must be endorsed by QCAA-trained endorsers before they can be administered in schools. Schools submit the three summative internal assessment instruments and their supporting documents via the QCAA Portal, according to the timelines published in the SEP calendar.

Additional assessment that is not specified in syllabuses is considered formative assessment and does not contribute to students’ results for a course of study. These assessments are not part of the endorsement process.

Schools can submit only one version of an assessment instrument for endorsement, to be used with a cohort of students. Schools are responsible for maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the endorsed assessment instrument.


Schools apply to the QCAA to have their assessment instruments endorsed for each new cohort of students. All assessment instrument development, submission, review and decisions are conducted through the Endorsement application in the QCAA Portal, following the timelines published in the SEP calendar.

If an instrument is not endorsed in the first application the school takes the required actions and applies for endorsement again.

Endorsement process overview
Figure 2: Overview of the endorsement application process

Detailed description of this diagram

The QCAA is responsible for managing the endorsement process, providing endorsement information and support to schools, and training teachers with subject expertise to evaluate assessment instruments for endorsement. Chief endorsers sample schools’ summative internal assessment instruments and endorsement decisions from Application 1, Application 2 and intervention (if applicable) to provide advice to the QCAA about the effectiveness of the endorsement process. Chief endorsers complete sampling at the end of each endorsement event to provide information that can be used to refine processes or provide information for assessors and schools, in preparation for the next endorsement event.

The chief endorser for each subject contributes to an annual subject report to communicate findings of the endorsement process, which is available to schools to inform future practice. See Section 11.3.4: QCAA reporting to the public.


Endorsement is an annual process that applies to summative internal assessments. Timelines for key communications between the QCAA and schools, and specific dates for endorsement, are published in the SEP calendar and through the Endorsement application in the QCAA Portal.

The sequence of assessment instruments submitted for endorsement is not the same for all General subjects. Subject offering information entered by the school in the Student Management application determines assessment instrument submission for endorsement. Timelines for specific assessment techniques and stages in the endorsement process are displayed in the dashboard of the Endorsement application.

Subject offerings and variations to delivery pattern

Schools make decisions about subject offerings and the sequence of delivery of summative internal assessment instruments. Choices about subject offerings or changes to subject offerings, including sequencing of internal assessment, need to be made by the dates published in the SEP calendar to ensure timelines for endorsement are met.

Compressed subject offerings

Contact for information about the endorsement process for schools with compressed subject offerings.

9.6.1 Developing assessment instruments for endorsement

Schools are responsible for developing assessment instruments. The QCAA provides various resources to help schools develop effective assessment instruments that meet the requirements for endorsement. Schools are advised to refer to the following resources prior to developing or refining assessment for each new cohort:

  • assessment specifications and conditions information in each syllabus
  • sample assessment instruments available via the QCAA Portal
  • instrument-specific assessment templates in the Endorsement application
  • instrument-specific quality assurance tools for each syllabus, which include evaluation criteria
  • instrument-specific advice about changes to assessment instruments each year: Guidelines for reviewing and developing assessment instruments,available via the QCAA Portal  > Syllabus application > Resources tab
  • information about endorsement submission requirements
  • annual subject reports that include advice about assessment development based on sampling of the endorsement and confirmation processes from the previous year
  • a professional learning program. See the QCE Assessment literacy program or complete the assessment literacy courses in the QCAA Portal
  • consultation with QCAA subject officers
  • a timeline for the submission of instruments for Essential English, Essential Mathematics and all General and General (Extension) syllabuses, in the SEP calendar.

The instrument-specific assessment templates are tailored to each assessment instrument and syllabus. Summative internal assessment instruments must be developed in the templates provided in the Endorsement application. These include:

  • space to include school details (visible only to the school)
  • prepopulated conditions
  • free-text sections to construct assessment items
  • the ISMG for General and General (Extension) syllabuses or instrument-specific standards for Essential English and Essential Mathematics — schools cannot modify the ISMG or instrument-specific standards.
  • space for brief stimulus items, if required. Schools can submit large stimulus items, audio and audiovisual files, or additional supporting materials, such as data or answer schemes, separately via the QCAA Portal.

The endorsement submission information, located in the Syllabus application in the QCAA Portal, provides details about stimulus, marking schemes and indicative response requirements, including acceptable file types and sizes for attachments.

Schools determine which staff have which responsibilities in the endorsement process for each subject and allocate the appropriate Endorsement application roles to these staff in the QCAA Portal:

  • Editor role: Editors develop the assessment instruments for the subjects they are allocated.
  • Approver role: The approver/s ensure that internal quality assurance processes have been implemented for the assessment instrument/s of the subject/s they are allocated and the assessment instruments are ready for submission.
  • Submitter role: The submitter, typically the principal’s delegate, is responsible for ensuring that the school’s assessments meet the endorsement requirements for each IA, for each subject, before submitting the assessment instruments.

All staff with an endorsement role can edit assessment templates. Further information about allocating roles can be found in the Help guides in the Endorsement application.

For endorsement, an assessment instrument is comprised of:

  • item/s constructed in the assessment template
  • the ISMG or instrument-specific standards provided
  • stimulus, if required
  • marking scheme, for short/combination response examinations (refer to the Endorsement submission information, which is located with syllabus-support materials in the QCAA Portal).

Schools can access quality assurance tools via the QCAA Portal Syllabus or Endorsement applications, to internally quality assure their own assessment instruments before they are submitted for endorsement. These quality assurance tools align to the Assessment evaluation that is used by QCAA endorsers.

9.6.2 Application 1


Schools develop and submit the summative internal assessment instrument in the template provided in the Endorsement application and upload any supporting materials (e.g. stimulus, data and marking schemes) that are required. The endorsement submitter must submit the assessment instrument on behalf of the school through the Endorsement application on or before the due date published in the SEP calendar.


Each summative internal assessment instrument submitted by schools is evaluated by a QCAA endorser and a lead endorser in the Endorsement application. The endorser who conducts the initial evaluation does not know which school’s assessment instrument they are reviewing. During the evaluation, the name of the school is made known to the lead endorser, as they may need to consult with the school if the assessment instrument is not endorsed.

Endorsement decisions are based on the demonstration of two of the attributes of quality assessment — validity and accessibility.

The endorser and lead endorser use the instrument-specific Assessment evaluation to determine whether the assessment instrument meets the requirements for endorsement.

QCAA assessors for endorsement use the online Assessment evaluation form to ensure consistency when reviewing summative internal assessment instruments. This is based on the attributes of quality assessment and assessment practices specific to each assessment instrument, as described in the syllabus. Schools must satisfy all criteria on the Assessment evaluation for the summative internal assessment instrument to be endorsed.

The Assessment evaluation criteria are based on the priorities of assessment (access information about Assessment literacy professional learning, particularly Course 1: ‘Attributes of quality assessment’, via the Assessment literacy webpage and refer to:

  • opportunities for students to demonstrate relevant subject matter and assessment objectives
  • opportunities to demonstrate the range of performance levels/syllabus standards
  • alignment to assessment specifications for the technique
  • conventions for item construction
  • scope and scale of the assessment items for the defined syllabus conditions
  • authentication strategies for the assessment instrument
  • scaffolding that informs students about the requirements for their response
  • accessibility for the intended audience, including transparency, bias avoidance, language and layout.

Endorsement decision

The endorsement decision is the official record provided to schools to communicate the endorsement outcome for each summative internal assessment instrument. It is completed by the lead endorser or chief endorser and is recorded in the QCAA Portal.

Endorsement decisions are published in the Endorsement application on a specified date as per the SEP calendar. Schools are advised to check the status of assessment as early as possible to allow sufficient time for consultation with a lead endorser.

Information provided through the endorsement decision can be viewed by editors, approvers and submitters who have been assigned the subject in the Endorsement application for the school.

There is no conditional endorsement: assessment instruments are endorsed, or not endorsed.

If the summative internal assessment instrument is endorsed, the school can administer it with students. All endorsed materials remain in the QCAA Portal to support the confirmation process.

If an assessment instrument is not endorsed at the first application, the endorsement decision also communicates:

  • timelines and procedures for consultation and Application 2
  • directives that must be followed by the school to meet the endorsement criteria that were not met. The directives identify the issue, action required, location and a syllabus reference, if relevant
  • the name of the lead endorser who evaluated the assessment instrument. Schools can consult with the lead endorser within the set timelines in the Endorsement application, to seek clarification about the endorsement directives, if required, via telephone or email.

If the summative internal assessment instrument is not endorsed after the first application, schools must follow the directives given in the endorsement decision before applying internal quality assurance processes and submitting a second application for endorsement.

9.6.3 Consultation

Schools are strongly encouraged to consult with the lead endorser who constructed the endorsement decision directives, to ensure that they understand the directives and apply them effectively before submitting Application 2; it is too late afterwards. Schools may refer to Endorsement consultation: Protocol for lead and chief endorsers in the Endorsement application.

Schools have one school week from the publication of endorsement decisions to complete consultation. The consultation is initiated by the school using the booking feature in the Endorsement application.

During consultation, schools can seek clarification of directives, and advice and guidance. This may include questions relating to:

  • endorsement issues identified in the directive
  • knowledge and understanding of
    • the relevant syllabus
    • relevant sections of this handbook
    • relevant QCAA assessment literacy courses
    • the assessment technique and sample instruments
  • actions identified in the directive.

Schools are encouraged not to resubmit their assessment instrument for Application 2 until they have finalised their consultation, should further changes be recommended during consultation. The assessment instrument must be submitted by the due date for Application 2, which typically occurs one week after consultation concludes.

Consultation is intended to support schools to achieve endorsement. It is not a negotiation process, and the QCAA will not reverse an endorsement decision following consultation. Consultation is not available for assessment instruments that have been endorsed.

9.6.4 Application 2

The Application 2 evaluation is conducted by the lead endorser that completed the evaluation at Application 1. It is only undertaken by schools that had an assessment not endorsed in Application 1.

9.6.5 Intervention

Intervention is the process for supporting schools whose instruments are not endorsed after the second application. The QCAA does not provide schools with summative internal assessment instruments.

Level 1 intervention: Individual assessment instrument

If, after two applications, a school cannot achieve endorsement of a summative internal assessment instrument, the QCAA escalates the assessment instrument to the chief endorser for intervention. The process is as follows.

  • A lead endorser completes the assessment evaluation and identifies that at least one assessment practice is not demonstrated and that therefore the assessment instrument is not endorsed at Application 2. At this stage, the instrument is locked and cannot be edited by the school until the start of the intervention process. Intervention does not begin until all Application 2 decisions have been published; see the timelines for completion of Application 2, published in the SEP calendar.
  • An intervention officer may be appointed to assist the chief endorser where there is a large number of assessment instruments at intervention, for a subject.
  • The chief endorser or intervention officer is given access to the assessment instrument at Applications 1 and 2, to enable consultation with the school. The chief endorser unlocks the assessment instrument to enable the school to make the required changes and initiates a consultation request with the school.
  • Consultation with the chief endorser or intervention officer is required before the school makes and submits the identified changes to the assessment instrument.
  • The school resubmits the summative internal assessment instrument via the Endorsement application once the required changes have been made and internal quality assurance processes have been applied.
  • The chief endorser or intervention officer evaluates the assessment instrument and completes the endorsement decision. Once the school receives notification the instrument is endorsed it can be administered with students.
  • If the instrument still cannot be endorsed the chief endorser or intervention officer conducts further intervention with the school. The school recalls the instrument, consults with the chief endorser, ensures the required changes are made and then resubmits the instrument for the chief to complete the process again.

Level 2 intervention: Multiple assessment instruments

If multiple assessment instruments submitted by a school cannot be endorsed, the QCAA contacts the principal or principal’s delegate to identify the strategies and additional support required to resolve systemic issues. Schools may work with chief endorser/s and other staff of the QCAA to address systemic assessment issues.

9.6.6 Amending an endorsed assessment instrument (whole cohort)

Only summative internal assessment instruments that have been endorsed can be used with students.

After endorsement, a school may request an amendment to an endorsed summative internal assessment instrument before it is administered with the entire cohort of students. An amendment replaces the endorsed summative internal assessment instrument for all students and may include substitution of stimulus items, questions or topic, or correction of school-identified errors.

An amendment is not an adjustment for AARA; nor is it used to cater for students who were absent at the time of assessment. For endorsement procedures for AARA, and illness and misadventure, see Section 9.6.7: Endorsement requirements for illness and misadventure (individual students).

To apply to amend an endorsed assessment instrument, schools open the endorsed assessment instrument’s template from the Endorsement application and select the option to modify the assessment. Schools then:

  • select the reason for the amendment
  • develop, approve and submit the proposed amended assessment instrument
  • upload any relevant materials, e.g. marking schemes or stimulus.

The amended assessment instrument is submitted to a QCAA lead endorser who evaluates the amended instrument and communicates the endorsement decision via the QCAA Portal. Schools should allow a two-week period for the amendment to be approved.

Schools can only submit one amendment application for each assessment instrument. If an amended assessment instrument cannot be endorsed, the school is required to administer the summative internal assessment instrument that was endorsed.

A school can replace a marking scheme for an examination without seeking an amendment. The school must delete the superseded marking scheme before a new version can be uploaded in the Attachments tab in the Endorsement application.

A school that requires an amendment due to an emergent situation should contact the Quality Assurance Unit to discuss possible actions and timelines.

Comparable assessments

A comparable assessment instrument is different from an amendment. An amendment is used where an assessment instrument needs to be adjusted for an entire cohort of students. A comparable assessment instrument is an alternative assessment instrument that can be used with an individual student or small groups of students within a cohort due to illness, misadventure or school-approved absence for an examination, to maintain the integrity of the assessment instrument. Schools may develop more than one comparable assessment instrument, if required.

For more information on when and how to develop a comparable assessment for an endorsed assessment instrument see Section 7.4: Developing a comparable assessment instrument.

9.6.7 Endorsement requirements for illness and misadventure (individual students)

Illness and misadventure may prevent a single student or a group of students from participating in a summative internal assessment instrument at the same time as other students in the cohort (see Section 6: Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA), including illness and misadventure). Where possible, schools should implement strategies that maintain the integrity of the endorsed assessment instrument, which includes being able to authenticate a student’s response as their own. In most cases, students affected by illness and misadventure should be able to complete the endorsed assessment instrument.

Comparable assessments

If a school determines that the integrity of the endorsed assessment instrument is compromised for one or more students affected by illness or misadventure, they should seek advice about the most suitable course of action by emailing the QCAA at This might include developing a comparable assessment in consultation with the QCAA. A comparable assessment is not suitable for use with the whole cohort. For more information on when and how to develop a comparable assessment for an endorsed assessment instrument, see Section 7.4: Developing a comparable assessment instrument.

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