Assessment Policy & Procedures

Assessment Policy

PHILOSOPHY

Assessment is the process of identifying, gathering, evaluating and interpreting information about student learning.  The purpose of assessment is to measure student progress and achievement, to inform and improve the teaching and learning process, and to provide students with feedback to allow for reflective self-evaluation.  

De La Salle Catholic College, Caringbah regards assessment as vital to the overall growth of our students as it provides students with opportunities to produce work that leads to the development of their knowledge, skills and understanding.  Assessment also provides valuable information that can be used by teachers to evaluate and improve their teaching and learning practices.  

For assessment to be most effective, it needs to be ongoing.  Prior to the commencement of a unit of work, students’ prior knowledge, skills and special learning needs need to be determined (diagnostic assessment) to determine the most suitable teaching and learning strategies.  Throughout the unit, informal assessment can provide feedback to both the students and teacher on the progress of learning and effectiveness of teaching and learning strategies, and highlight any weaknesses that should be addressed (formative assessment).  At the conclusion of a unit of work, formal assessment tasks allow for the measurement of learning gain (summative assessment) and provide an opportunity to evaluate the teaching process.  At De La Salle Catholic College, Caringbah, formal assessment tasks are outcomes-based and form the basis of reporting.

PROCESS

Developing Assessment Tasks

The Curriculum Coordinator is responsible for liaising with the KLA Coordinators to determine the practices and procedures to be used in all formal assessments.  KLA Coordinators are responsible for facilitating the development and implementation of the assessment tasks in the courses taught under his/her direction.  KLA Coordinators are also responsible for ensuring that all information pertaining to assessment in their KLA is available electronically from the De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah Assessment site – this includes the Assessment Handbook, Assessment Schedule, Assessment Notifications, revision information / resources, and Assessment Task instructions.

At the beginning of each year, students receive an Assessment Handbook that contains information including the College’s Assessment Policies and Procedures, and an Assessment Schedule detailing number of tasks, weightings, outcomes to be measured and course requirements.  At the beginning of each semester, students also receive a Summary Assessment Schedule outlining formal assessment tasks and due dates for that semester.  In addition, students will also receive a “Formal Assessment Notification” at least 2 weeks before each task is due.  This will include a description of the task, outcomes to be assessed, marking criteria and due date.

Assessment Principles

In developing the most appropriate assessment tasks for students, consideration should be given to the following.

  1. All assessment practices and procedures used by each KLA must comply with the requirements of the Board of Studies, the Catholic Education Office and the College.

  2. Assessment tasks should be outcomes-based and standards-referenced.  Marking criteria and guidelines should be developed for all tasks to indicate achievement levels in terms of content and skills.

  3. Within each KLA, assessment tasks should assess a wide range of syllabus knowledge, skills and understanding outcomes as well as measure the development of student literacy and numeracy skills.

  4. Assessment tasks should be varied and take several forms including tests/exams, assignments, research tasks, oral presentation, work samples, ICT products etc, in order to reflect the broad diversity of student-preferred learning styles.

  5. In designing assessment tasks teachers should consider differentiation to enable students of all ability levels to access the tasks appropriately.  This would include increasing complexity and abstraction for students with high levels of ability and providing additional scaffolding and more simplified tasks for students with lower levels of ability.  

  6. Identified students who receive Special Needs funding will be offered Special Provisions including extra time and/or reader and writer.  Other students may apply for special provisions should they become necessary through illness and misadventure.

  7. Except during examination periods, students should not be required to undertake more than two assessment tasks on the same day.

  8. To ensure the validity of an assessment task, it is the KLA coordinator’s responsibility to ensure fair distribution of the task, equitable collection, common/corporate marking, accurate recording and consistent and timely feedback to students.

  9. Assessment tasks should be regularly evaluated and improved to ensure optimum effectiveness.

Completion of Examinations

It is the right of every student to be given the best opportunity to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding during every examination. Therefore, we treat very seriously any situation where a student has this right taken away from them by a peer. Students who disrupt the work of others during an examination will be removed from the venue and asked to complete their task under supervision of the Assistant Principal or their representative. Such students will, on completion of the task be subject to the rules outlined below in the ‘Non-Serious Attempt’ section of this document.

Fairness dictates that any form of communication (e.g. talking, pointing, making signals or other) between students is not allowed during an exam. It is often difficult to tell if communication is designed to give an unfair advantage or is simply incidental, therefore, any such circumstance will be considered cheating and treated as such.

Online exams are becoming more common across the College. Students need to be aware of following the instructions given out during these tasks to avoid even the appearance of an unfair advantage. In general, unless otherwise stated, students should never have more than one program, window or tab open at any time during an exam.

Submission of Assessment Tasks

Assessment tasks are to be submitted at the start of the subject lesson on the day that they are due.  If students do not have that subject on the due date, then it must be submitted to the teacher or KLA Coordinator no later than 3.00pm on the due date, unless otherwise directed by their teacher.  Students are responsible for ensuring they know when assessment tasks are due (as noted above, they are provided with Assessment Schedules and Assessment Notifications).  Students will receive written notification in the event that the advertised due date of an assessment task needs to be changed. Any changes to the submission procedures outlined in this section should be clearly stated on the assessment notification.


If a student is absent when a task is handed out, it is the responsibility of the student to check with the teacher what work has been missed and if any assessment tasks or relevant information was given out on the day(s) he was absent.  If the teacher is absent on the due date, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the assessment task is handed to the appropriate KLA Coordinator by 3.00pm on that day.

In cases of extenuating circumstances, there may be occasions where a student needs more time to complete an assessment task.  In these cases, a request for an extension must be made to the KLA Coordinator well in advance of the due date.  

In cases where a student knows they are going to be away on the due date, it is his responsibility for ensuring the task is submitted before he goes on leave.


Failure to submit an Assessment Task on time / Failure to sit for an Examination

In cases where a student fails to submit an assessment task on the due date or fails to sit for an examination, a zero mark will be recorded.

Upon his return to the College, it is the student’s responsibility to complete an Illness/Misadventure form outlining the reasons for the failure to submit an assessment task on time and/or absence from an exam, to request a review for the marks to be awarded.  This request will be reviewed by the class teacher, the KLA Coordinator and the Pastoral Coordinator, with the final decision made by the Curriculum Coordinator.

In all cases the assessment task / examination must be completed as soon as possible so that learning can be assessed and feedback given.  

Year 7 & 8 (Stage 4) Assessment Tasks and Examinations:

Where a student fails to submit an assessment task on time, or misses a formal examination without a valid reason, this will be noted in the student’s diary.  An Interim Report will be sent informing parents/carers that the student is in danger of not completing the course requirements and that the student will be required to complete the task under supervision of the KLA Coordinator/Curriculum Coordinator after school.  While the student’s performance of individual outcomes will be assessed and feedback will be given, an overall mark of zero will be recorded, pending the result of any Illness / Misadventure review.

Note that the student is required to complete the assessment task in all cases.


Year 9 & 10 (Stage 5) Assessment Tasks and Examinations: “N” Warnings

To meet the requirements for the Record of School Achievement, the Board of Studies NSW requires that students satisfactorily complete course requirements; failure to do so may result in the student being ineligible for the Record of School Achievement.  In Year 9 and 10 a Medical Certificate is required in the case of illness and a written parental explanation for misadventure.  In cases where a Year 9 or 10 student fails to complete an assessment task on time, or misses a formal examination without a valid reason, a note will be made in the student’s diary.  An “N” warning letter (non-completion) will be sent to parents/carers informing them that their son is in danger of not completing course requirements.  The reply slip must be returned to the Curriculum Coordinator.  Upon the satisfactory completion of the assessment task within the specified time period outlined in the “N” warning letter, the task will be marked and feedback given. While the student’s performance of individual outcomes will be assessed and graded, an overall mark of zero will be recorded, pending the result of any Illness / Misadventure review.

Following the first warning letter, if the task is still not satisfactorily completed within the specified time, a second warning letter will be issued informing parents/carers that the student will now be required to complete the task under supervision of the KLA Coordinator/Curriculum Coordinator after school.  The assessment task will be marked and feedback given.  While the student’s performance of individual outcomes will be assessed and graded, an overall mark of zero will be recorded, pending the result of any Illness / Misadventure review.  Note:  A second ‘N’ warning letter may be considered sufficient for an ‘N’ determination for that subject, thereby placing the student’s Record of School Achievement in jeopardy.  

Note that the student is required to complete the assessment task in all cases.

Electronic Equipment Failure

Given the easy access of all students to computers, the internet and printers at school, electronic equipment failure is not an acceptable reason for the late submission of a task.  Students are encouraged to always complete work before the due date and to regularly backup all of their work onto an external hard drive.  Students are also encouraged to print off their drafts as evidence of their ongoing work.  Students should keep their data safe by ensuring that their passwords are secure and that virus protection software is used where appropriate.


Plagiarism and Cheating

Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work without giving them credit, such as copying another student’s answers or work and copying slabs of information from books or the Internet.  Students who plagiarise or cheat in any assessment task will receive a mark of zero and an “N” grade will be recorded against assessable outcomes; where an assessment task is partially plagiarised, students will only receive a mark based on the non-plagiarised section.  An Interim Report will be sent to parents to inform them of the malpractice.  Any other student who is determined to have assisted with malpractice will also be liable to a zero result.  In such circumstances, teachers may allocate an alternate task for these students to satisfy curriculum requirements.

Non-Serious Attempt

Non-serious attempts in assessment tasks include making no attempt to answer questions, frivolous and objectionable answers.  Penalties for non-serious attempts range from a zero mark and an “N’ warning through to ineligibility for the NSW Record of School Achievement.

Resubmission of Assessment Tasks

In certain circumstances it may be possible for students to resubmit an assessment task.  This will allow students to further develop their knowledge, skills and understanding by using feedback given by teachers on the original assessment task.  In these cases, the original grade will be used when determining awards, while the grades from the resubmitted task may be used to determine outcome grades on reports.  In all instances, the opportunity for a student to resubmit an assessment task is a matter for the KLA Coordinator to determine.

Review Process

A student may request a formal review of a zero mark or an ‘N’ determination or any decision relating to the non-completion of a task or malpractice in writing to the Curriculum Coordinator.  A panel consisting of the Assistant Principal, the Curriculum Coordinator and a teacher nominated by the student will then consider the matter.  The student will be notified of the panel’s decision in writing.  



.Reporting Policy

PHILOSOPHY

De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah regards reporting as an essential aspect of the teaching and learning process.  Reports provide the student, family and wider community with an indication of the student’s progress, performance and level of achievement in the courses undertaken in a given semester.  

At De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah, we believe that reporting should:

  • Be regular and systematic;

  • Be based upon a variety of accurate, valid and reliable assessment practices;

  • Be a comprehensive outcomes-based assessment of a student’s progress, performance and level of achievement, that is consistent with the standards set by the Board of Studies NSW;

  • Be written in plain-English to clearly communicate information about a student’s knowledge, skills and understanding; and

  • Provide an indication of the student’s personal development.

PROCESS

  • Reporting occurs at the end of each semester.

  • A common report template is to be used which includes:

    • An Academic Profile (with course-specific outcome statements developed by each KLA);

    • A Personal Profile (with standard statements for all courses); and

    • A Course Tally and Overall Grade (indicating the student’s ranking within the year group cohort.  Note that the Course Tally and Overall Grade must be the same.)

  • The course-specific outcomes developed by each KLA may include optional outcomes for those students with Special Needs that have been given assistance in assessment tasks.

  • The reports are complemented by Parent/Teacher Conferences.

Determining Grades

The process of determining grades requires teachers to use assessment information to make a professional, summative judgement of each student's overall level of achievement.  Teachers should refer to the Board of Studies NSW Course Performance Descriptors to determine the grade that most accurately describes the student's achievement (see below).


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Grade

General Performance Descriptors

A

The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the content and can readily apply this knowledge.  In addition the student has achieved a very high level of competence in the processes and skills of the course and can apply these skills to new situations.

B

The student has a thorough knowledge of and understanding of the content and a high level of competence in the processes and skills.  In addition, the student is able to apply this knowledge and these skills to most new situations.

C

The student has a sound knowledge and understanding of the main areas of content and has achieved an adequate level of competence in the process and skills.

D

The student has a basic knowledge and understanding of the content and has achieved a limited level of competence in the processes and skills.

E

The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding in few areas of the content and has achieved very limited competence in some of the processes and skills.