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​​​Formation of Small Group Partnerships for School-Based Assessment

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Any school with fewer than five enrolments in any Unit 3 and 4 study is required to form a small group partnership with another school for the purposes of statistical moderation of School-Based Assessment. Schools with small groups must initiate the formation of the partnership and ensure that it operates effectively. If problems are encountered, the Student Records and Results unit may be contacted for advice.

An important aspect of the successful implementation of the Small Group partnership process is the level and consistency of interaction between schools. Schools may use any method of interaction which is appropriate.  These include telephone, fax, post, e-mail and face to face meetings.

Schools must keep copies of the following documents at the school.

  • Single list of cross marked scores for all the students in the partnership (from all schools involved)
  • A copy of the partner school's VASS printout of the assessments for all school-based assessment tasks
  • VCAA partnership agreement form signed by the school principal of each school involved in the partnership. Each school is required to keep their own copy of the completed form
  • A list of dates of meetings/contacts between schools
  • A copy of agreed assessment criteria

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Best Practice

The VCAA expects that participating teachers will follow best practice when conducting partnerships. Best practice would include:

  • School principals being informed of the initial formation of the partnership, the ongoing maintenance of the partnership and the resultant cross-marked school-based assessment scores
  • School principals being informed of any conflict that may arise and the measures taken to resolve any issues
  • Teachers in the partnership making contact as early in the school year as possible and keeping written records of meetings, telephone calls, e-mail and any other appropriate interaction
  • The initial meeting covering the requirements of the study design, chosen assessment tasks and the assessment criteria for each task or outcome. Teachers are also required to agree on the procedures for ensuring comparability of assessment tasks and the schedule and marking schemes of any tasks to be done in common
  • Each school marking their own students work and selecting student work for cross marking
  • Each school entering the scores for its own students on VASS
  • Each school sending a copy of the VASS printout of the assessments for all school-based assessment tasks to their other school/s to verify that scores have been entered correctly

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How to register a partnership

Schools wishing to form partnerships must first exchange partnership agreement forms and then enter their partnership details directly onto VASS. Once partnership details are entered onto VASS, schools must re-enter VASS and check that all schools in the partnership have 'ticked' the approval button. Partnerships cannot be considered as 'valid' by the VCAA unless all schools in the partnership group have approved their involvement.

Small Group partnership Agreement form

A Small Group partnership agreement form is to be completed for each study for which a partnership has been formed. The agreement form is to be endorsed by the school Principal of each school in the partnership and retained by the school until March of the following year. It may be requested by the VCAA for audit purposes. Note: this form is available to schools through VASS.

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Exemption From Small Group Partnership

Where a school is able to demonstrate that it is unable to form a partnership, the VCAA will grant an exemption. Requests for exemption must be submitted in writing to the Student Records and Results unit. The letter must state the reason/s for the requested exemption and must be endorsed by the school Principal. Exemption requests can be accepted up until October 31.

Dissolving a Partnership

If a teacher in a partnership is not satisfied that there is enough collegiality between the partner schools, or feels that the partnership is not working satisfactorily, then it is best for the students concerned that the partnership is dissolved.

If a partnership is not working satisfactorily and both teachers have tried to reach a resolution then the partnership can be dissolved. Requests for dissolution of a partnership must be submitted in writing and endorsed by the Principal of each school involved. These requests are to be addressed to the Manager, Student Records and Results and must list the reason/s for the request. The VCAA will then remove the partnership from the database and award an exemption where necessary i.e. for the schools with fewer than 5 enrolments. Alternatively, the 'small school' can form a new partnership with another school

Some examples of an unsatisfactory partnership are:

  • regular and sufficient communication is not maintained
  • standard of tasks to be set cannot be agreed upon or a compromise met
  • standard of assessment cannot be agreed upon or a compromise met
  • level and spread of student coursework scores cannot be agreed to
  • a teacher may feel pressured to agree to assessments they don't believe best reflect the students ability

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Combining Groups for School-assessed Tasks

Schools wishing to combine for School-assessed Tasks should also enter their details directly onto VASS.

Please note that only the following studies have School-assessed Tasks

  • Art
  • Product Design and Technology
  • Food and Technology
  • Media
  • Studio Arts
  • Systems and Engineering
  • Visual Communication and Design

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  • VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook Part B, Section 4.5.

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For clarification of any information regarding small group partnerships please contact,

Student Records and Results Unit