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Advice for teachers -
Specialist Mathematics


Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. At the senior secondary level it:

  • identifies opportunities for further learning
  • describes student achievement
  • articulates and maintains standards
  • provides the basis for the award of a certificate.

As part of VCE studies, assessment tasks enable:

  • the demonstration of the achievement of an outcome or set of outcomes for satisfactory completion of a unit
  • judgment and reporting of a level of achievement for school-based assessments at Units 3 and 4.

The following are the principles that underpin all VCE assessment practices. These are extracted from the VCAA Principles and guidelines for the development and review of VCE Studies.

VCE assessment will be validThis means that it will enable judgments to be made about demonstration of the outcomes and levels of achievement on assessment tasks fairly, in a balanced way and without adverse effects on the curriculum or for the education system. The overarching concept of validity is elaborated as follows.
VCE assessment should be fair and reasonableAssessment should be acceptable to stakeholders including students, schools, government and the community. The system for assessing the progress and achievement of students must be accessible, effective, equitable, reasonable and transparent.

The curriculum content to be assessed must be explicitly described to teachers in each study design and related VCAA documents. Assessment instruments should not assess learning that is outside the scope of a study design.

Each assessment instrument (for example, examination, assignment, test, project, practical, oral, performance, portfolio, presentation or observational schedule) should give students clear instructions. It should be administered under conditions (degree of supervision, access to resources, notice and duration) that are substantially the same for all students undertaking that assessment.

Authentication and school moderation of assessment and the processes of external review and statistical moderation are to ensure that assessment results are fair and comparable across the student cohort for that study.

VCE assessment should be equitableAssessment instruments should neither privilege nor disadvantage certain groups of students or exclude others on the basis of gender, culture, linguistic background, physical disability, socioeconomic status and geographical location.

Assessment instruments should be designed so that, under the same or similar conditions, they provide consistent information about student performance. This may be the case when, for example, alternatives are offered at the same time for assessment of an outcome (which could be based on a choice of context) or at a different time due to a student’s absence.

VCE assessment will be balancedThe set of assessment instruments used in a VCE study will be designed to provide a range of opportunities for a student to demonstrate in different contexts and modes the knowledge, skills, understanding and capacities set out in the curriculum. This assessment will also provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate different levels of achievement specified by suitable criteria, descriptors, rubrics or marking schemes.

Judgment about student level of achievement should be based on the results from a variety of practical and theoretical situations and contexts relevant to a study. Students may be required to respond in written, oral, performance, product, folio, multimedia or other suitable modes as applicable to the distinctive nature of a study or group of related studies.

VCE assessment will be efficientThe minimum number of assessments for teachers and assessors to make a robust judgment about each student’s progress and learning will be set out in the study design. Each assessment instrument must balance the demands of precision with those of efficiency. Assessment should not generate workload and/or stress that unduly diminish the performance of students under fair and reasonable circumstances.