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Continuity of learning for senior secondary students

24 March 2020

Note:  This information is designed to address the specific concerns of principals and teachers. It will be updated regularly. Please come back to this page to ensure you have the latest version.

A. Context

The VCAA is taking a flexible and agile approach to meeting emerging issues and is relying on schools to be similarly flexible and agile in ensuring continuity of learning and delivery of assessment.

Effective teaching and learning aligns the delivery of content with formative assessment to inform future curriculum delivery.  The VCAA is committed to support teachers to deliver a quality learning program during periods where students may be self-isolating at home or schools are closed for an extended period due to COVID-19.

B. School-assessed Coursework

The VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2020 currently details that work which contributes to both unit outcomes and School-assessed Coursework (SAC) may occur outside of class time. To assist with the authentication of this work, it is recommended that teachers monitor and record each student’s progress through to completion. This requires regular sightings of the work by the teacher and the keeping of records in the Authentication Record for School-based Assessment form.

Further detail can be found at VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2020 p 76

In the current environment schools may need to consider the delivery of assessment remotely. The VCAA recommends the delivery of formative SACs to maintain the continuity of the learning program and prevent concern for students that assessment is not being conducted. These formative SACs could be the tasks already developed or a modified version that is more achievable through remote delivery.

The data collected from these formative assessment activities may be validated at a later date, when schools return, or form the basis of a School-based Assessment derived score if a validation activity is not possible.

In conducting remote assessment of formative School-assessed Coursework, the VCAA recommends:

  • all SACs are kept secure prior to delivery, to avoid unauthorised release to students and thereby compromising the assessment.
  • Teachers carefully consider and select the most appropriate type and form of School-assessed Coursework for the outcomes from the range of options that prescribed within each of the study designs.
  • revision / review of the intended School-assessed Coursework task and modification where required to support remote delivery and completion.
  • revision / review of the current instructions related to the activity to ensure they are clear and not open to misinterpretation.
  • teachers consider the length of time allocated to the activity; it is possible that time may need to be added to compensate for the remote delivery.
  • there is clear communication with students which details when and how the assessment is to be conducted. These instructions may also detail how important it is for the student to be in an environment free from potential distractions or interruptions during the time allocated to the task.
  • where delivering through a learning management tool there is the ability to open, give students access, close and remove access to the assessment activity
  • where delivering the activity by email a read receipt is used to ensure teachers can track when the SAC was accessed. Students must be made aware they will have a limited window of time to complete and return the assessment.
  • where delivering using a text book resource or worksheet every effort should be made to restrict access to the details of the task until it is scheduled to be delivered. Students must be made aware of the limited window of time to complete the task and return for marking.
  • It is important to ensure that where there are multiple classes that they have simultaneous access to SACs.

After assessment tasks are submitted and marked, teachers should provide feedback to students.

Appropriate feedback includes

      • advising on particular problem areas
      • advising on where and how improvements can be made for further learning
      • reporting S or N decisions and/or written comments on students’ performance against each outcome.

Further detail can be found at VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2020 p 81

C. School -assessed Tasks

The VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2020 currently details that work which contributes to both unit outcomes and School-assessed Tasks (SAT) may occur outside of class time. To assist with the authentication of this work, teachers must monitor and record each student’s development of work, from planning and drafting through to completion, in the study specific School-assessed Task Authentication Record form (available on each study’s webpage). This requires regular sightings of the work by the teacher.

Further detail can be found at VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2020 p 77

In the current environment schools may need to consider the development of a product in a different way. The VCAA recommends, where possible, the focus currently is on the written component of the SAT to maintain the continuity of the learning program.  This will support the continued delivery of the SAT through the theoretical component.  With the support of their teachers, students may need to modify the topic selected and reimagine the product they can deliver on. This may be the case where the student has commenced the making of their product / system and cannot continue due to lack of equipment or safety considerations.

The data collected from these assessment activities may be validated at a later date, through the development of the product when schools return, or form the basis of a School-assessed Task derived score if the delivery of a product is not possible.

In conducting remote delivery of School-assessed Tasks, the VCAA recommends:

  • students are requested to document the specific stages of the development of work, starting with an early part of the task, such as the topic choice, list of resources and/or preliminary research initial planning or visualization drawings, experimentations and exploration with ideas, media, techniques and materials.
  • copies of each student’s written / audio or visual work should be made available to the teacher either through soft or hard copy, at given stages in their development
  • teachers apply the same approach to authentication and record keeping, as cross marking sometimes reveals possible breaches of authentication.

Schools may provide feedback to students on School-assessed Tasks. It must be made clear to students that initial school assessment may change as a result of the statistical moderation process.