TASC accredited senior secondary courses identify learning outcomes to be assessed and their related standards. The number of learning outcomes assessed and the manner in which standards are defined varies between courses. Learners are assigned ratings, one on each of the assessed learning outcomes. In some courses a range of ratings (e.g. ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’) are defined by the standards. In other courses only a ‘C’ rating (e.g. ‘satisfactory’ standard) is defined.
Qualifications are issued by the Office of TASC. A qualification includes the Course Name, Level and the Award gained. Awards are based on levels of achievement (ratings) on the set of a course’s assessed learning outcomes. Award requirements are defined within individual course documents. Where there is an external assessment component, ratings from the external and internal assessment regimes are used to decide an award.
A successful learner receives an award such as:
EA – Exceptional Achievement
HA – High Achievement
CA – Commendable Achievement
SA – Satisfactory Achievement
PA – Preliminary Achievement
Satisfactory Completion; Pass; or Higher Pass.
Provider-based assessment (internal assessment) must gather information on learner achievement in terms of the assessed learning outcomes, standards, procedures and any work requirements specified in the course documentation. Providers choose assessment and recording methods that meet these requirements.
A scope and sequence document is an articulated plan for the delivery and assessment of a course. There is no TASC-prescribed format for such a plan. Typical formats include: spread-sheets; tables; and word processed documents. In some cases the delivery of the course might be in one scope and sequence document, and the assessment plan expressed as a matrix in a separate document.
A scope and sequence document has the following characteristics:
It is understood that scope and sequence documents may require modification during the teaching and learning process to account for changes to initial plans.
Examples are given in the attached document: Planning Course Delivery and Assessment – Information on Scope and Sequence.
Providers must make sure that learners know the learning outcomes and standards against which their achievement is going to be assessed (they should know what is expected). When learners know how their achievement is being judged, they can monitor their progress and set targets for achievement. Documents that explain the assessed learning outcomes and standards to learners should be made available to learners.
Summative assessment tasks should include information identifying:
Teachers/assessors should schedule sufficient assessment tasks to enable them to provide valid, fair and reliable assessments. Once having clearly achieved a standard, learners should be provided with opportunities to improve their criteria ratings, or to focus on other assessed learning outcomes where remaining time could be spent to improve achievement.
Course providers should determine:
The assessment program for a TASC course should be a set of tasks that provides comprehensive coverage of all assessed learning outcomes and meets the requirements of the course.
Providers should use diverse assessment methods, for example, observations, assignments, tests, peer and self-assessment, and oral presentations, and should ensure that the methods selected enable learners clearly to demonstrate achievement. Tasks can be designed to enable assessment of more than one criterion (including external assessment tasks). It is most unlikely, however, that all the assessment requirements for a course could be assessed using one single piece of work.
Providers should take care not to over assess a particular learning outcome by including it as an assessable aspect of many tasks. For example, it is feasible to assess a particular learning outcome, such as “communicate ideas and information”, in almost everything a learner undertakes in a course.
Assessment instruments specify the tasks which measure learners’ attainment of the knowledge, skills, and competencies defined in and required by a course. Providers should take care that assessment tasks and conditions do not privilege certain groups of learners because of varying socio-economic, cultural, gender, and linguistic backgrounds. External assessments are expected to meet these standards for quality and equity.
Each assessment instrument should:
Each assessment task should:
For student’ internal assessments to be approved by TASC, providers must ensure that:
Each assessment should refer specifically to course standards to provide advice, which guides learners towards specific improvement. Use of codes (e.g. A+, A, A-, B+, B, B- etc) or of marks (e.g. 1-10, %) should be avoided if these have no specific reference to course standards.
Problems can arise where teachers use ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ ratings to indicate progress towards the acquisition of a standard. This is most confusing particularly where the final rating is lower than the one issued as a progress indicator. If using such ratings as progress indicators an explanation of this is recommended.
Formal assessment records are to be maintained by the provider. The format of such records is not prescribed by TASC. They may, for example, take the form of traditional mark books or spreadsheets. Assessment records indicate the:
Additionally assessment records should:
For more information about assessment records please see the internal assessment document.
Reporting progress to students
Ratings (‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’) are summary statements defined by standards. Awards (such as EA, HA, CA, SA, and PA) acknowledge the learner’s overall achievement at the end of a course of study.
It can confuse confusion when providers report progress using symbols adopted by TASC to describe final assessments.
Our advice to any provider that does use EA, HA, CA, SA, and PA awards, and ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ ratings as indicators of progress is that it should:
Reporting final internal assessments to TASC
Registered course providers deliver and assess TASC-accredited courses, and report learner achievement against course criteria to TASC at the end of each academic year. The Office of TASC issues learners with qualifications based on these reported results. TASC must have confidence in the reliability, validity and integrity of the results reported by course providers. Such confidence is gained through a range of quality assurance methodologies. In extreme cases TASC might reject a provider’s final ratings or adjust them if there is evidence to justify this, for example, if:
For more information about the determination of final internal ratings to be reported to TASC please see this internal assessment document.
Changes to internal assessments
TASC will only accept changes to internal assessments after a school has checked and returned its awards and ratings where the principal provides sufficient evidence that a mistake was made due to administrative error.
A number of Level 2 courses have a quality assurance process that requires providers to table evidence – at the time of audit – of archived samples of individual’s work, sufficient to illustrate the borderline between work judged as a SA or PA awards (in specific Level 2 courses where this is a quality assurance requirement). To check if a course has this requirement, check the ‘Quality Assurance’ section of the course document. For further information about this requirement, please see Archived Samples of Student Work.
Once teaching and learning has commenced some students may find a chosen course too demanding, or may wish to choose a more demanding course. This may lead to a learner moving, for example, from a Level 2 to a Level 3 course in the same learning area, or from a Level 3 to a Level 2 course. In such cases providers must:
It is expected that movement of students between courses would be completed early in the academic year as individuals’ needs become apparent. Early intervention is required so as to give learners as much time as possible to complete course contents and work requirements, and to have adequate opportunities for formative and summative assessments against the criterion/ia and standards of the ‘new’ course.
Chronic or frequent illness
Students frequently absent through illness may require special arrangements and it is necessary to contact parents as soon as possible.
Arrangements could be made to enable learners to:
Students who have missed assessments because of transfer from one school to another, or because of starting a subject late in the school year, should be given an opportunity to demonstrate their achievement against all learning outcomes. This does not necessarily mean that more tasks have to be completed, but it may mean that more criteria will need to be assessed within the task.
When selecting a course, learners should be made aware of difficulties associated with the delayed start, and what is expected of them because of their late entry. They should be made aware of the assessment program and the problems it may cause them by having to demonstrate progress where other learners have already had such an opportunity. They need to be made aware that for them tasks may be used to provide evidence of achievement of a greater number of learning outcomes than is expected from other learners in the class.
Students unable to complete tasks due to injury or illness
It is the responsibility of providers to determine appropriate strategies to allow sick or injured learners to demonstrate achievement of internally assessed criteria.
Students unable to complete tasks due to cultural beliefs
Students unable to complete assessment tasks because of their cultural beliefs may be provided with alternative opportunities to demonstrate their achievement of course requirements.
Providers unable to devise suitable assessment strategies in particular cases should contact TASC to negotiate possible assessment options.
Students with interrupted studies (e.g. learners undertaking overseas exchange programs)
Some students take up overseas scholarships and similar opportunities that require them to interrupt their senior secondary studies, and so need to spread one year of their studies over two calendar years.
Students wishing to undertake studies spread over two calendar years must:
The provider should collect and keep a detailed record of the student’s assessment for each criterion in each course. All work that has been assessed should be kept.
A student who has completed all the internal requirements of a course with an external examination before leaving for overseas can apply to sit the external examination at an approved centre in the country where he or she is situated.