Students with special education needs work towards outcomes identified through the collaborative curriculum planning process. They should be provided with a range of opportunities to demonstrate achievement of these outcomes.
Evidence of achievement can be based on a range of assessment for learning experiences, such as observation during teaching and learning, work samples or planned assessment events.
Some students with special education needs will require adjustments to assessment practices in order to demonstrate what they know and can do in relation to syllabus outcomes and content. In some cases alternative assessment strategies may be needed.
Decisions are made at school level to offer adjustments to students with special education needs in school-based assessment tasks, including examinations. If appropriate, adjustments can be made to assessment tasks at any time during the stages of learning (Early Stage 1 to Stage 6).
More information on adjustments can be found in syllabus support materials.
Students in Stage 1 to Stage 5 are reported against the Common Grade Scale (A–E) or equivalent, which provides a common language for reporting by describing observable and measurable features of student achievement at the end of a stage, within the indicative hours of study.
Performance descriptors have been developed specific to each key learning area, based on the Common Grade Scale, for reporting student achievement at the end of Stage 5. These provide more detailed information regarding student achievement at each level.
Teachers use the descriptions of the standards to make a professional, on-balance judgement, based on available assessment information, to match each student’s achievement to a description.
The Common Grade Scale (A–E) or equivalent is used by teachers to report student levels of achievement from Stages 1 to 5 and can be applied to all students, regardless of whether or not adjustments have been made to assessment opportunities.
For students with special education needs, teachers may need to consider, in consultation with their school and sector, the most appropriate method of reporting student achievement. It may be deemed more appropriate for students with special education needs to be reported against outcomes or goals identified through the collaborative curriculum planning process.
There is no requirement for schools to use the Common Grade Scale (A–E) or equivalent to report achievement of students undertaking Life Skills outcomes and content.
Adjustments to Assessment
Adjustments are measures or actions taken in relation to teaching, learning and assessment that enable a student with special education needs to access syllabus outcomes and content on the same basis as their peers. The types of adjustments made will vary according to the needs of the individual student.
Some students may require:
- adjustments to the assessment process, eg additional time, rest breaks, quieter conditions, or the use of a reader and/or scribe or specific technology
- adjustments to the assessment activities, eg rephrasing questions or using simplified language, fewer questions or alternative formats for questions
- alternative formats for responses, eg written point form or notes, scaffolded structured responses, short objective questions, or multimedia presentations.
Decisions are made at school level to offer adjustments to students with special education needs in course work and school-based assessment tasks, including examinations.