Written by Peter W Keith
Use of On-going and Naturally Occurring Evidence
Assessors are encouraged to adopt a broader approach to standards-based assessment by providing a wider range of assessment opportunities and by using a variety of different types of assessment and sources of assessment evidence. This includes the use of on-going assessment and naturally occurring evidence and not just focusing on traditional summative ‘endpoint’, single event assessment or the use of specific designated assessment activities to collect evidence of student achievement.
On-going assessment involves the gathering of consistent, sufficient, valid, verifiable, authentic, standard-specific assessment evidence over a period time, using various situations and contexts, such as during the teaching and learning phase. On-going assessment evidence can come from a range of alternative or naturally occurring situations from within the classroom, school, workplace or life.
Where practical, manageable and appropriate Assessors are encouraged to gather evidence of student achievement from naturally occurring contexts during the course of routine classwork and other school activities where the student is able to demonstrate the specific skills, attitudes, behaviour, knowledge or understanding required for the particular Standard.
On-going assessment uses a more informal and holistic approach, it is less dependent on separate ‘single event’ performances by the student and it enables assessors to collate and use a wider range of valid evidence of student achievement.
On-going assessment enables teachers to better integrate assessment and assessment practices into their teaching and learning programmes, such as a fully integrated portfolio approach with a variety of evidence collected from checklist systems, student log / journals and other authenticated classroom activities and exercises. Assessors are encouraged to continually identify possible authentic evidence that can be used from within the learning process including from both formal and informal activities.
However, students must still be given adequate time and opportunity to learn before being assessed and all students have the right to know how and when they will be assessed. Candidates must be informed when assessment evidence is being collected. The process of collecting on-going assessment evidence over time should not put undue pressure on students; it must be free from any type of bias and be fair for all candidates.
On-going evidence must be robust and provide adequate evidence of competence. The evidence must be consistent with the candidate’s usual performance and must meet all normal assessment evidence ‘sufficiency requirements’. The assessor must be confident that there is enough evidence to make an accurate judgement and that the candidate has met all the requirements of the Standard and can ‘repeat the performance with consistency’ any number of times in other contexts.
When the outcomes or aspects of a Standard are assessed separately, candidates must still be able to demonstrate an understanding or competency against the Standard as a whole and not just against individual outcomes or tasks. A holistic (big picture) approach must be adopted by Assessors and consideration given to how the individual parts of the assessment and all the available evidence contribute to the overall assessment judgement.
Types of on-going assessment that can be used to gather evidence of student achievement include:
- Assessor conferencing, student responses and assessor observation notes
- Observation sheets / checklists – observation of candidate performance or activities, inside and outside the classroom or on the job
- Portfolios of student work accumulated over a period of time
- Witness Testimonies or Attestations from 3rd party observers or verifiers, including both informal and appointed / approved workplace Evidence Verifiers
- Classroom exercises and practice activities
- A digital record of student performance
- Verified participation in group work
- Students Logs / Journals and drafts
- Samples of student work
On-going evidence must be well recorded and documented and able to be used and checked at a later date to demonstrate and confirm the student’s level of performance. Where appropriate, students should be encouraged to record and collate their own evidence of performance (verified by the Assessor or Evidence Verifier), with an emphasis placed on providing quality standard-specific evidence. It is important that all candidates clearly understand the Standard and the specific evidence requirements for each assessment outcome / achievement criteria.
All on-going assessment evidence must be authentic and genuinely the work of the student concerned; the integrity of the assessment must not be compromised in any way by authenticity issues. Assessors have a responsibility to appropriately manage authenticity, particularly in collaborative classroom or workplace situations. Students must be formally advised and well aware of their rights, responsibilities and obligations with regard to authenticity.
Care must be taken by Assessors when collecting assessment evidence from class activities and practice exercises to ensure that all evidence is produced by the student alone. The authenticity of the student work must not be compromised by students having unauthorised access to documents, by the teacher providing undue assistance to students or by students receiving help from other students.
Third-party Attestations, Witness Testimonies, observer / verifier evidence and other indirect evidence should include real examples of the student’s comments and performance, be standard-specific and must come from credible, trustworthy sources. The observer / evidence verifier, including both informal and approved / appointed workplace Evidence Verifiers, must not have any relevant ‘conflicts of interest’, such as being a parent or caregiver. The Assessor should avoid making assessment judgments based solely on third-party indirect evidence.
On-going student assessment work should include some supervised class time and where possible the student work should be retained on PTE site. Assessors should closely monitor the development of on-going student assessment work, by student submission of draft material, using check points, milestones, feedback and feed-forward and regular discussion and conferencing with students (which are noted / dated on the student work).
All naturally occurring assessment evidence accumulated by students over time, such as portfolio work, should be closely scrutinised by assessors and verified in writing by both the student and assessor (and /or Evidence Verifier) as being valid and authentic. A signed and dated Student Authenticity Declaration should also be included with all on-going student work including Portfolios of naturally occurring evidence.
The specific evidence from within a student Portfolio of work on which the Assessor has based their final assessment judgement should be clearly identified and labelled and a copy of the relevant material retained by the Assessor.
All on-going evidence used to make assessment judgments must be current, relevant and ‘valid’- it must ‘measure what it is supposed to measure’, be at the right level and be ‘fit for purpose’. The evidence must focus on, demonstrate and accurately measure the specific skills, attitudes, behaviour, knowledge or understanding required by the Standard. The evidence should be both ‘standard-specific’ and ‘outcome-specific’ – it should match and show a clear direct link to the evidence requirements and outcomes / achievement criteria of the Standard e.g. through the use of an evidence matrix or evidence map.
Where appropriate, practical and manageable Assessors are also encouraged to use various combinations of evidence for Assessment and Reassessment; such as a complementary combination of formal summative assessment and on-going assessment evidence and avoid dependence on traditional summative assessment from separate designated assessment activities. For example, an initial assessment could involve using a planned mixture of formal summative and on-going assessment evidence. Or a formal summative designated activity could be used as part of Reassessment to supplement or ‘top up’ a portfolio of accumulated on-going evidence which by itself is not sufficient to meet the required learning outcomes of the Standard. Or, where learner performance in a summative assessment does not meet the desired outcomes, the assessment evidence could be supplemented and strengthened by using previously collected on-going evidence, or by collecting new on-going evidence as part of a Reassessment.
All available consistent, valid, authentic, verifiable assessment evidence must be considered by an Assessor when making a final overall assessment grade judgement. This includes all valid accumulated on-going evidence, evidence from the original Assessment, evidence from any Further Assessment and Resubmissions plus any other relevant alternative evidence such as evidence cross-referenced from the assessment of other Standards or from other courses.