Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Policy

This policy is provided to all middle and senior secondary students at Mount Lawley Senior High School and is based on School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) requirements.

The syllabus for Year 7-10 students, with special consideration for Languages, is prescribed by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline. Full implementation of Technologies courses is scheduled for 2018.

The aim for all Year 11 and 12 students is to attain the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). They are enrolled in a combination of ATAR, General, and VET industry specific courses. Some students are also gaining credit for the WACE by undertaking one of the many Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications and/or one or more of the endorsed programs which are available at the School. The VET qualifications are delivered and assessed in partnership with a range of registered training organisations (RTO's).

  1. Overview

Assessment assists teachers and schools to:

  • Monitor the progress of students and diagnose learning difficulties
  • Provide feedback to students
  • Adjust programs
  • Develop subsequent learning programs
  • Report student achievement to parents
  • Develop whole-school and system planning, reporting and accountability procedures.
  • Adjust/adapt learning programs where necessary.

2. Student responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the student to:

  • attempt all in-class assessment tasks on the scheduled date and submit all out-of-class assessment tasks by the due date
  • maintain a folio of evidence and make it available whenever required.  The folio should include:
  • all course documentation (syllabus, teaching and learning programs, assessment program, policy documentation);
  • all student class work
  • all assessment task sheets, and feedback/marking sheets;
  • all assessment items including tasks, tests and exams;
  • maintain a good record of attendance, conduct and progress (a student who is absent from a class for five lessons or more per term is deemed to be 'at risk' of not achieving the best possible result)
  • initiate contact with teachers concerning absence from class, missed in-class assessment tasks, requests for extension of the due date for out-of-class assessment tasks and other issues pertaining to assessment.

3. Teacher responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the teacher to:

  • develop a teaching and learning program that appropriately delivers the current SCSA or National Training Curriculum requirements and guidelines. 
  • provide students with access to a course outline and an assessment outline
  • ensure that all assessment tasks are fair, valid and reliable
  • provide students with timely assessment feedback and with guidance about how best to undertake future tasks
  • maintain accurate records of student achievement using the Reporting to Parents (RTP) module on the Portal. Results must be entered immediately when the assessment is returned to the student.
  • meet school and external timelines for assessment and reporting
  • inform students and parents of academic progress as appropriate, especially for students at risk.

4. Information provided to students

Before teaching commences the teacher will provide students with the following documents:

  • the SCSA syllabus for the pair of units which includes the grade descriptions for students in Years 11 and 12 only
  • a course outline:
  • the content from the syllabus in the sequence in which it will be taught
  • the approximate time allocated to teach each section of content from the syllabus
  • an assessment outline:
  • the number of tasks to be assessed
  • the approximate timing of each assessment task (i.e. the week in which each assessment task is planned or the start week and submissions week for each out-of-class extended task)
  • the weighting for each assessment task
  • the weighting for each assessment type, as specified in the assessment table of the syllabus
  • a general description of each assessment task
  • an indication of the content covered by each assessment task.

Note: Students without internet access at home can request from their teacher a hard copy of these documents.

In Years 7-10 assessment outlines for all learning areas are posted on the school website.

5. Assessing student achievement

At Mount Lawley SHS all students in Year 7-10 are assessed against the Judging Standards defined by SCSA. Judging Standards is the tool teachers use when reporting against the achievement standards for each year of schooling; when giving assessment feedback; and when explaining the differences between one student's achievement and another's. The achievement standard describes an expected level that the majority of students are achieving or working towards by the end of that year of schooling. Some students will have progressed beyond the achievement standard; others will need additional support. The expected standard for each year is described as a 'C' grade or a 'Satisfactory' level.

Year 11 and 12 students are enrolled in a pair of units. In each pair of units a number of assessment tasks occur during the year including end of semester exams in all ATAR courses and an Externally Set Task for Year 12 General courses.

Each task provides evidence of student achievement. The teacher uses the total weighted mark from all assessment tasks when assigning a grade at the completion of the course.

The requirements for each assessment task will be clearly described in writing (i.e. what the student needs to do, often indicating the steps involved for extended tasks). Where appropriate, the criteria against which the task will be marked will be provided with the task.

Most tasks are completed in-class. Some courses may include tasks that are completed out-of-class (in which case, student achievement will be validated to ensure authenticity).

Some courses may include assessment tasks to be completed by a group of students. In such cases teachers will use strategies to enable them to assess the performance of each individual in the group. Typically this will be identified in the task (or task brief) provided to the students at the commencement of the task.

Where a student's disability, specific education needs or cultural beliefs will significantly affect their access to an assessment task the teacher may adjust the task in consultation with the relevant Program Coordinator/teacher-in-charge responsible for the course.

6. School examinations

An examination is an assessment item where content covered over an extended period of time may be assessed. All school examinations will be conducted at the same time for all eligible students in each year group. Examinations will be only be conducted for students in Years 9-12.

School examinations are included in the assessment outline. The weighting (i.e. proportion of the final mark) for these school-based examinations varies between courses and can be determined from the assessment outline.

Year 11 and 12 Additional Requirements

In Years 11 and 12 a written examination will be held in all ATAR courses at the end of Semester 1 and the end of Semester 2. Students are expected to comply with the examination conditions established by SCSA

A practical/performance/oral exam will also be held in those courses with a practical, performance or oral ATAR examination.

In Year 11 written examinations are typically 2 to 3 hours in duration.

In Year 12 all written examinations are 3 hours duration except for courses with a practical, performance or oral examination which are 2.5 hours plus a separate practical, performance or oral examination.

The examination timetable is issued to students before the start of the exam period. The examination rules are provided to parents.

If an examination contains an error or questions are based on content that is outside the syllabus or there is a breach of security the school may:

  • correct the question, or
  • remove the question containing the error or based on content outside the syllabus, or
  • provide an alternative examination if there is a breach of security that affects all students, or
  • penalise the students involved if there is a breach of security limited only to them (i.e. a mark of zero).

Where health issues or personal circumstances prevent a student from completing one or more school examinations, as for all other assessment tasks, the school will determine whether the reason is acceptable and if not acceptable the student will be given a mark of zero. If the reason is acceptable to the school an alternate date will be set or where this is not possible the student will not sit the examination and their marks for other tasks will be re-weighted.

7. Year 12 General courses - Externally set task

All students enrolled in a Year 12 General course are required to complete an externally set task (EST) for that course.

The EST is included in the assessment outline for the pair of units. This assessment task has a weighting of 15% of the final mark for the pair of units.

The EST is a written assessment task developed by SCSA based on content from Unit 3.

Where a student does not complete the EST they will be required to complete the task at the first available opportunity (generally within two days of the student's return to school). If this is not until after the date that SCSA requires the school to submit the EST marks then the school will determine if the reason for non-completion is acceptable and if not acceptable the student will be allocated a mark of zero. If the reason is acceptable to the school the teacher will:

  • decide on an alternate assessment task (if, in the opinion of the teacher, the task is no longer confidential), or
  • not require the task to be completed and re-weight the student's marks for other tasks.

8. Cheating, collusion and plagiarism

Students must not cheat (i.e. engage in a dishonest act to gain an unfair advantage).

All work in each individual assessment task must be the work of the student. Students are not permitted to submit for marking, as original, any work which is:

  • prepared or substantively contributed to by another person (e.g. student, teacher, tutor or expert)
  • copied or downloaded from the internet without acknowledging the source
  • paraphrases or summarises the work of others.

If a student is believed to have engaged in cheating, collusion or plagiarism, the teacher will refer the matter to the relevant Program Coordinator/teacher-in-charge responsible for the course. As part of this process, the student and the parent/guardian will be informed of suspected inappropriate behaviour. The student will be provided with the right of reply.

If it is demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that a student has cheated, colluded or plagiarised, one of the following penalties will apply:

  • a mark of zero for the whole assessment task, or
  • a mark of zero for the part of the assessment task where the teacher can identify that the work is not the student's own.

Students, in some circumstances, may be given the opportunity to resubmit an assessment. This will be at the discretion of the Program Coordinator.

The parent/guardian will be informed in writing of the decision made, the penalty and any further disciplinary action.

9. Security of assessment tasks

Where there is more than one class studying the same course at the school, all or most, of the assessment tasks will be the same to ensure student marks are on the same scale. In such cases, to ensure that no students are unfairly advantaged, the question papers used for in-class assessment tasks will be collected at the end of the lesson and retained by the teacher until the task has been completed by all classes. In their own interests, students must not discuss the nature of the questions with students from the other classes until after all classes have completed the task. Discussion of the questions will be treated as collusion and the students will be penalised.

Where the school uses the same assessment task or exam as other schools, the task/exam and the student responses will be retained by the teacher until the task/exam has been completed by all schools.

10. Modification of the assessment outline

If circumstances change during the teaching of a course, requiring the teacher to make adjustments to scheduled assessment tasks, then students will be notified and the modified assessment outline will be placed on the school intranet.

Where a disability, special education needs or cultural beliefs has resulted in the inability of a student to complete one or more assessment tasks the assessment outline will be adjusted and provided to the student and parent/guardian through the provision of a documented Individual Education Plan.

11. Students with a disability

Students with a diagnosed disability will, where their disability, impairment or medical condition will significantly affect their access to a particular assessment task, have written and/or practical assessment tasks (including school examinations) adjusted by the teacher in consultation with the relevant Program Coordinator/teacher-in-charge responsible for the course and the Learning Support Coordinator. These adjustments will be consistent with those described in SCSA's Guidelines for disability adjustments for timed assessments, which can be accessed from the SCSA website. Adjustments, depending on the individual student's education needs, can include special equipment, provision of a scribe, or additional time to complete the task.

Students who are unable to complete an assessment task because of their disability will be provided with alternative opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understandings.

12. Missed or modified assessment due to absence

If an assessment task cannot be submitted directly to the teacher it is to be submitted to the relevant Program Coordinator/teacher-in-charge. 

Where health issues or other personal circumstances may prevent a student completing an in-class assessment task, the student (or the parent/guardian) must discuss the matter with the teacher at the earliest opportunity before the scheduled date. The school will determine whether the reason is acceptable. 

Where the reason for not submitting an assessment task or attending a scheduled in-class assessment task is acceptable to the school the student's assessment outline will, where possible, be adjusted and a grade assigned.

Absence from a specially scheduled assessment task, including tests and examinations, must be explained by a medical certificate or a letter/email from parent/guardian. In certain circumstances a medical certificate is acceptable.

If a student does not submit an out-of-class assessment task or attend a scheduled in-class assessment task, without providing an acceptable reason, the teacher will contact the parent/guardian to discuss the possible impact of the penalty on the student's grade and negotiate actions to prevent this re-occurring.

Where an out-of-class assessment task is submitted after the due date or is not submitted, and the student does not provide a reason, which is acceptable to the school (see Section 13 below for details), the following penalties may apply:

  • 10% reduction in the mark (if submitted one school day late), or
  • 50% reduction in the mark (if submitted two school days late), or
  • a mark of zero (if submitted more than two school days late or not submitted).

Where an in-class assessment task is missed and the student does not provide a reason which is acceptable to the school (see Section 13 below for details) the student will receive a mark of zero.

13. Acceptable reasons for non-completion or non-submission

The penalty for non-completion or non-submission of an assessment task will be waived if the student provides a reason which is acceptable to the school. For example:

  • where sickness, injury or significant personal circumstances prevents a student attending on the day that an in-class assessment task (including school examinations and the externally set task) is scheduled
  • where sickness, injury or significant personal circumstances for part or all of the period of an
    out-of-class assessment task prevents completion or submission by the due date.

In such cases the parent/guardian must:

  • contact the school before 9.30 am on the day of the in-class assessment task or due date for submission of an out-of-class assessment and
  • provide either a medical certificate or a letter of explanation immediately the student returns to school.

Where the student provides a reason, which is acceptable to the school for the non-completion or
non-submission of an assessment task, the teacher will:

  • negotiate an adjusted due date for an out-of-class assessment task or an adjusted date for an
    in-class assessment task (generally, within two days of the student's return), or
  • decide on an alternate assessment task (if, in the opinion of the teacher, the assessment is no longer confidential), or
  • not require the task to be completed and re-weight the student's marks for other tasks (if, in the opinion of the teacher, sufficient evidence exists in the other tasks completed to meet the SCSA requirements for the course and to enable a grade to be assigned).

Events that can be rescheduled are not a valid reason for non-completion or non-submission of an assessment task (e.g. sitting a driver's licence test, preparation for the school ball, family holidays). In exceptional circumstances, the parent/guardian may negotiate with the Senior School Co-ordinator the development of an individual education plan. This plan will show how the missed lesson time will be compensated for and any adjustments to the assessment outline.

Where a catastrophic event (e.g. a pandemic) affects delivery of the teaching program, the completion or submission of one or more assessment tasks and/or completion of the school examination timetable, students will be advised by the school of adjustments to the task requirements and/or the assessment outline.

14. Transfer between courses and/or units

Should a student commence a course late they will be at risk of being disadvantaged compared to others in the class. An application to transfer between types of courses or between courses is made through the Deputy Principal. A meeting may be held with the parent/guardian to discuss student progress and the requirements necessary for the student to be assigned a grade in the pair of units into which they wish to transfer.

Where pathways exist in Years 7 -10 students may be recommended a change. Students will continue to be monitored and all of their assessments will be used to assess students against the  Judging Standards.

At Mount Lawley SHS the deadline for student transfers in Year 11 and Year 12 is Friday of Week 6 in Term 1 as all courses are assessed as a pair of units. When a student transfers to a different course within the same subject (e.g. from English ATAR Year 11 to English General Year 11) or to a similar course (e.g. Human Biology ATAR Year 11 to Integrated Science General Year 11), the marks from completed assessment tasks will be used, where they are appropriate, for the unit into which the student is transferring. These marks may be statistically adjusted to ensure that they are on the same scale as the marks for all students in the new class.

Where additional work and/or assessment tasks are necessary to enable a grade to be assigned, the teacher will develop an individual education plan showing the work to be completed and/or an adjusted assessment outline. The plan and/or the adjusted assessment outline will be discussed and provided to the student.

15. Transfer from another school

It is the responsibility of any student who transfers into a class from the same course at another school, to provide the school with evidence of all completed assessment tasks. The Deputy Principal may contact the previous school to confirm:

  • the part of the syllabus that has been taught
  • the assessment tasks which have been completed
  • the marks awarded for these tasks.

The Program Coordinator/teacher-in-charge responsible for the course will:

  • determine how the marks from assessment tasks at the previous school will be used

[Note: Where necessary these marks will be statistically adjusted to ensure that they are on the same scale as those at Mount Lawley SHS.]

  • determine the additional work, if any, to be completed
  • determine the additional assessment tasks, if any, to be completed to enable a grade to be assigned.

Where additional work and/or assessment tasks are necessary, the teacher will develop an individual education plan showing the work to be completed and/or an adjusted assessment outline. The plan and/or the adjusted assessment outline will be discussed with the parent/guardian and provided to the student.

16. Reporting student achievement

Teachers use multiple assessment methods to provide formative feedback to students on a regular basis. Students and parents/ guardians will be informed when it is identified that there is a risk of the student not:

  • achieving to their potential
  • completing course requirements and receiving a D or E grade
  • not completing VET units (Years 11 and 12)
  • meeting WACE requirements (Years 11 and 12)

An Progress Report will be issued to all students in Term One. This will provide information on record of attendance, conduct, attitude and work habits. It is associated with a parent/teacher meeting.

Students will receive two formal reports. The first formal report will be issued to all students during Semester One. The school's second parent/teacher meeting is held following distribution. In Term Four, students will receive the second formal report. The formal report provides for each course:

  • a grade (A, B, C, D or E). In Years 11 and 12 the Semester One mark and grade are interim as they are not finalised until the pair of units is completed at the end of the year
  • the percentage mark in the school-based examination (for ATAR courses)
  • the percentage mark calculated from the weighted total mark (for ATAR course). 
  • information on record of attendance, conduct, values development, work habits
  • a comment by the teacher

At the end of the year, Year 12 students only will be provided with a Mount Lawley SHS statement of achievement, which lists the school mark and grade for each pair of units. These are the results which will be submitted to the SCSA. Successful completion of VET qualifications and endorsed programs are also listed on the statement of achievement. All final grades for Year 12 students are subject to approval by the SCSA at the end of the year. The student (and parent/guardian) will be notified of any changes that result from the SCSA's review of the student results submitted by the school.

17. Reviewing marks and grades

Parents are urged to read the Formal Reports carefully and contact the school should they be concerned about their child's progress. Parents are invited, should they wish to discuss the progress of their child, to attend the Parent/Teacher Interview evenings, of which two are scheduled during the year, and to make additional contact should the need arise.

If a student considers that there is an issue regarding the delivery of the course, the marking of one or more assessment tasks or the grade assigned for a pair of units they should, in the first instance, discuss the issue with the teacher.

If an assessment issue cannot be resolved through discussion with the teacher then the student (or the parent/guardian) should approach the relevant Program Coordinator/teacher-in-charge responsible for the course.

The student or their parent/guardian can request, in writing, that the school conduct a formal assessment review, if they consider that the student has been disadvantaged by any of the following:

  • the assessment outline does not meet the syllabus requirements
  • the assessment procedures used do not conform with the school's assessment policy
  • procedural errors have occurred in the determination of the course mark and/or grade
  • computational errors have occurred in the determination of the course mark.

The Principal, or a nominated representative, will conduct the review. The reviewer will meet with the student and the teacher independently and prepare a written report. This report will be provided to the student and their parent/guardian.

For students in Year 12, if this review does not resolve the matter, the student (or parent/guardian) may appeal to the School Curriculum and Standards SCSA using an appeal form which is available from the Deputy Principal or the SCSA website. SCSA representatives will then independently investigate the claim and report to the SCSA's student appeal committee. If the committee upholds a student appeal the school will make any required adjustments to the student's mark and/or grade and where required the mark and/or grade of other students and re-issue reports and/or the statement of achievement as necessary.