Better than beige: Designing assessment tasks to enhance learning and measure growth in the early years of school.

Year: 2001

Author: Anderson, Prue, Meiers, Marion

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

‘I think of our school as beige. We tend to be the average of ‘like' schools. Can we do better than that?' In order to promote growth in student learning and demonstrate achievement schools require rich assessment tasks that enhance the teaching and learning cycle and provide a valid and reliable measure of growth. This paper examines the five linked sets of assessment tasks that have been developed to progressively measure growth in literacy and numeracy in the first three years of school. The tasks were designed for the ACER Longitudinal Literacy and Numeracy Survey (LLANS). The tasks are based around familiar classroom activities, administered on a one-to-one basis by teachers and include many hands-on components. They address a wide range of aspects of literacy and numeracy development in the early years of school. Measuring growth in skill development is possible because the data from the five sets of tasks have been linked to create a common scale for literacy and a common scale for numeracy. LLANS data used to construct the scales has been collected from 1000 primary students across Australia since 1999. The scales describe the typical nature of student development in the skills addressed by the assessment tasks so providing a frame of reference for monitoring individual development and measuring achievement over time. This presentation will outline the nature and scope of the LLANS assessment tasks and the use of scales to describe growth as a model for assessment tasks that are both diagnostic and a reliable measure of growth in literacy and numeracy skills in the first three years of school.