Teachers of senior secondary students assess students within the guidelines and requirements of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).
Teachers of languages in Foundation to Year 10 assess students –
- to identify the learning needs and achievements of their students
- to provide feedback to assist students in planning individual learning goals
- to evaluate teaching programs and inform future learning activities
- to report on progress to parents/carers
- to comply with local school, curriculum authority or government reporting processes
Assessment can be formative to monitor student learning or summative to evaluate and report on student learning at the end of a period of learning/unit.
Department of Education and Training
- Professional Practice: Formative Assessment
- Effective Assessment
- Monitoring Student Achievement Using Formative Assessment
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
- VCAA – click on Assessment from the menu for the range of advice
- VCAA: Guide to Formative Assessment Rubrics
Australian Education Research Organisation
Assessment of Languages
Individual schools will have their own assessment and reporting guidelines.
Teachers will need to make on balance judgements about the progress of students against the Achievement Standards of the Victorian or Australian Curriculum.
VCAA offer an online free formative assessment tool for some languages incl. German.
VCAA provide advice about developing rubrics:
Advice for Assessing VCE German Outcomes
VCAA provide advisory performance descriptors to support teacher judgements in holistic summative assessments of VCE learning outcomes.
- VCE German Performance Descriptors – for Outcomes for Units 3 and 4
There are useful documents from other jurisdictions to support teachers of languages in thinking about and comparing approaches to the assessment of languages.
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has developed resources to assist teachers and students in making assessments about their learning.
- ACTFL: Performance Descriptors for Language Learners – descriptors for Interpersonal, Interpretive, Presentational incl. cultural awareness
- ACTFL: Can Do Statements
World Languages: Podcast
- Episode 61 – Goals and Assessment in the Language Classroom
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) organises language proficiency in six levels, A1 to C2, which can be regrouped into three broad levels: Basic User, Independent User and Proficient User, and that can be further subdivided according to the needs of the local context. The levels are defined through ‘can-do’ descriptors.
Sample Rubrics for Languages from the New York State Education Department
- Sample Assessment Rubrics (older material but useful starting point)
Certificate in Language Assessment
The University of Melbourne offers a course in language assessment
The Department of Education and Training (DET) requires Government and Catholic schools to report twice yearly to parents/carers on progress against the achievement standards of the Victorian Curriculum. Schools may have additional reporting requirements e.g. progress reports.
Independent schools are not bound by this directive.
All state or federal funded schools from Foundation to Year 10 are required to report on student progress against the achievement standards of the Victorian Curriculum or Australian Curriculum.
- Victorian Curriculum for German
- Australian Curriculum for German* – V8.4 *new curriculum imminent
Advice for Writing Reports
Teachers should follow the reporting writing processes and guidelines of the school in which they are employed. Gather formal and informal evidence throughout the semester upon which to make judgements about progress against the achievement standards.
Comments should be positive and future orientated and expectation for future progress. Identify something specific the student can work on to improve.
When students cover the same content and complete similar tasks, the reports can sound similar. It is important to make a positive reference to something the specific student has done to show you know the student you are reporting on.
Develop your own comment banks so that the report sounds like you and the content covered in the reporting period.