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NSW Curriculum
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Summative Assessment

Summative assessment provides evidence of student learning to inform teacher judgements about achievement in relation to the syllabus, and performance standards. It occurs at specific points in time and may be used to report student achievement to students, parents, educators and the wider community.

When using performance standards such as A to E grades for reporting purposes (Year 1 to Year 11), summative assessment should be used along with all other available assessment information to make an on-balance, holistic judgement of student achievement. The effectiveness of summative assessment depends on the validity and reliability of the assessment activity.

Summative assessment can also be used formatively as evidence of what a student has demonstrated up to a point in time, what they are yet to learn, and to monitor progress over time. Its effectiveness as an opportunity for learning depends on the nature and quality of the feedback and the processes involved.

Summative assessment principles

Summative assessment activities should:

  • be based on syllabus content and outcomes
  • be inclusive of, and accessible for, all students
  • enable students to demonstrate their learning in a range of ways
  • include assessment criteria to clarify for students what aspects of learning are being assessed
  • be valid: have clear alignment between the syllabus, the assessment activity and the assessment criteria
  • support reliability: enable consistently accurate judgements to be made about student achievement in relation to criteria and performance standards
  • be free from bias and provide evidence that accurately represents a student's knowledge, understanding and skills
  • enable students and teachers to use feedback effectively and reflect on the learning process.

Approaches used will be informed by the:

  • purpose of assessment
  • evidence of student learning to be gathered
  • processes for gathering evidence
  • feedback to be provided to students
  • way students use the feedback provided.