5. Using student work samples
The awarding of Stage 5 and Stage 6 Preliminary course grades places significant value on teachers’ professional judgements about student achievements. To strengthen the consistency of teacher professional judgements in relation to statewide standards, schools have been asked to keep student work samples and corresponding assessment activities for their Years 10 and 11 cohorts for specified courses. The courses for which schools need to retain work samples are listed on this website and may change from year to year. The list of courses will be advised in the Board Bulletin in Term 1 each year.
The pattern of grades awarded by all schools are monitored for Board developed courses. In some cases, schools may be asked to submit work samples to ensure their grading decisions are aligned with statewide standards. The work samples retained by schools may also be used in professional development activities to strengthen teachers’ understanding of standards.
A guide has been developed to assist schools with the requirement to retain work samples.
Checklist for retaining work samples
Do you have?
- at least 3 work samples for each nominated Stage 5 and Stage 6 Preliminary course
- work samples representing the upper, middle and lower range of the cohort
- work samples indicative of achievement towards the end of the course
- work samples, preferably in electronic format, with student names removed or concealed
- indication of the A to E grade each work sample best represents
- electronic copies of the activity/ies associated with the work samples.
Using retained work samples
There are a number of ways in which schools can use student work samples to strengthen their understanding of standards. The Board provides work samples aligned to A to E grades for a selection of Stage 5 courses and Preliminary courses to assist teachers in understanding statewide standards. Schools can use these published work samples to moderate the grades they award to students by comparing the standards of work published with those produced by their students in the same or similar courses. The consistency of teacher judgement professional learning support package provides resources to assist schools in moderating their judgements.
Schools can also use samples of work from their own students for professional development with their staff and/or teachers from other schools. These work samples can provide the basis for professional discussions about standards as they relate to different activities and ensure there are consistent expectations about student achievement. For this reason, some schools may wish to retain more work samples than the minimum specification of three. Schools may also choose to retain work samples for more courses than the selection listed on this website each year.
There are a number of uses for student work samples. They include:
Developing a consistent understanding of standards
Work samples retained by schools will be relevant to the school’s context and thus authentic examples of student achievement on particular activities. These can be used for discussion of standards within a faculty to ensure that all staff share a common understanding of what is expected. Using the relevant A to E grading scale as the basis for these discussions will ensure that the expectations in schools are consistent with statewide standards. Any work samples retained by schools to address requirements should be representative of agreed standards within the school, not just the judgement of one teacher. For judgements about student achievement across the state to be consistent, there first needs to be consistency of judgements within schools.
Use across similar activities
Where similar activities are used each year, referring to student work from previous years may assist teachers to clarify what is expected prior to the marking or grading of student work. Reviewing the work samples may also provide useful information about the activity itself that could lead to enhancements being made.
Support for a sole teacher of a course in a school
Where there is only one teacher of a particular course in a school, that teacher may find it useful to make brief annotations about the work samples they keep, referring to the relevant A to E grade scale, to help clarify their understanding of course standards prior to submitting their grades. These work samples are also useful when meeting with other teachers of the same course/s from nearby schools to discuss standards.
Frequently asked questions
- Do schools need to keep work samples for every class?
- Can I submit work samples that have student names, marks or comments on them?
- If my course is not listed for work sample retention this year, does that mean the grades submitted in my course will be monitored?
- If my course is not listed for work sample retention this year, does that mean I will not be asked to provide work samples to demonstrate an understanding of standards for that course?
- If my course appears on the list of courses for work sample retention two or more years in a row, can I keep the same work samples I originally kept or do I need new ones from each calendar year?
- I teach in a non-government school and we keep work samples for registration and accreditation purposes. Can we use the same samples that we keep for accreditation to meet the requirement for retaining work samples to support our grading patterns for Stage 5 and Stage 6 Preliminary courses?
- If I want to provide work samples for publication on the website, how can I do this?
A minimum of 3 work samples for each nominated course should be kept. This does not necessarily mean that each class needs to retain work samples. For example, at least 3 samples should be retained for English (Standard) and least 3 for English (Advanced).
Yes. Although it is preferable for student names to be removed or obscured, any identifying marks can be removed prior to the work samples being reviewed by an expert panel.
All grades submitted for all courses each year are monitored. Courses listed for work sample retention each year are those in which there is a particular interest at the time. For example, this might include new courses or those with large candidatures. The list may change from year to year.
No. If your school is contacted and asked to provide work samples for courses listed on the website, you would be expected to be able to do so upon request. Schools may also be asked to submit work samples for other courses based on their patterns of grades awarded but additional time would be provided to allow schools to collect work samples if this was the case.
If the range of achievement of your cohort of students is very similar each year, it may be appropriate to use the same work samples you originally retained. The work samples should represent the upper, middle and lower range of achievement of your current cohort. If the cohort has changed in some way, you would need to retain new work samples that reflect this. The work samples should represent the school's understanding of achievement at particular grades towards the end of the course. Submitted work samples are not used to verify the grade a particular student was awarded so the work samples need not be from the current cohort of students.
If the work samples you retain for accreditation purposes reflect achievement at the upper, middle and lower range of your cohort for the relevant course, they may be appropriate to support your Stage 5 and Stage 6 Preliminary course grading patterns.
Contributions of assessment activities and work samples for publication on the website are welcome. In particular, material for Preliminary courses is currently being sought.