Teachers use learning area achievement standards at the end of a period of teaching, to make on-balance judgements about the quality of learning demonstrated by students – that is, whether the students have achieved below, at or above the standard ('C' grading). To make judgements, teachers draw on assessment data they have collected as evidence during the course of the teaching period.
If an individual student's achievement is below the expected standard, this suggests that the teaching programs and practice should be reviewed to better assist the student in their learning in the future. It also suggests that additional support and teaching that targets the student's specific needs is necessary to ensure that the student does not fall behind.
Assessment of student learning takes place at different levels and for different purposes, including:
- ongoing formative assessment within classrooms for the purposes of monitoring learning and providing feedback, for teachers to inform their teaching, and for students to inform their learning
- summative assessment for the purposes of twice-yearly reporting by schools to parents and carers on the progress and achievement of students
- annual testing of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students' levels of achievement in aspects of literacy and numeracy, conducted as a part of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)
- periodic sample testing of specific learning areas within the Australian Curriculum as a part of the National Assessment Program (NAP).