Ach​ievement levels

The AusVELS describes eleven achievement levels from Foundation to 10. Learners progress between these levels along a learning continuum from Prep to Level 10. Learners progress at different rates and practitioners assess learner achievement at points in time to make judgments about where they are at along the continuum. The data provided by the assessment informs the learning program developed by the practitioner to enable the learner to make progress to the next level.

Diagnostic assessment

Is directed and targeted formative assessment. Diagnostic assessment identifies the particular elements of understanding that need development. It enables the practitioner to develop a learning program directed at meeting specific individual learning needs.

Externally referenced assessment

Assessment that relates to the wider student population. It allows comparisons between the group being tested and the general population or agreed benchmarks. Externally referenced assessments may be criterion-referenced or norm-referenced.


Communication about learning to a learner or practitioner. Effective feedback to a learner is specific and constructive. It identifies strengths in the learner's work, highlights important areas to be developed and offers strategies for developing them.

Learners provide feedback to a practitioner through interactions such as the questions they ask, the answers they give to practitioner questions, discussion and the work they submit. This feedback enables the practitioner to reflect on their practice and make changes to improve learner progress and achievement.

Formative assessment

Assessment that is integrated with the teaching and learning process. It is all the assessments made by practitioners, learners and peers that provide information about learner progress and achievement and is used by practitioners to inform adjustments to the learning program to better meet the learner’s needs. 

​Learning goal

Often used to distinguish the overarching aims of a unit of work or subject from the specific learning intention.

Learning intention

A description of what learners are expected to know, understand and do by the end of a lesson, unit of work or program. During the learning process, learning intentions may be modified according to the learning achievement demonstrated by learners. If developed in collaboration with the learners, they are more likely to take ownership of their learning. Learning intentions are expressed in language students can understand.


A process whereby teachers develop a shared understanding of what achievement of the standard at a particular level looks like and then compare individual teacher assessments to either confirm or adjust them. The aim is to ensure practitioner assessments are consistent and comparable.

Norm-referenced assessment

Is used to determine the position of a learner relative to others in the group with regard to the knowledge, skills and understandings being assessed.

On balance judgment

The practitioner draws on all the evidence gathered from a range of sources to make a judgment about a learner's progress to, and achievement at, a particular point in time.​

Ongoing assessment

The integration of learning, performance, assessment and feedback in a cycle that promotes excellent progress along the learning continuum. Frequent assessment and feedback to learners improves motivation and engagement in learning and enhances learning achievement.

Peer Feedback

Peer feedback involves learners in the process of providing feedback on another’s work. Learners discuss the extent to which each other’s work meets the success criteria and learning outcomes established by the class at the start of the learning process. For peer feedback to be effective and positive  there needs to be an atmosphere of support and trust within the classroom.


Early childhood professionals who work directly with children in early childhood settings, family support workers, play therapists, health professionals, education officers in cultural organisations and school teachers, work together and with families to achieve learning and development outcomes for children in their care.


Reproducibility or consistency of assessment processes.


Describes the quality expected in a learner's response to a task. It may be the success criteria or an elaboration of the success criteria. A rubric is made known to the learners before they attempt a task and is discussed and may be negotiated to ensure learner understanding of the task requirements and to encourage learner ownership of their learning. A rubric provides the standard against which learners can evaluate and reflect on their performance and either continue with their learning strategies or modify them to improve their performance.  It ensures assessment is transparent and fair.


The learner assesses their own progress against the learning criteria and success criteria. Self-assessment encourages the learner to take ownership of their learning; they evaluate their progress or achievement and make adjustments to their learning strategies to improve their learning.

Standardised assessment

Generally used for large-scale assessment, all learners answer the same questions or a selection of questions from a common bank of questions. Learner responses are scored according to a consistent procedure.

Standards-referenced assessment

Criterion-referenced assessment that enables practitioners and learners to make judgments about the learner's level of achievement against benchmarks or given achievements standards.

Success Criteria

Describe how learners will know when they have met a learning intention. Success criteria are made known to learners with the learning intention to ensure they understand the criteria by which the practitioner will assess their work and make judgments about their learning. Involving learners in the development of success criteria encourages them to take ownership of their learning and to self-evaluate as they work.

Summative assessment

Assessment that is used at the end of a unit of work or learning and development activity to determine learner achievement against achievement standards at a point in time. Summative assessment can be used formatively to inform planning of the next steps in a whole group or individual learning program.


A measure of the accuracy, appropriateness and trustworthiness of the assessment evidence.

Whole-system assessments

Undertaken by all children or young people of a particular cohort across the education system (e.g. NAPLAN), or sampled assessments that are used to draw inferences and conclusions about the performance of the system (e.g. TIMSS, PISA)