Assessment in the ACT is continuous school-based assessment. This means there are no external subject-based examinations. Courses are taught and assessed unit by unit. A unit of study is organised around a particular theme or skillset and has a value based on the time the unit took to deliver. A Standard Unit is 55 hours and is typically taught over one semester. Moderation is conducted every semester to ensure comparability of grades from different schools and the ACT Scaling Test (AST), a higher order thinking and problem solving examination, is used to compare scores from different schools and support calculation of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
- Adherence to Board policies and course document requirements
- The quality and appropriateness of criterion referenced assessment tasks and marking schemes
- Teacher judgements of student grades against system Achievement Standards
As well as assessment grades that are reported on the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate each semester unit at the ‘T’ (university entrance) level is awarded a score based on class assessment throughout the semester. These unit assessments are aggregated at the end of year 12 to form a course score. Course scores are then statistically moderated across the system using the results of the ACT Scaling Test (AST), a test taken by all students seeking a university entrance rank or ATAR.
The ACT Scaling Test (AST) is designed by the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) to facilitate the comparison of T and H (undergraduate/co-accredited) course scores both within and across colleges. The test measures skills necessary for success at university. The AST is comprised of three papers: the Short Response Test of 2 hours, a Multiple Choice Test of 2 hours and fifteen minutes (both based on Quantitative and Verbal critical thinking) and a Writing Task of 2 hours and 30 minutes, based on a response to previously unseen stimulus.
The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a percentile ranking used by all Australian universities to assist in the selection of school leavers for entry into undergraduate courses. The ATAR is a ranking of a student relative to the full age cohort i.e. relative to the set of students who would be in the group if all students stayed on and completed Year 12. It is reported with a range from 99.95 for the highest ranked students down to 30.00. It is calculated in such a way as to be comparable across all Australian states.
An important aspect of school-based assessment is the right of every student to appeal against their teacher assessments. If a student is dissatisfied with the assessment result for a task or believes the procedures used to calculate unit grades or scores, or course scores, have not been followed they may appeal. All Appeal Committees contain a representative from another college.