Improving outcomes through accessible assessment and inclusive practices


In 2020, Queensland will reintroduce an external common assessment task for academic subjects in Grade 12. Each syllabus now features greater standardisation of curriculum and assessments, fewer summative assessment tasks and these tasks will be endorsed in advance of use to ensure they meet tightly prescribed quality assurance parameters.

The reform aims to address equity concerns about the existing system; however, with greater standardisation and fewer opportunities to demonstrate mastery, the stakes are raised for students with each task. The risks are even higher for students with a disability affecting language competence and/or cognitive function, whose access to panel-moderated assessment tasks is already limited and overly dependent on retrospective and poorly aligned adjustments, such as extra time.

The two core components of this project – accessible assessment task design and inclusive Assessment for Learning (AfL) pedagogies – are both critical for student success in the high-stakes senior years of secondary schooling. Advancements in these two key areas will enable teachers to better support their students’ learning and allow students to better demonstrate what they have learnt. The project will also identify ways to sustain and spread these highly sophisticated practices both in and across secondary school departments, and between schools with our ARC Linkage partners.

The project

This ARC Linkage project will employ a sequential phase mixed-methods waitlist design in three Partner schools to test:

(1) whether accessible summative assessment task design leads to improved student and/or attentional difficulties;

(2) whether enhancing teachers’ inclusive practice improves student access to formative assessment pedagogies, enabling more accurate student understanding of assessment aims and requirements; and

(3) how in summative assessment task design and teacher practice can be sustained and upscaled across departments

Funding / Grants

  • ARC Linkage

Chief Investigators