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The following information supports teachers in their assessment of Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) units.

This information must be read in conjunction with the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook and the VCAL Curriculum Planning guides. Teachers are encouraged to read the Advice for Teachers for specific VCAL unit assessment examples.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The purpose of VCAL assessment is to measure a student’s achievement of a learning outcome by collecting evidence about their performance and making a judgment about whether they have met the requirements of that learning outcome. These requirements are clearly outlined in the elements of each learning outcome.

Teachers should use a variety of assessment tasks that provide a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

Evidence of achievement can include, but is not limited to, direct observation, written work, oral presentations, object production and project implementation.

Students must be observed to demonstrate achievement of a learning outcome on more than one occasion and in different contexts to make sure the assessment is valid and reliable, fair, flexible and efficient.

An assessment task used to demonstrate achievement of one or multiple learning outcomes in one VCAL unit cannot be used to demonstrate achievement in any other VCAL unit, VET unit of competency or VCE study.

Assessment of a VCE unit must be in accordance with the relevant VCE Study Design.

Examples of suitable assessment tasks for VCAL units can be found in the Advice for Teachers.

Assessment principles

The curriculum components in a VCAL learning program must be assessed in accordance with the requirements and guidelines outlined in the curriculum documents for the units.

Assessment within the VCAL should be based on the following principles:

Assessment should be valid and reliable

  • Assessment tasks should be designed to reflect the nature of the outcomes/elements of the unit.
  • Students should be assessed across a range of different tasks and contexts.
  • Assessment should be conducted on a number of occasions.

Assessment should be fair

  • Assessment tasks should be grounded in relevant context and be sensitive to gender, culture, linguistic background, physical disability, socio-economic status and geographic location.
  • Instructions for assessment tasks should be clear and explicit.

Assessment should be flexible

  • Assessment should be open-ended and flexible to meet the specific needs of students.
  • Students should have the opportunity to demonstrate achievement at their own level and pace.

Assessment should be efficient

  • Assessment instruments that provide evidence of achievement across a range of outcomes/units should be used.

Designing VCAL assessment tasks

When designing VCAL assessment tasks, it is important that a clear distinction is made between each VCAL certificate level.

Foundation Intermediate Senior

At this level, assessment should be designed to:

  • provide high levels of teacher support and assistance
  • link familiar and everyday contexts that lead to transferable knowledge and skills development.

At this level, assessment should be designed to:

  • provide some teacher support and assistance but with the expectation that students will demonstrate independent learning and study skills
  • link existing skills and student experiences to unfamiliar and challenging contexts.

At this level, assessment should be designed to:

  • provide opportunities for students to work as independent learners with teacher support and assistance available on request
  • link complex tasks that require integration and application of a range of knowledge and skills to problem-solving and abstract contexts.

Assessment of students with disability

The VCAL structure provides a number of strategies to support students with disabilities. However, all VCAL students are required to meet the course requirements as outlined in the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook and in the VCAL Curriculum Planning guides. Information regarding the assessment of students with disability is available in the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook under the 'Special provisions' section.

Assessment of integrated programs in VCAL

Where possible, VCAL assessment should focus on integrated tasks or projects. In developing an integrated or holistic approach to VCAL delivery, a number of outcomes from one or more strands can be grouped into logical and assessable tasks.

When designing assessment for an integrated task or project, there needs to be clearly identifiable assessment tasks for each VCAL unit or VET unit of competency.

An assessment task used to demonstrate achievement of one or multiple learning outcomes in one VCAL unit cannot be used to demonstrate achievement in other VCAL unit learning outcomes, or competency in a VET unit of competency. For example, an assessment task (within a broader project) used to demonstrate achievement of a number of learning outcomes within a Personal development skills unit cannot be used to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes in the VCAL Literacy reading and writing unit.

Assessment of VCE units must be in accordance with the relevant VCE Study Design and cannot be integrated with other assessment.

Summative assessment

VCAL students may be required to sit tests and/or exams as part of their VET program, VCE studies or as part of further education and training. Therefore, to provide students with test-based assessment skills, it may be appropriate to incorporate test- and/or exam-based assessment into a VCAL program.

However, VCAL assessment principles should remain at the forefront when assessing any VCAL unit.

Evidence of student learning

Evidence of student learning is anything that supports the assessor’s claim that a student has achieved a learning outcome. This can include, but is not limited to, direct observation, written work, oral presentations, object production and project implementation.

Features of evidence

The following features of evidence should be considered when designing VCAL assessment tasks.

Valid

The task is consistent with the VCAL unit purpose statement.

The learning outcome has been taken into account.

The level (Foundation, Intermediate or Senior) is appropriate.

Sufficient

There is sufficient evidence to enable a decision to be made. This is important for activities involving a group of students working on an activity.

There is a balance of direct and indirect evidence.

Authentic

The work of the student is their own.

Current

The work of the student is current and is not work submitted last year by another student.

Consistent

The evidence has been collected over time and in different contexts to ensure there is a consistent demonstration of competencies in the learning outcomes.