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An assessment from ACER Press is helping learners to become engaged in challenging learning opportunities appropriate to their readiness and needs.
The Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT) are used by many Australian schools to monitor student progress across the years of school, including in the years in which NAPLAN testing does not occur (Years 4, 6, 8 and 10). Teachers use PAT tests to track individual progress in reading, mathematics, and written spelling, punctuation and grammar, to diagnose gaps in student achievement and to identify students who are slipping behind in their learning.
Explains Li-Ai Lim, Product Manager of Assessment at ACER Press, schools tend to use the PATs to address the two-year gap in the NAPLAN cycle. ‘Many schools administer annual PAT assessments, usually early in the school year, beginning in Year 2, sometimes Year 1, and then over the next years, so they’re able to track their students’ progress continuously,’ says Li-Ai.
‘NAPLAN looks at achievement and progress in terms of particular literacy and numeracy standards, so when teachers are able to draw on the combined information on student achievement from their NAPLAN reports and the ACER Press PAT reports they’re able to identify those students who may be falling behind or who may benefit from being accelerated,’ Li-Ai says. ‘The purpose is diagnostic: it provides teachers with feedback to support good teaching to meet the learning needs of their students.
Planning the development of a PAT, explains Li-Ai, is the result of extensive feedback from teachers. It begins with the sales, publishing and marketing teams of ACER Press. Li-Ai’s publishing team then works on the prototype with ACER’s researchers, drawing on ACER’s experts in test and item development, and psychometrics. The prototype is paneled and trialled extensively with a representative sample of students, and then nationally normed.
‘It’s great working with people across ACER with such diverse skills and knowledge to produce something that so usefully addresses the learning needs of students,’ says Li-Ai. ‘The result of all that research and development is a series of assessments that are simple to administer and score, with reports that show student progress, so you can monitor your own teaching, and your students’ learning, and that’s what improving learning is all about.’
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