Leading writing assessment in your school

You’re invited to a three-part series to learn about effective assessment of writing and to explore ways you can support your teachers in assessing their students’ work.

Session 1: Understanding development in writing
Monday, 28th August 4pm AEST
Session Completed

Session 2: Advice from an expert in how to use writing assessment to drive learning
Monday, 11th September 4pm AEST
Register for Session 2

Session 3: Industry Leaders share their experiences using Brightpath Progress Writing Assessment
Monday, 18th September 4pm AEST
Register for Session 3


For the past 20 years, teachers have been told that assessment is key to effective teaching.

However, many teachers still feel insecure about their ability to assess and report student achievement, particularly student growth in learning.

  • Assessment is time consuming.
  • Writing reports and leading teacher-parent meetings are stressful.
  • Assessing writing is particularly challenging.

Assessing writing

Whilst reading and mathematics can be assessed through multiple-choice questions that can be automatically scored, writing needs to be assessed through extended responses.

Teachers need to read each performance and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the writing.

Traditionally, there has been little to help teachers understand how writing develops and consequently, to understand their students’ strengths and weaknesses.

  • Teachers need to have a good grasp of the writing conventions which encompass rules to follow, including spelling, punctuation and proper grammar. It’s worth noting several generations of teachers were never formally taught grammar.
  • They also need to know the authorial aspects of writing: the ways in which the writer manipulates language for effect. This includes appreciating a well-placed short sentence that gives momentum to the story, identifying when a student has successfully used dialogue to reveal an aspect of character and recognising a well-crafted rhetorical question that starts a paragraph. Unless teachers are writers or avid readers themselves, this can be challenging for them.

An additional demand in writing assessment is the expectation that scores across teachers within a school, and even across schools, are comparable. This generates a significant amount of work as teachers strive to ensure they assign the same score to performances of a similar standard.

In this three-part series, Dr Sandy Heldsinger will draw on her extensive research into the assessment of writing to provide insights and tips to set your teachers up for success.