New science e-tests are voluntary, principals told

Mary Fogarty
Research Officer

New online assessments, replacing the ESSA test, are not mandatory.

Federation will be meeting with the Department to discuss workload issues associated with the introduction of the Validation of Assessment 4 Learning and Individual Development (VALID) program and associated issues. The union expects that if schools wish to participate appropriate resources to implement the program and relevant training are provided.

VALID Science 8 and VALID Science 10 assessments will be similar to the ESSAonline 2014. The testing period is September 7–11 for year 10 and October 12–16 for year 8.

ESSAonline for Year 8

In a March 27 memorandum principals were informed “ESSAonline for Year 8 students is no longer mandatory”. The test assessed a variety of Stage 4 outcomes from the NSW Science 7—10 Syllabus.

The Essential Secondary Science Assessment (ESSA) test was introduced in 2005 with Federation one of a group of key stakeholders on a reference team (ESSART) which provided feedback and advice to the ESSA Program. Meetings were suspended in 2007 but the group reconvened when it was proposed that ESSAonline be launched in November 2011. ESSART meetings considered the readiness of schools; availability of technology in schools; mechanisms to ensure confidentiality of data and improved efficiencies for data collection and reporting.

Federation’s representatives on the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards’ Science Curriculum Committee reported teachers’ concerns about significant workload issues associated with the administration of ESSA. The availability of technology posed problems in many schools, particularly in low socio-economic status areas.