Archive for September, 2015

Gifted and Talented Education

To support implementation of the Gifted and Talented Students Policy, the Education and Training Directorate commissioned specialist consultants, Gateways Education, to develop a series of six articles to provide information to parents and the community about gifted and talented children. The following article about assessment is the third in the series.

Further information about gifted and talented education can be found on the Directorate’s website at

Quality Assessment for Gifted Learners

The Australian Curriculum provides schools, parents and teachers with guidelines about the role of assessment in teaching and learning:

Assessment encourages longer-term understanding and provides detailed diagnostic information. It shows what students know, understand and can demonstrate. It also shows what they need to do to improve. (ACARA, 2015)

Assessment is the process of gathering and interpreting evidence about students’ learning to assist in setting learning goals and planning the next steps in the teaching and learning process. Specifically, assessment:

  • provides feedback on current levels of performance (VanTassel-Baska, 2002; Hattie and Temperley, 2007)
  • identifies the strengths and areas requiring development in a student’s learning profile, in order to evaluate the best learning environment and experiences for students
  • assess the effectiveness of the learning program (VanTassel-Baska, 2008)
  • plan future learning experiences (Sheppard, 2000; VanTassel-Baska, 2005, 2010).

What is quality assessment?

Quality assessment of students’ learning is designed with the learners, curriculum content, learning goals, and the teaching in mind, and thus, is a complex interplay between these factors. The following points are integral to the development of quality assessments. Quality assessments:

  • have strong validity and reliability – learning is measured accurately and similar results are obtained in a variety of contexts
  • have good inter-rater reliability – results are consistent due to the clarity of marking criteria
  • demonstrate the outcomes of the learning program (VanTassel-Baska, 2013) and growth in student learning
  • are designed in a range of formats and provide multiple opportunities for learners to demonstrate achievement (Linn et al., 1991).

How does quality assessment work for gifted learners?

Learning programs designed for the gifted must provide students with a rigorous high quality experience that readies them to successfully traverse the next level of educational challenge (VanTassel-Baska, 2002, p. xxxii). Assessment for gifted learners should be designed within the framework of this program.

The first step in addressing the learning needs of gifted students is to establish their current level of achievement and determine whether this aligns with their identified level of ability. This can be achieved by using a variety of assessment strategies.

Assessment for gifted learners should also take different forms to ensure that students’ development can be measured and considered from multiple perspectives. These formats may include:

  • assessments aligned to the extended curriculum offered to gifted students
  • assessments based on applying problem solving skills and solving real world issues
  • standardised assessments at and above the students’ year level to minimise any ceiling effect (upper limits of the assessment) and ensure assessment does not limit the performance of these students (VanTassel-Baska, 2005).

Adjustments to the learning program should then be made in response to this information. This may include the use of conceptual frameworks, critical and creative higher order thinking and the addition of advanced content (VanTassel-Baska and Staumberg, 2010).

What are the implications for gifted learners?

The different learning capacity of each gifted student creates unique challenges when considering the best way to assess their learning and progress. Perhaps the most important factor is to use measures that provide visibility of the actual growth that has occurred across a period of time.

Quality assessment for gifted learners involves using measures which allow parents, students and educators alike to see the true academic growth of the gifted learner. This is vital as gifted students may attain high levels of achievement without necessarily demonstrating learning gain or growth.

For example, students may arrive at high school already knowing or understanding the content and/or skills that are to be studied in mathematics in that year. The school may assess the identified gifted students of an incoming cohort using an advanced assessment to measure their achievement. To assess the subsequent learning growth of these students it would be important for them to have an extended and accelerated learning program in mathematics, and then be assessed above grade level. The key understanding to be taken from this example is that assessments for gifted learners should be designed to be able to measure the full growth of these learners in order to communicate more than the attainment of year-level outcomes.


Educators use quality assessment to accurately assess skills, understandings and different types of learning. Without such assessments, the learning growth of gifted students may never truly be measured within the school context. Furthermore, assessments, which are rigorous and appropriately designed for gifted learners, will translate beyond the classroom and into lifelong learning.



Woolworths Earn and Learn Resources

Mount Stromlo staff would like to thank all of our students and parents who collected the Woolworth’s Earn and Learn stickers.  These are valuable to the school as we can obtain valuable resources for our students.

We will keep you updated of the resources we are able to purchase with the stickers.



The planned weekday timetable change scheduled for Monday 12 October will be deferred. This includes a deferral of the timing revisions to the ACTION schools network.

All information you have previously received regarding upcoming changes to the ACTION timetable and to ACTION schools services is now obsolete. ACTION’s current weekday timetable and current school services network will continue to operate as is until further notice.

All current timetable information, as well as a list of current school services, remains available on the ACTION website –

Please visit the ACTION website for further information.

Year 10 End of Year Arrangements

As your student approaches the end of Year 10, we take this opportunity to share with you the events planned for the remainder of the year which aim to recognize the educational success and social development of our students. It is an exciting time for year 10 and we seek your support to remind students to complete their high school life with a sense of achievement and pride in their school and their own endeavors.
The ACT Year 10 Certificate is issued to students who have successfully completed an approved program of study to the end of Year 10. Principals consider academic performance, attendance and behaviour in deciding to award a Year 10 Certificate. Students who do not meet any of these criteria will instead receive a High School Record – a statement listing grades attained in each unit of study during Years 9 and 10. A small number of Year 10 students whose attendance, behaviour or academic achievement is a cause for concern in meeting the criteria for the Year 10 Certificate have been variously counselled and their parents contacted.
It is essential that all students remain committed to their studies and meet all the expectations of our school. The work ethic students develop at high school is a strong indicator of success at college. It is a commitment to continuously achieve their personal best.
All Year 10 students are expected to attend school until 12 pm, Wednesday 2nd December (Week 8, Term 4). On or before this date, students are to pay any outstanding fees, return any school or library books, equipment and submit any outstanding notes for absences. Students are issued with a ‘leaver’s form’ late in Term 4, this is to be signed by relevant staff to verify they have met all of these commitments. Failure to complete this form may result in students no being permitted to attend end of year events such as the Year 10 Pool Day on the 4th of December.
The Year 10 Farewell assembly will be held in the Mount Stromlo High School SPACE (Hall) between 9am and 11am on Wednesday 2 December. Parents are welcome to join us for this event. Following the assembly, year 9 students will provide a BBQ brunch for year 10. The brunch will conclude at noon when Year 10 students are permitted to leave school and begin their preparations for the formal. If you require your student to remain at school please contact the front office to arrange.
The Year 10 Formal will be held at The Boathouse by the Lake, Menindee Drive, Barton on Wednesday 2nd December (Week 8, Term 4). Guest arrivals will be from 5.30 – 6.30pm. Only currently enrolled Year 10 students are permitted to attend, unless special permission is given prior to the event. Families of students are encouraged to gather by 5.30pm at the front entry and join students and staff to watch the arrivals and take photographs.
The cost of the Formal is $130, which includes venue hire and decorations, three-course meal, non-alcoholic drinks, photographs, photo booth hire and a copy of the school magazine. Parents are asked to collect their student from the venue at 10.30pm.
Many students and their families choose to organize celebratory parties either after the formal or to mark the end of Year 10. We wish to make clear that any after-formal parties are not organised or approved by Mount Stromlo High School. However, if you do intend to host a party, we suggest that you;
• Remain at home and supervise the guests
• Do not allow any alcohol
• Communicate the house rules on the invitation
• Have the contact numbers of all invited guests’ parents
• Limit the number of guests who are invited
The Year 10 Graduation will be held at the Mount Stromlo SPACE (Hall) on Monday 14th December (Week 10, Term 4). Doors open at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start. All students are to be in school uniform, wearing their Year 10 shirt or a school shirt with black pants and jeans (no leggings, hats or hoodies please) and closed-in or dress shoes. Students who are inappropriately dressed will be provided with school shirts or they will be unable to take part in the event.
The purpose of the evening is the presentation of Year 10 Certificate to our graduating students and various awards for academic achievement, leadership, sporting excellence and school and community service.
End-of-year functions are regarded as extra-curricular excursions and students are expected to maintain high standards of behavior at all events. Students whose behaviour at any end-of-year functions is inappropriate may be unable to attend further functions organised by the school, including the Year 10 Pool Day on Friday 4 December.
A more detailed program for Year 10 students, will be distributed to students later in the year. All the dates of these events are also on the School Calendar. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the Year 10 end-of-year events please do not hesitate to contact either Kate Marshall (Deputy Principal), Matt Webbie (Year 10 Coordinator) or myself at the school on 61423444.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Michael Kindler

Parent Teacher Interviews

Parent Teacher Interviews will be held on Tuesday 22 September 2015.

From 4.00 pm to 6.30 pm in the SPACE.

The Parent Teacher on-line link and details for making interview times will be available during Week 9 when reports are sent home.

A Parent Teacher Evening Blog

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