Q. How did the NSW Department of Education’s annual science test move from being a paper-based test to an online multimedia assessment?

A. We created its first standardised, state-wide practical test ever to be undertaken online.

The NSW Department of Education (DoE) needed to shift its annual science testing from paper-based tests to and online multimedia assessment program. The state department approached Janison to come on board and deliver the testing, known as the VALID program.

VALID (Validation of Assessment for Learning and Individual Development) provides online end-of-stage assessments for the Science Key Learning Areas (KLA). VALID replaces the Essential Secondary Science Assessment (ESSA). It delivers three assessments: VALID Science and Technology 6, VALID Science 8 and VALID Science 10.

VALID provides:

  • High-quality syllabus-based assessment frameworks that describe students’ levels of achievement against standards.
  • Online multimedia assessment tools that give diagnostic data and time-efficient reports. This information assists with planning, programming and assessment across learning stages.
  • Cohort-level domain data from interest and engagement survey questions within each assessment.
  • Five hours of Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards (BoSTES) registered training to ensure that staff make consistent judgements against syllabus standards.
  • Systems and processes to monitor student achievement of syllabus outcomes and content across stages.
  • External student assessment data that can be used in combination with school-based assessments to inform whole-school planning processes.

Janison and the DoE collaborated to pilot the project in 2010, and nearly 40,000 students from 650 schools took the test online in one day.

It was the first time that a standardised, state-wide practical test had been undertaken online by the DoE. Since then, the VALID program has grown year-by-year, winning many accolades along the way. In 2015, the DoE worked with BoSTES to include marker training for teachers, which contributed to their continuing professional development (CPD) points.

Published by Janison

Statistics and Key Milestones

Nearly 40,000 students sat the VALID test in 2010
By 2016 the test program had doubled, to 81,300 students
In-school marking was introduced for Year 6 and Year 10 students in 2016

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