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Formative assessment is strongly advocated as a critical component of Australian teachers’ work. This article examines the evolving policy expectations and support for teachers’ formative assessment practices in the context of two recent Australian education reforms: the introduction of the first national curriculum and of new professional standards for teachers. These are further examined in the context of state and territory government responsibility for curriculum implementation, pedagogy and classroom assessment. We conclude that while formative assessment is advocated in Australia, support for teachers that will lead to effective implementation of formative assessment is inadequate. More generally, we contend that curriculum reforms that do not integrate and embed assessment with curriculum will not be successful in creating assessment that will enhance student learning.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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