Online Formative Assessment Initiative
In December 2022, Ministers endorsed a path forward on the Online Formative Assessment Initiative (OFAI).
Resources will be delivered to teachers quickly and cost-effectively by jurisdictions working together to leverage and align existing resources from NSW, Victoria, and Queensland to establish a national bank of assessments that will meet the needs of all jurisdictions on an opt-in basis.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) will lead this work.
These animations have been created to help you become familiar with the key concepts relating to formative assessment and learning progressions.
Who is involved?
The Online Formative Assessment Initiative is a project of all Australian state and territory education ministers involving:
- teachers, school leaders, parents and students from early childhood through to secondary; from small rural schools to large metropolitan schools
- state and territory education departments
- the Catholic and independent education sectors
- the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA),
- the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)
- Education Services Australia (ESA)
Key stakeholders have also been involved in the consultations alongside project reference groups to provide oversight and input into all phases of the initiative.
Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Excellence in Australian Schools (Excellence Review) found that structured and individually focused learning progressions can help teachers to better support students’ success and growth. The Excellence Review proposed that student progress may be best achieved when teachers have the appropriate tools, resources and expertise to use formative assessments to help them understand how their individual students are learning.
At the end of 2018 all states, territories and the Commonwealth signed the National School Reform Agreement and agreed to progress a ‘learning progressions and online formative assessment national initiative’ (the initiative) to investigate how best to implement this knowledge.
In March 2019; ESA, ACARA and AITSL were asked to undertake an initial ‘discovery’ phase to consider how this initiative could work. The discovery phase began in May 2019, and findings were reported to education ministers in December 2019. The Ministers agreed to proceed to an alpha phase that started in 2020.
In July 2021, Ministers requested the Initiative undertake an additional Alpha Finalisation and Beta Establishment stage to clarify the objectives and approach to the initiative. Ministers also agreed that South Australia would take on leadership and project management of the initiative during these stages. Ministers will make a decision in mid-2022 whether to proceed to the Beta state of the initiative or not.
What we have learnt during the alpha phase
During the alpha phase work was undertaken to design and test tools and processes, incorporating input from front-line teachers, school leaders, parents/carers and students. As well as creating innovative resources and solutions, the Online Formative Assessment Initiative will develop an evidence base of best practice.
What we learned in the discovery phase
The discovery phase of the project was completed at the end of 2019. In the discovery phase, there were three main areas of work:
- researching learning progressions and aligned assessments
- engagement with teachers to understand what they need and how they want to be able to work
- research into professional learning that could support successful implementation of new practices.
Work was completed on updating the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions (NLNLPs), and Version 3 approved for use in the alpha phase.
Consultation was undertaken with teachers and other stakeholders which provided insight into what users want from the Online Formative Assessment Initiative.
You can read more about the discovery phase in the discovery phase reports.
Consultation and user research
The Online Formative Assessment Initiative has built stakeholder consultation and engagement into all stages of the project.
Throughout the discovery and alpha phases, consultation with teachers and school leaders; suppliers; curriculum and assessment specialists; as well as students and parents/carers, across all systems and jurisdictions has been important.
You can read more about our user research findings from the discovery phase in the discovery phase reports.