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Assignment exemplars are an important resource in supporting student learning. They can be used to model the desired format and organisation of a project, demonstrate different standards of an assignment or task, or as a source of inspiration in the beginning stages of an activity. Some students, including those on the autism spectrum, may struggle to understand what is expected of them within assessment frameworks, and how to organise their ideas within those parameters.
Using exemplars with instructions and clear annotations helps students to:
- focus on the content of their work
- understand the requirements of a task
- work more independently
- have greater confidence.
How the practice works
Watch this video for some key points in using assignment exemplars.
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers related to this practice
1.6 - strategies to support the full participation of students with disability
4.2 - manage classroom activities
For further information, see Australian Professional Standards for Teachers AITSL page
How does it help?
Providing the student with a model or exemplar of an assignment enables the student to focus on creating quality content. The student is then able to focus on demonstrating what they've learned which gives you a more accurate assessment of student progress.
When planning assignments, consider what exemplar could be included. Gather examples of previously completed assignments or create a good model example. Ensure that these adequately represent different expectations based on adjustments.
You should try to:
- Use annotations that explain how each section of the assignment exemplar addresses the assessment task. This supports students to understand the assessment task and the criteria.
- Use clear language to explain why and how the different parts of the assignment meet the criteria. you may also like to highlight certain sections to draw students' attention to the important elements.
- Use exemplars from a range of different tasks.
- Explain that the exemplar is a model for their assignment and that content should not be copied directly.
When giving instructions for the assignment reflect on what was effective and what was not and make appropriate adjustments for the next assignment.
The Australian Curriculum provides work samples for the different curriculum areas. You can use these to assist you in developing your own exemplars.
Link to Australian Curriculum v8.4 F-10 here.
It works better if:
- the exemplar provided is specific to that particular assignment, e.g. if the assignment outline requires the student to create a Twitter feed of a Roman Emperor, create a similar feed, for example the Twitter feed of an Egyptian Pharaoh not just direct the student to Twitter
- the teacher annotates the exemplar, explaining why it is considered a strong example
- the annotations reflect the marking criteria
It doesn't work if the teacher:
- doesn't consistently provide exemplars for assessments
- doesn't work through the exemplar with the students
- doesn't align the annotations with the assessment criteria
- doesn't explain to the student that the exemplar is only to be used as a model and not something that should be copied directly.
Consider any exemplars you could use with the the assessment task. You may choose to work as a team and create an exemplar that can be used across a subject or year level. Include an example of the assignment in its completed form when developing an assessment outline.
An exemplar should contain annotations outlining how each section of the assignment addresses the assessment outline.
When outlining assignment instructions with students, explain that the exemplar is a model for their assignment and content should not be copied directly when giving instructions for the assignment.
Explain why the exemplar demonstrates the appropriate features.
Example approach: You may like to provide the students with 2 examples - one annotated and the other not annotated. You can can work with the students to see if they can identify the elements of the task. You can then show them the annotated version after the discussion.
Reflect on practice and make appropriate adjustments for the next assignment set.
Practice implementation planner template
We know that it is not always easy to keep track of what is working and what is not. So, we have created this template for you to record and reflect on what you are doing to help you create a more inclusive classroom. The implementation planner contains:
- Guidance around goal setting
- Reflection section (What worked, didn’t work and what to change and next steps.)
- Prompting questions
Set your professional learning goal for:
Create assignment exemplars
Benefits of goal settingSetting, working towards, and reflecting on goals helps you grow professionally and improve your practice. You can access AITSL learning resources for teachers to learn more about:
How to set goalsThe Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership recommends using the SMART matrix to frame your goal setting.
SMART goals refers to goals that are: