Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA


The Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English were developed between 2010 and 2012 in response to the identified need for early intervention and diagnosis in both low and high-achieving students.


The Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English are a suite of validated assessment tools on the Insight Assessment Platform to enable teachers to: 

  • monitor student progress in one or more modes of English throughout students’ early literacy development
  • gain additional diagnostic information about students’ learning strengths and challenges in English
  • plan for, and monitor the impact of, teaching and literacy interventions throughout the year.

Two types of tools are available within the Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English for students working towards Victorian Curriculum Levels Foundation - 4:

  • Early Literacy in English Tools
  • Monitoring Progress Tools.

A feature of these tools is the use of videos and online texts to assess three modes of Victorian Curriculum English: Reading and Viewing, Writing, and Speaking and Listening, and are particularly useful for students who are working outside the typical range of ability for their age.

The tools may be used as standalone diagnostic tools, or to complement the English Online Interview, and they can be used at any time during the year.

Whilst the tools are designed for students in Prep – Year 2, they include assessments from Foundation to Victorian Curriculum Level 4 and could be used with students in later years of primary schooling. Administration guides are included to assist users to select tools to meet the needs of students on an individual student basis.

Completing all of the tasks within an assessment tool will provide an indicative Victorian Curriculum level. However, teachers can select to use part of an assessment tool to support assessment of specific skills within reading and viewing, writing, and speaking and listening. By choosing this option, teachers will obtain assessment information to inform their teaching, but will not obtain an indicative Victorian Curriculum score.

Early Literacy in English Tools

Early Literacy in English Tools are skill specific, and assess the emergent literacy skills that develop reading, writing, and speaking and listening capabilities. The Early Literacy in English tools comprise nine assessments covering:

  • alphabet letters
  • comprehending text
  • concepts of print
  • phonemes
  • listening and recall
  • oral language
  • phonological awareness
  • reading
  • writing.

All of these tools are administered one-to-one, and take between 2-10 minutes to complete. An Administration and Marking Guide and several supporting texts are provided for each tool. These provide all the information required to select, administer and mark the tool as well as follow up advice.

These tools are designed for students progressing towards Victorian Curriculum Foundation level, but they are divided into three levels: Beginning (well below Foundation), Progressing (towards Foundation) and progressing towards Victorian Curriculum Level 1.

Each of the tools include one or more tasks at each level. The tools are outlined in the:

Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English - List of Assessment Tools (doc - 90kb)

Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English - List of Assessment Tools (pdf - 373.74kb)

Assessment tasks in the Early Literacy in English Tools are targeted towards specific skills and therefore provide particular information towards an indicative Victorian Curriculum level.

The Monitoring Progress Tools

The Monitoring Progress Tools can be used to monitor student progress and identify areas requiring specific teaching for students working between Victorian Curriculum Levels Foundation - 4 in Reading and Viewing, Writing, and Speaking and Listening.

Reading and viewing

There are four Reading assessment tools designed for specific Victorian Curriculum Levels. Each level of the reading tool has the following scope:

  • five texts of a range of difficulty within the Victorian Curriculum Level
  • a range of text types, including imaginative, information and argument
  • a range of reading skills including retrieving information, linking information; global understanding, making inferences and reflecting on the text
  • questions of a range of difficulty, generally within the Victorian Curriculum Level
  • questions that address key issues about each text
  • questions that address relevant aspects of the Victorian Curriculum Standard for the Level.


These tools focus on students’ ability to produce first-drafts of complete pieces of writing for a variety of purposes and to demonstrate appropriate planning and editing skills in narrative writing, information reports and persuasive writing. Lists of words of increasing complexity and a range of spelling patterns are also included to provide information about students’ spelling skills and strategies.

There are nine writing assessment tools to select from. Each tool includes some stimulus material and a writing task with written and verbal instructions.

Speaking and listening

These tools focus on comprehensive understanding of the spoken word, and cover oral language retell, comprehension retell and oral language conversation.

There are five Speaking and Listening tools to select from. The tools are administered as digital texts where the student is a virtual participant, either as the audience or as an observer of a discussion.

Each assessment can be completed by an individual, small group or a class, and takes between 10 - 60 minutes to administer. Each tool is matched to three levels: Victorian Curriculum Level 2, Victorian Curriculum Level 3, and Victorian Curriculum Level 4 with some overlap across the levels.

Accessing the assessment tools

All tools and support materials are located on the Insight Assessment Platform.

Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English (secure website) - can be accessed by Victorian government school staff using their eduMail username and password.

Information on how to access records of assessment on the Insight Assessment Platform:

Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English Tip Sheet (docx - 1.09mb)

Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English Tip Sheet (pdf - 985.36kb)

Further enquiries about accessing the tools and support materials can be directed to: studentlearning@edumail.vic.gov.au

Further reading

Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English - Literature Review (doc - 66kb)

Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English - Literature Review (pdf - 241.64 kb)

This literature review situates the Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English project within current research, focusing on the domains of early literacy, reading, and speaking and listening, to highlight the project’s importance within the growing field of early years literacy studies. The tools developed for this project reflect recent developments in teaching in the early years of schooling and assessment practices, and in some instances offer innovative examples of testing materials that could guide future research.

English Online Interview - The English Online Interview is a powerful online tool for assessing the English skills of students in Years Prep to 2. The Interview assesses students across the three modes of English in the Victorian Curriculum - Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening.

Victorian Curriculum - Victorian Curriculum F-10 for English. The Victorian Curriculum outlines what is essential for all Victorian students to learn in English for F-10. It provides a single, coherent and comprehensive set of common achievement standards which schools use to plan student learning programs, assess student progress and report to parents.