Using e5

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 e5 project team produced several case studies of how the model could be or is currently being used, thereby providing a range of entry points to accommodate schools’ differing levels of readiness to engage with the model.

As schools implement the e5 Instructional Model, they have produced documentation and descriptions of where it has helped them. The information and documentation provided may support you to implement e5 in your own school.

Integrating e5 with performance and development

The challenge for all schools is to strengthen their performance and development processes to support a professional working environment for all staff and the school’s internal capacity to engage in ongoing improvement. This can only be achieved by increasing the consistency of high quality teaching and learning in all classrooms.

How can e5 support performance and development processes and focus conversations on quality teaching?

1. Induction into the school or into a new role

Expectations about what quality classroom practice looks like can assist all new staff to understand their responsibilities and the level of support that will be provided to them to improve their practice.

2. Multiple sources of feedback on practice

Criteria from the instructional model capabilities can develop greater consistency and understanding of what teachers should know and be able to do in the classroom and a shared language for describing this.

3. Performance and development plans aligned to school goals

A self assessment of strengths and areas for improvement against the e5 profile statements can enable staff to develop a more informed and individual approach to the professional learning component of their plans.

4. Quality professional learning strategy

The school’s professional learning strategy can be designed to support the learning and growth of all staff by using the capabilities described in the model as a focus for conversations about quality teacher practice and the school’s strategic priorities.

Teachers' belief that the school supports individual professional growth and development is enhanced when there is:

  • strong agreement about what constitutes quality teacher practice
  • organisational conditions that support evidence based inquiries
  • opportunities to collaborate and learn in the workplace

Teaching with e5

Writing quality criteria

The e5 project methodology used these protocols to guide and frame the writing of quality criteria.

For teachers, the advantage gained from clearly describing different levels of performance could:

  • assist teachers to make valid and consistent judgments about student learning and progress
  • enable them to clearly communicate the next level of work for students

For students, the advantage could be:

  • to understand what it looks like to improve in a particular domain of learning
  • to understand what they would have to know and achieve to move to the next level

Quality criteria

Quality criteria must:

  1. describe a series of performances such that each successive description implies a higher level of performance quality
  2. reflect the learning that is embedded in the performance
  3. enable an inference to be made about developmental learning – there should be no counts of things right and wrong
  4. discriminate between performances of increasing quality learning – there should be no procedural steps in a sequence of operations
  5. contain one central idea that can be recognised
  6. reflect work or known behaviour or work samples covering a diverse range of performance or work quality
  7. avoid language that is ambiguous, with no comparative terms used in defining quality of performance
  8. enable persons assessed to verify and understand their performance defined by the rubrics
  9. consistently and coherently describe performance within the same developmental learning sequence
  10. reflect their relative difficulty compared to all other criteria
  11. provide reliable and consistent judgements across judges with four or less judgement levels within any task or indicator
  12. self weight based on their discrimination capacity only – there is no need for differential weights to be applied

(Griffin, 2008 – see Bibliography (PDF - 46Kb))

Designing intellectually demanding tasks including the six dimensions of quality

Extract from Balwyn High School curriculum documentation, 2008

Teacher assignments, assessment tasks and student work comprise the most direct evidence about students’ opportunities to learn and the skills and knowledge they demonstrate. This example describes a workshop designed in a school to discuss the nature and quality of assessment tasks provided to its students and the agreement reached about future actions.

  1. A sample Year 10 examination paper is distributed to all participants
  2. Each participant is asked to consider the task in terms of the skills, knowledge and dispositions that the students would need to demonstrate in order to successfully complete the task
  3. Participants are also asked to assess the paper in terms of how it could discriminate levels of students’ understanding and ability
  4. Participants are asked to share their reflections with the rest of their colleagues on their table
  5. A general discussion follows where different reactions and views are shared and debated
  6. Participants are then asked to provide their understanding of what the essential elements of a high quality assessment task would look like
  7. The suggestions are collated and shared via whiteboard listing
  8. Participants are then asked to consider the assessment task that they had been expected to provide as part of the preparation for the workshop
  9. Participants assess their task against the list collated from the group
  10. Table teams are then asked to provide further feedback and analysis
  11. Participants are asked to identify what changes/modifications/additions they would make for future student use in the light of the feedback and discussions


  1. Assessment tasks should be designed to enable students to demonstrate higher order thinking and deep understanding of the key concepts, skills and knowledge necessary in a unit or subject
  2. Ongoing discussions take place about the teaching and learning strategies (pedagogical practices) that need to be evidenced in the classroom to build the understanding of students to complete tasks
  3. Teaching teams collaboratively plan the scope and sequence of the lessons and the various modes of assessment undertaken in the classroom, including opportunities for self and peer assessment and pre-and post-testing
  4. High quality curriculum documentation is developed that reflects the actions of teachers and students throughout the unit or project
Six Dimensions of Quality

1. Cognitive challenge of the task

This dimension describes the level of thinking required for students to complete the task. Specifically, it describes the degree to which students have the opportunity to apply higher-order reasoning and engage with grade-appropriate academic content material.

For example, an assignment given a high score for cognitive challenge might require students to synthesise ideas, analyse cause and effect, and/or analyse a problem and pose reasonable solutions using content-area knowledge (eg, comparing themes from different books, etc). An assignment given a low score on this dimension, in contrast, might only require students to recall very basic, factual information.

2. Clarity of learning goals

This dimension describes how clearly a teacher articulates the specific skills, concept or content knowledge students are to gain from completing the assignment. The primary purpose of this dimension is to describe the degree to which an assignment could be considered a purposeful, goal-driven activity focussed on student learning. An assignment given a higher score on this dimension would have goals that were very clear, detailed and specific, and it would be possible to assess whether or not students had achieved these goals.

3. Clarity of the grading criteria

The purpose for this dimension is to assess the quality of the grading criteria for the assignment in terms of their specificity and potential for helping students improve their performance. Raters consider how clearly each aspect of the grading criteria is defined and how much detail is provided for each of the criteria.

An assignment given a high score for this dimension would have grading criteria that clearly detail the guidelines for success and provide a great deal of information to students about what they need to do to successfully complete the task.

4. Alignment of goals and tasks

This dimension focuses on the degree to which a teacher’s stated learning goals are reflected in the design of the assignment’s tasks. Specifically, this dimension attempts to capture how well the assignment appears to promote the achievement of the teacher’s goals for student learning. An assignment given a high score on this dimension would involve tasks and goals that overlap completely.

5. Alignment of goals and grading criteria

This dimension is intended to describe the degree to which a teacher’s grading criteria support the learning goals (ie, the degree to which a teacher assesses students on the skills and concepts they are intended to learn through the completion of the assignment). Also considered in this rating is whether or not the grading criteria include extraneous dimensions that do not support the learning goals, as well as the appropriateness of the criteria for supporting the learning goals.

6. Overall quality

This dimension is intended to provide a holistic rating of the quality of the assignment based on its level of cognitive challenge, the specificity and focus of the learning goals, the clarity of the grading criteria, the alignment of the learning goals and the assignment task, and the alignment of the learning goals and grading criteria.